Limo Chester - Chester City
Chester is the county town of Cheshire, England. Lying on the River Dee, close to the border with Wales, it is home to 80,121 inhabitants, and is the largest and most populous settlement of the wider local government district of the City of Chester, which has a population of 119,700. Chester was granted city status in 1541.
Chester was founded as a "castrum" or Roman fort with the name Deva Victrix in the year 79 by the Roman Legio II Adiutrix. Chester's four main roads, Eastgate, Northgate, Watergate and Bridge, follow routes laid out at this time - almost 2000 years ago. One of the three main Roman army bases, Deva later became a major settlement in the Roman province of Britannia. After the Romans left in the 5th century, the Saxons fortified the town against the Danes and would give Chester its name. The patron saint of Chester, Werburgh, is buried in Chester Cathedral.
Chester was one of the last towns in England to fall to the Normans in the Norman conquest of England. William the Conqueror ordered a castle built to dominate the town and the nearby Welsh border. In 1071 he created Hugh d'Avranches, the 1st Earl of Chester.
Chester has the reputation of being the "English medieval city par excellence", but many of its buildings are from the Victorian era. It has the most complete city walls in Britain and most sections of the walls are listed Grade I. The Industrial Revolution brought railways, canals and new roads to the city, which saw substantial expansion and development to the city - Chester Town Hall and the Grosvenor Museum are examples of Victorian architecture from this period.
Chester Landmarks and Tourist attractions
The more unusual landmarks in the city are the city walls, the rows and the black-and-white architecture. The walls encircle the bounds of the medieval city and constitute the most complete city walls in Britain, the full circuit measuring nearly 2 miles (3 km). The only break in the circuit is in the southwest section in front of County Hall.
A footpath runs along the top of the walls, crossing roads by bridges over Eastgate, Northgate, St Martin's Gate, Watergate, Bridgegate, Newgate, and the Wolf Gate, and passing a series of structures, namely Phoenix Tower (or King Charles' Tower), Morgan's Mount, the Goblin Tower (or Pemberton's Parlour), and Bonewaldesthorne's Tower with a spur leading to the Water Tower, and Thimbleby's Tower. On Eastgate is Eastgate Clock which is said to be the most photographed clock in England after Big Ben
The rows are unique in Britain.
They consist of buildings with shops or dwellings on the lowest two storeys. The shops or dwellings on the ground floor are often lower than the street and are entered by steps, which sometimes lead to a crypt-like vault. Those on the first floor are entered behind a continuous walkway, often with a sloping shelf between the walkway and the railings overlooking the street.
Much of the architecture of central Chester looks medieval and some of it is. But by far the greatest part of it, including most of the black-and-white buildings, is Victorian, a result of what Pevsner termed the "black-and-white revival".
The most prominent buildings in the city centre are the town hall and the cathedral. The town hall was opened in 1869. It is in Gothic Revival style and has a tower and a short spire.
The cathedral was formerly the church of St Werburgh's Abbey. Its architecture dates back to the Norman era, with additions made most centuries since. A series of major restorations took place in the 19th century and in 1975 a separate bell tower was opened. The elaborately carved canopies of the choirstalls are considered to be one of the finest in the country. Also in the cathedral is the shrine of St Werburgh. To the north of the cathedral are the former monastic buildings. The oldest church in the city is St John's, which is outside the city walls and was at one time the cathedral church. The church was shortened after the dissolution of the monasteries and ruins of the former east end remain outside the church. Much of the interior is in Norman style and this is considered to be the best example of 11th–12th century church architecture in Cheshire. At the intersection of the former Roman roads is Chester Cross, to the north of which is the small church of St Peter’s which is in use as an ecumenical centre. Other churches are now redundant and have other uses; St Michael’s in Bridge Street is a heritage centre, St Mary-on-the-Hill is an educational centre and Holy Trinity now acts as the Guildhall.
Other notable buildings include the preserved shot tower, the highest structure in Chester.
Roman remains can still be found in the city, particularly in the basements of some of the buildings and in the lower parts of the northern section of the city walls.
