Unheard interview with Sir David Attenborough about life in Leicester part of new University exhibition

The Attenborough brothers: Richard, John and David (Credit: University of Leicester)

A never before heard interview with Sir David Attenborough is featured in a new exhibition that has opened to the public at the University of Leicester).

The exhibition, The Attenboroughs at Leicester, showcases material from the University’s Archives about the Attenborough family and their relation to the University. It also includes loans from the Little Theatre, WQE, and the 9th Leicester Scouts.

Frederick Attenborough was Principal of University College, Leicester from 1932 to 1951. He lived on the University campus for almost two decades with his wife Mary and his three sons, Richard, David and John.

The Attenborough family helped to lay the foundation for Leicester gaining independent University status in the 1950s.

The exhibition features excerpts from previously unheard oral history interviews with the renowned naturalist and broadcaster, Sir David Attenborough, and his theatre director nephew, Michael Attenorough CBE DLitt, which were conducted by Elizabeth Blood (Research Associate, University History) in 2022-3.

It includes a newly identified student photograph of David Attenborough from 1945, alongside a host of other items that explore the family’s life at the University College.

A number of buildings on the University of Leicester campus are named after the Attenborough family.

Attenborough Tower, named after Fredrick, is the tallest building on the University campus.

Attenborough Arts Centre was established by actor and filmmaker, Lord Richard Attenborough.

The exhibition is to be hosted until 18 August 2023 in the Digital Culture Studio in David Wilson Library, University of Leicester.

Elizabeth Blood, Research Associate at University of Leicester said: “The Attenboroughs steered the young University College through extremely difficult times, from the lean 1930s through the Second World War and into a period of massive expansion into the 1950s.

“Our exhibition explores and celebrates what these times were like for the University College and for the Attenborough family at the centre of it.

“The vision, energy and commitment demonstrated by Frederick and Mary Attenborough not only shaped the future of the University, but nurtured the diverse interests of their three young sons, whose legacy at Leicester is something we continue to celebrate.

“What’s more, new connections have been forged with Lord Richard Attenborough’s son, Michael, who is an enthusiastic Patron of Attenborough Arts Centre and continues to support the University in its ongoing development.”