From Verecunda, a girl in love with a Roman gladiator, who etched his name on a love token, to the footballer and television presenter Gary Lineker, and popular fashion consultant Gok Wan, it is characters such as this that have contributed to Leicester's long and exciting history, and sent its name around the world. It was in Leicester that DNA fingerprinting was invented and Thomas Cook pioneered his dream of tourism for the masses. Sir David Attenborough met his first dinosaur and Alfred Russel Wallace formulated the concept of natural selection, possibly before Charles Darwin. Images now recognised around the world, such as Thomas the Tank Engine, and the polar bear that promotes Fox's Glacier Mints, were created in Leicester, as were the diaries of Adrian Mole and Walker's crisps. Joseph Merrick, also known as the Elephant Man, was born in the town, and it was here that a young apprentice in Leicester's largest textile factory learned how to build bicycles and gave his name to Curry's retail stores. The stories of the men and women who were at the forefront of invention, scientific discovery and entertainment, politics and faith are inextricably linked with the bigger picture of the development and growth of a major English city over two thousand years, and are celebrated in The History of Leicester in 100 People.
Stephen Butt is a well-known local historian. After a career with the BBC, he now enjoys writing and research, with over twenty books in print combining local history with an interest in photography. Stephen's first degree was in Psychology and his MA degree is in English Local History. He has served as Hon Secretary of the Leicestershire Archaeological and Historical Society. He lives in Leicestershire.