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CHESTER (/ˈtʃɛstər/ CHESS-tər ) (Welsh : Caer, Welsh pronunciation: ) is a walled city in Cheshire
Cheshire
, England
England
, on the River Dee , close to the border with Wales
Wales
. With a population of 118,200 in 2011, it is the most populous settlement of Cheshire
Cheshire
West and Chester
Chester
, which had a population of 332,200 in 2014. Chester
Chester
was granted city status in 1541.

Chester
Chester
was founded as a "castrum " or Roman fort with the name Deva Victrix in the reign of the Emperor Vespasian in 79 AD. One of the main army camps in Roman Britain
Roman Britain
, Deva later became a major civilian settlement. In 689, King Æthelred of Mercia
Æthelred of Mercia
founded the Minster Church of West Mercia, which later became Chester's first cathedral, and the Saxons extended and strengthened the walls to protect the city against the Danes. Chester
Chester
was one of the last cities in England
England
to fall to the Normans . William the Conqueror
William the Conqueror
ordered the construction of a castle, to dominate the town and the nearby Welsh border.

Chester
Chester
is one of the best preserved walled cities in Britain. It has a number of medieval buildings, but some of the black-and-white buildings within the city centre are Victorian restorations. Apart from a 100-metre (330 ft) section, the listed Grade I walls are almost complete. The Industrial Revolution
Industrial Revolution
brought railways, canals, and new roads to the city, which saw substantial expansion and development – Chester Town Hall
Chester Town Hall
and the Grosvenor Museum are examples of Victorian architecture from this period.

CONTENTS

* 1 History

* 1.1 Roman * 1.2 Medieval
Medieval
* 1.3 Industrial history * 1.4 Modern era

* 2 Governance

* 3 Geography

* 3.1 Climate * 3.2 Divisions and suburbs

* 4 Landmarks and tourist attractions * 5 Demography * 6 Education

* 7 Culture

* 7.1 Music * 7.2 Media

* 8 Economy

* 8.1 Developments

* 9 Transport

* 9.1 Roads * 9.2 Railways * 9.3 Cycling

* 9.4 Canals

* 9.4.1 Proposed canal

* 9.5 Trams

* 10 Sport * 11 Twin towns * 12 Notable people * 13 See also

* 14 References

* 14.1 Notes * 14.2 Bibliography

* 15 External links

HISTORY

Main article: History of Chester

ROMAN

Main article: Deva Victrix
Deva Victrix
Diorama of the Roman Legionary fortress Deva Victrix
Deva Victrix
in Grosvenor Museum , Chester.

The Roman Legio II Adiutrix during the reign of the Emperor Vespasian founded Chester
Chester
in AD 79, as a "castrum " or Roman fort with the name Deva Victrix
Deva Victrix
. It was established in the land of the Celtic Cornovii , according to ancient cartographer Ptolemy
Ptolemy
, as a fortress during the Roman expansion northward, and was named Deva either after the goddess of the Dee, or directly from the British name for the river. The 'victrix' part of the name was taken from the title of the Legio XX Valeria Victrix which was based at Deva. Central Chester's four main roads, Eastgate, Northgate, Watergate and Bridgegate, follow routes laid out at this time.

A civilian settlement grew around the military base, probably originating from trade with the fortress. The fortress was 20% larger than other fortresses in the Roman province
Roman province
of Britannia built around the same time at York
York
( Eboracum
Eboracum
) and Caerleon
Caerleon
( Isca Augusta ); this has led to the suggestion that the fortress, rather than London ( Londinium
Londinium
), was intended to become the capital of the Roman province of Britannia Superior . The civilian amphitheatre , which was built in the 1st century, could seat between 8,000 and 10,000 people. It is the largest known military amphitheatre in Britain, and is also a Scheduled Monument . The Minerva
Minerva
Shrine
Shrine
in the Roman quarry is the only rock cut Roman shrine still in situ in Britain.

The fortress was garrisoned by the legion until at least the late 4th century. Although the army had abandoned the fortress by 410 when the Romans retreated from Britannia , the Romano-British
Romano-British
civilian settlement continued (probably with some Roman veterans staying behind with their wives and children) and its occupants probably continued to use the fortress and its defences as protection from raiders from the Irish Sea
Irish Sea
.

MEDIEVAL

Castle Gate, Chester
Chester
c.1781 Chester Castle c.1781

After the Roman troops withdrew, the Romano-British
Romano-British
established a number of petty kingdoms. Chester
Chester
is thought to have become part of Powys . Deverdoeu was a Welsh name for Chester
Chester
as late as the 12th century (cf Dyfrdwy, Welsh for the river Dee). Another, attested in the 9th century History of the Britons traditionally attributed to Nennius , is Cair Legion ("Fort " or "City of the Legion"); this later developed into Caerlleon and then the modern Welsh Caer. (The town's importance is noted by its taking the simpler form in each case, while Isca Augusta in Monmouthshire
Monmouthshire
, another important legionary base, was known first as Caerleon
Caerleon
on the Usk , and now as Caerleon
Caerleon
). King Arthur is said to have fought his ninth battle at the "city of the legions" (Caerlleon) and later St Augustine came to the city to try to unite the church, and held his synod with the Welsh Bishops.

