News from Leicester

Leicester factory put lives at risk during lockdown, claims garment worker

Anil had also been reluctant to speak, saying he feared for his family’s safety. But he agreed because he was so angered by the treatment of workers. While his wife looks after their two children, he has been working about 40 hours a week for £200, about £5 an hour.

There was no canteen, and rats and mice were visible on the factory floor, Anil claimed. There was no hand sanitiser until last week, and the single men’s toilet had no soap. “They have put us in danger,” he said. “If I feel sick, I make my family sick. I put them in danger too.”

Since the second lockdown began, though, the pattern in Leicester has shifted. If the North Evington area where many of the city’s factories are based was previously beset with risky working practices and almost no scrutiny, this week an abundance of attention has come just as many workshops went dark.


Sigh. This is an awful situation. (And one you most likely already know about if you’ve been reading the news.)

I’m lucky, insanely lucky, because I live just outside of the lockdown zone. I found that out today. I can’t go visit people or go to the city center or visit the next town over, but I’m in an area that has so far had zero deaths.

The mood on Facebook and the other social media hangouts for Leicesterians is a very, very subdued one. Also, because Leicester is known for being so diverse there have been pockets of hate and racism cropping up and Twitter will not do anything about them. That’s awful too.

It’s weird and surreal and really, really not great to be spared when everyone around you is suffering.

Photos of cities in lockdown

London, taken by Sophie Raworth

Oh, the caption on the bus on that one…

God, it looks so apocalyptic. But I’m glad that sign is there.

New York, from here and here

Los Angeles, from here and here

Yeah, I too thought of that scene from The Walking Dead.

Paris (and a film set there) from here and here

Oakland, from here

God, that’s a striking image.

And Leicester, my home city, from the Leicester Mercury:


The news about Kobe Bryant and his daughter’s deaths, it’s really depressed me. I don’t follow any sports at all but I knew who he was. And the fact that his daughter was only thirteen and had her whole life ahead of her, that’s so awful.

This all reminds me of the 2018 Leicester helicopter crash too, the one which killed Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha. I always think of it as having happened on Halloween, because I was leaving a Halloween party when I saw enough sirens to imply something had gone wrong in the city, but it was actually a few days earlier. It was the same day as the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, too. I can only really remember that day in a blaze of intense emotion.

This is all to say… I hope helicopters (or at least recreationally used helicopters, I know they’re invaluable for rescues at sea and so on) go the way of the zeppelin soon.