The Attenborough family and the University

The Attenborough family living on campus

At the heart of campus is College House, where the family lived from 1932, after Frederick Attenborough was appointed as the second Principal of University College, Leicester (later to become the University of Leicester).

When they first came to Leicester, Richard Attenborough was eight, David was five and youngest brother John had just turned four. All three boys attended Wyggeston Grammar School for Boys, now Wyggeston and Queen Elizabeth I College, which backs onto the University meaning they had a very short walk to school each day.

Two other children lived in College House at this time. Helga and Irene Bejach were Jewish refugees taken in by the Attenboroughs in 1939 when the girls were nine and eleven respectively. Orphaned by the war, they were later formally adopted by the family. Actions like these show the Attenborough family to be the original Citizens of Change - an attribute which the University seeks to embody today.

David (later Sir David) and Richard (later Lord) Attenborough returned to the University on numerous occasions, most notably in 1970 when they received Honorary Degrees, and in 2006 when the two were named Honorary Distinguished Fellows – the University’s highest honour – "in recognition of a record of continuing distinguished service to the University."

Sir David and Lord Richard Attenborough family photo

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