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Her Majesty the Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh were the honoured royal guests at a celebratory lunch held at the University of Leicester’s Beaumont Hall in Oadby, Leicestershire.
Held on 4th December 2008 the lunch event was in celebration of the opening of the University’s award winning state-of-the-art David Wilson Library.
The University’s Residential and Catering Service which incorporates Leicester Conferences rose to the challenge of preparing and delivering a royal lunch for nearly 100 guests which included many local VIP’s and dignitaries.
The venue, Beaumont House within the hall has been a very popular conference and event facility for many years. One of the grandest houses in the area, it was originally called Middlemeade, and was built by Stockdale Harrison & Sons in 1904 for Mr F S Brice, a Leicester hosiery manufacturer, on part of the estate formerly owned by the Powys-Keck family of Stoughton Grange. It was purchased in 1947 by University College Leicester from the then owner Mr Sydney Driver, with the intention of building student accommodation in its extensive grounds.
Today, Beaumont House and Hall of Residence is a 3 star rated venue with 98 en suite bedrooms (including 12 adapted rooms), 156 standard bedrooms, large 280 capacity dining hall and several conference and meeting rooms. Located within a 16 acre botanic garden Beaumont Hall is available year-round for day conferences and for residential events during Easter, summer and winter vacation periods.
Commenting on the occasion, Trevor Miller, Conference and Hospitality Sales and Marketing Manager said “When we found out Her Majesty and The Duke was coming to visit everyone was thrilled at the prospect of putting on a royal lunch. Our catering and hospitality team coordinated by Emma Kettle did an absolutely superb job down to the finest detail. The atmosphere at the event was incredible and it was a real honour to have Her Majesty and The Duke visit with us.”
Prior to having lunch in Oadby, the Queen visited the City Campus to officially open the University’s new library. The £32 million David Wilson Library, completed in April this year, has won the 2008 RIBA East Midlands Award for Architecture and the 2008 Building of the Year prize at the Property and Construction awards organised annually by ProCon Leicestershire.
This stunning space, purpose-built for learning and research, is a development befitting the Times Higher Education’s University of the Year 2008/9. The 15,000 sq metre Library includes a range of study spaces for 1500 readers, a million books supplemented by extensive digital databases and journals, and 350 PCs, along with a 500 seat lecture theatre, a bookshop and a cafe.
HM The Queen last visited the University of Leicester in 1958, a year after the University was granted its Royal Charter, which awarded it degree-awarding powers. During that visit, Her Majesty opened the Percy Gee Building, which houses the Students’ Union.