In 616, Æthelfrith of Northumbria
Æthelfrith of Northumbria
defeated a Welsh army at the brutal and decisive Battle of Chester , and probably established the Anglo-Saxon position in the area from then on. The Northumbrian Anglo-Saxons
Anglo-Saxons
used an Old English
Old English
equivalent of the British name, Legacæstir, which was current until the 11th century, when, in a further parallel with Welsh usage, the first element fell out of use and the simple name Chester
Chester
emerged. In 689, King Æthelred of Mercia founded the Minster Church of West Mercia on what is considered to be an early Christian site: it is known as the Minster of St John the Baptist, Chester
Chester
(now St John's Church) which later became the first cathedral. Much later, the body of Æthelred's niece, St Werburgh, was removed from Hanbury in Staffordshire in the 9th century and, to save it from desecration by Danish marauders, was reburied in the Church of SS Peter "> Photochrom of the Chester Rows as seen from the Cross , 1895

Chester
Chester
played a significant part in the Industrial Revolution
Industrial Revolution
which began in the North West of England
England
in the latter part of the 18th century. The city village of Newtown, located north east of the city and bounded by the Shropshire Union Canal
Shropshire Union Canal
was at the very heart of this industry. The large Chester
Chester
Cattle Market and the two Chester railway stations, Chester
Chester
General and Chester
Chester
Northgate Station , meant that Newtown with its cattle market and canal , and Hoole with its railways were responsible for providing the vast majority of workers and in turn, the vast amount of Chester's wealth production throughout the Industrial Revolution.

MODERN ERA

The Falcon Inn after restoration

A considerable amount of land in Chester
Chester
is owned by the Duke of Westminster who owns an estate, Eaton Hall , near the village of Eccleston . He also has London
London
properties in Mayfair
Mayfair
.

Grosvenor is the Duke's family name, which explains such features in the city as the Grosvenor Bridge , the Grosvenor Hotel , and Grosvenor Park. Much of Chester's architecture dates from the Victorian era
Victorian era
, many of the buildings being modeled on the Jacobean half-timbered style and designed by John Douglas , who was employed by the Duke as his principal architect. He had a trademark of twisted chimney stacks, many of which can be seen on the buildings in the city centre.

Douglas designed amongst other buildings the Grosvenor Hotel and the City Baths . In 1911, Douglas' protégé and city architect James Strong designed the then active fire station on the west side of Northgate Street. Another feature of all buildings belonging to the estate of Westminster is the 'Grey Diamonds' – a weaving pattern of grey bricks in the red brickwork laid out in a diamond formation.

Towards the end of World War II
World War II
, a lack of affordable housing meant many problems for Chester. Large areas of farmland on the outskirts of the city were developed as residential areas in the 1950s and early 1960s, producing, for instance, the suburb of Blacon . In 1964, a bypass was built through and around the city centre to combat traffic congestion.

These new developments caused local concern as the physicality and therefore the feel of the city was being dramatically altered. In 1968, a report by Donald Insall in collaboration with authorities and government recommended that historic buildings be preserved in Chester. Consequently, the buildings were used in new and different ways instead of being flattened.

In 1969 the City Conservation Area was designated. Over the next 20 years the emphasis was placed on saving historic buildings, such as The Falcon Inn , Dutch Houses and Kings Buildings.

On 13 January 2002, Chester
Chester
was granted Fairtrade City status. This status was renewed by the Fairtrade Foundation on 20 August 2003.

GOVERNANCE

Chester
Chester
is an unparished area within the unitary authority of Cheshire West and Chester as of 1 April 2009 replacing the old Chester City Council and the local ward is the City ward electing 3 councillors. A small area around Chester Castle remains a civil parish of Chester Castle . The Member of Parliament for the City of Chester is Chris Matheson (Labour ), elected in 2015.

Chester
Chester
is twinned with: Sens , France; Lörrach , Germany; Lakewood, Colorado , USA; and Senigallia , Italy.

GEOGRAPHY

An aerial photograph of central Chester
Chester
and the River Dee.

Chester
Chester
lies at the southern end of a 2-mile (3.2 km) Triassic sandstone ridge that rises to a height of 42 m within a natural S-bend in the River Dee (before the course was altered in the 18th century). The bedrock, which is also known as the Chester
Chester
Pebble Beds, is noticeable because of the many small stones trapped within its strata. Retreating glacial sheet ice also deposited quantities of sand and marl across the area where boulder clay was absent.

The eastern and northern part of Chester
Chester
consisted of heathland and forest. The western side towards the Dee Estuary was marsh and wetland habitats.

CLIMATE

In common with most of the rest of the United Kingdom, Chester
Chester
has an oceanic climate . Despite its proximity to the Irish Sea, the temperature regime is similar to areas further inland, owing to the shelter provided by the Pennines to the northeast and the Welsh Mountains to the southwest. The nearest official weather station is at Hawarden Airport , about 4 miles (6.4 km) west of the city centre.

