BBC Radio Leicester Thought for the Day

© John Denney 16 August 2008 prerecorded for 4 September


Semper Eadem


Today is an exciting one for Leicester.  The new Highcross Centre opens, with acres of new shops, and restaurants, and cinemas, and living accommodation.  There will be many hundreds of new jobs to service what will be a landmark regional shopping and leisure venue.


The whole development has been built within the walls of the old Roman city, and underneath the Highcross Centre lie the remains of the 1800-year-old Roman market hall.  And the archaeologists found the remains of two “lost” mediaeval churches: St Peter’s and St Michael’s.  How you lose a church is a bit of a puzzler, but anyway, we’ve found ‘em!


What’s exciting is that Leicester’s lively centre is more or less where it has always been.  For all that time, people have been living and buying and selling on the same piece of ground.  Some of the people benefitting from the Highcross Centre will be direct descendants of people who used the area centuries and centuries ago. The new Centre is a reminder that we are the product of our past. 


“Semper Eadem” – Always the same – is Leicester’s official motto, and that’s sometimes a criticism.  But the Highcross Centre makes it a declaration of solidity and stability.  And although the Christian cross is not as central to the living heart of the city as it used to be, the very name of the new development is a reminder of our Christian heritage.  We may have buried the churches of St Peter and St Michael, but the cross remains high in the lively churches of this city and county.