The most important Roman feature is the amphitheatre just outside the walls which is undergoing archaeological investigation.
Roman artifacts are on display in the Roman Gardens which run parallel to the city walls from Newgate to the River Dee. Of the medieval city the most important surviving structure is Chester Castle, particularly the Agricola Tower. Much of the rest of the castle has been replaced by the neoclassical county court and its entrance, the Propyleum. To the south of the city runs the River Dee, with its 11th century weir. The river is crossed by the Old Dee Bridge, dating from the 13th century, the Grosvenor Bridge of 1832, and Queen's Park suspension bridge (for pedestrians). To the southwest of the city the River Dee curves towards the north. The area between the river and the city walls here is known as the Roodee, and contains Chester Racecourse which holds a series of horse races and other events.
The Shropshire Union Canal runs to the north of the city and a branch leads from it to the River Dee.
The major museum in Chester is the Grosvenor Museum which includes a collection of Roman tombstones and an art gallery. Associated with the museum is 20 Castle Street in which rooms are furnished in different historical styles. One of the blocks in the forecourt of the castle houses the Cheshire Military Museum. The major public park in Chester is Grosvenor Park. On the south side of the River Dee, in Handbridge, is Edgar's Field, another public park, which contains Minerva's Shrine, a Roman shrine to the goddess Minerva. A war memorial to those who died in the world wars is in the town hall and it contains the names of all Chester servicemen who died in the First World War.
Chester Visitor Centre, opposite the Roman Amphitheatre, issues a leaflet giving details of tourist attractions. Those not covered above include cruises on the River Dee and on the Shropshire Union Canal, and guided tours on an open-air bus. The river cruises start from a riverside area known as the Groves, which contains seating and a bandstand. A series of festivals is organised in the city, including mystery plays, a summer music festival and a literature festival. Chester City Council has produced a series of leaflets for self-guided walks. Tourist Information Centres are at the town hall and at Chester Visitor Centre.
Sports in Chester
In 2007, Chester's cultural sector was going through a major transformation. The Gateway Theatre had closed as part of the Northgate Development and so too had the Odeon cinema. The site was earmarked for redevelopment, with the closed Odeon cinema being the subject of a proposal to re-open it as part of an arts complex with a cinema at its heart; or its owners, Brook Leisure, may pursue planning permission to turn it into a nightclub. Numerous public houses and wine bars, some of which date from medieval times, populate the city. Chester also has some nightclubs, which are soon going to be added to by the development of two new clubs in the next eighteen months. Also to the east side of the city are the UK's largest zoological gardens, Chester Zoo. Chester has its own film society.
Chester City football club play in the Coca-Cola League 2, the fourth tier of English football and the lowest fully professional division. They were elected to the Football League in 1931, and have played at their Deva Stadium, straddling the England–Wales border, since 1992. Notable former players include Ian Rush (who also managed the club), Cyrille Regis, Arthur Albiston, Earl Barrett, Lee Dixon, Steve Harkness, Roberto Martinez and Stan Pearson.
The city also has a national basketball team, the newly named, BiG Storage Cheshire Jets Champions, who play in the city's Northgate Arena leisure centre; and a wheelchair basketball team, Celtic Warriors, formerly known as the Chester Wheelchair Jets. Chester also has a successful hockey club, Chester HC, who play at the County Officers' Club on Plas Newton Lane, and also an American Football team, the Chester Romans, who are part of the British American Football League.
Chester Racecourse hosts several flat race meetings from the spring to the autumn. The races take place within view of the City walls and attract tens of thousands of visitors. The May meeting includes several nationally significant races such as the Chester Vase, which is recognised as a trial for the Epsom Derby.
Chester Rugby Club is also not without its local fame, winning the Cheshire Cup several times.
The River Dee is also home to several rowing clubs, notably Grosvenor Rowing Club and Royal Chester Rowing Club, as well as two school clubs, The King's School Chester Rowing Club and Queen's Park High Rowing Club. The weir is regularly used by a number of local canoe and kayak clubs. Each July the Chester Raft Race is held on the River Dee in aid of charity. Chester Golf Club can also be found near the banks of the Dee.