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The University's Grade II-listed, principal administrative building was constructed in 1837 as the Leicestershire and Rutland Lunatic Asylum. The building was closed in 1907 but reopened at the outbreak of war as the 5th Northern General Military Hospital in which capacity it served till 1919. Thomas Fielding Johnson (1828-1921) was a Leicester businessman and philanthropist who purchased the building and grounds in 1919 for £40,000 and presented them to Leicester Council for the establishment of a University College (now the University of Leicester) and a grammar school (now Wyggeston and Queen Elizabeth I College). An extension was added to the rear of the building in 1950 (later demolished to make room for the Library) and it was formally renamed the Fielding Johnson Building in 1964.
Interesting fact: The 1907 report which closed the asylum noted that "lunacy in Leicester is considerably below the average."