The absolute maximum temperature recorded was 35.2 °C (95.4 °F) during August 1990 (actually the Welsh record). In an average year, the warmest day should reach 29.3 °C (84.7 °F), and 12.0 days in total should attain a temperature of 25.1 °C (77.2 °F) or higher. Often given the correctly aligned breezy conditions, a föhn effect will operate, meaning local temperatures are somewhat higher than surrounding area.

The absolute minimum temperature recorded was −18.2 °C (−0.8 °F) during January 1982. Annually, an average of 35.5 air frosts should be recorded.

Annual rainfall is barely over 700mm due to a rain shadow effect caused by the Welsh Mountains. Over 1mm of rain is reported on 131.6 days. All averages refer to the observation period 1971–2000.

CLIMATE DATA FOR CHESTER/HAWARDEN AIRPORT, ELEVATION 5M, 1971–2000, EXTREMES 1960–

MONTH JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC YEAR

RECORD HIGH °C (°F) 16.0 (60.8) 17.1 (62.8) 22.2 (72) 25.8 (78.4) 27.8 (82) 32.2 (90) 33.1 (91.6) 35.2 (95.4) 29.4 (84.9) 28.2 (82.8) 19.6 (67.3) 16.3 (61.3) 35.2 (95.4)

AVERAGE HIGH °C (°F) 7.5 (45.5) 8.0 (46.4) 10.4 (50.7) 12.9 (55.2) 16.6 (61.9) 18.9 (66) 21.4 (70.5) 20.9 (69.6) 18.0 (64.4) 14.2 (57.6) 10.2 (50.4) 8.2 (46.8) 13.93 (57.08)

AVERAGE LOW °C (°F) 1.6 (34.9) 1.8 (35.2) 3.5 (38.3) 4.6 (40.3) 7.1 (44.8) 10.2 (50.4) 12.4 (54.3) 12.1 (53.8) 10.0 (50) 7.2 (45) 4.2 (39.6) 2.4 (36.3) 6.43 (43.58)

RECORD LOW °C (°F) −18.2 (−0.8) −11.2 (11.8) −11.8 (10.8) −3.9 (25) −1.6 (29.1) −0.3 (31.5) 3.5 (38.3) 2.2 (36) −0.1 (31.8) −3.8 (25.2) −9.9 (14.2) −17.2 (1) −18.2 (−0.8)

AVERAGE PRECIPITATION MM (INCHES) 61.00 (2.4016) 47.38 (1.8654) 52.33 (2.0602) 46.76 (1.8409) 50.35 (1.9823) 57.74 (2.2732) 44.57 (1.7547) 57.89 (2.2791) 64.48 (2.5386) 72.34 (2.848) 75.68 (2.9795) 72.98 (2.8732) 703.52 (27.6976)

Source: KNMI

DIVISIONS AND SUBURBS

Bache , Blacon , Boughton , Curzon Park
Curzon Park
, Great Boughton , Handbridge , Hoole , Huntington , Kingsway, Lache , Newton , Newtown , Queens Park , Saltney , Upton , Vicars Cross , Westminster Park .

Areas just outside the city include; Saughall
Saughall
, Mollington , Christleton , Tarvin , Mickle Trafford and Guilden Sutton .

LANDMARKS AND TOURIST ATTRACTIONS

See also: Grade I listed buildings in Chester

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
England
after Big Ben . Black-and-white architecture at 29–31 Northgate

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
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 choir stalls 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
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. and *St Thomas of Canterbury Church The north side of Eastgate Street painted by Louise Rayner . On the far right is the 17th century Boot Inn .

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 artefacts are on display in the Roman Gardens which run parallel to the city walls from Newgate to the River Dee, where there's also a reconstructed hypocaust system . An original hypocaust system discovered in the 1720s can be seen in the basement of the Spudulike restaurant at 39 Bridge Street, which is open to the public.

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 south-west 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
Chester Racecourse
which holds a series of horse races and other events. The first recorded race meet in England
England
at Roodee Fields was on 9 February 1540. The Shropshire Union Canal
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
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. The Deva Roman Experience has hands-on exhibits and a reconstructed Roman street. One of the blocks in the forecourt of the Castle houses the Cheshire
Cheshire
Military Museum. Curzon Park
Curzon Park
as seen from Grosvenor Bridge across the River Dee .

The major public park in Chester
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
Shrine
, a Roman shrine to the goddess Minerva
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
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
Chester
Visitor Centre.

DEMOGRAPHY

According to the 2011 census, Chester
Chester
had a large White British proportion of around 110,000 or 90.9% of the population. 1.0% described themselves as Irish. 3.6% as Other White . 2.2% described themselves as Asian. 1.3% described themselves as Mixed Race . 0.6% described themselves as Black or Black British
Black British
and 0.3% are classed as other. Cheshire West and Chester also has a large number of Christians at 76.4%. 14% have no religion and 8.2% are not stated. 0.7% are Muslim. 0.1% are Sikhs. 0.1% are Jewish. 0.2% are Buddhists.

In 2014 Census there were 118,200 people living within the Chester urban area . The population was forecast to grow by 5% in the period 2005 to 2021. The resident population for Chester
Chester
District in the 2001 Census was 118,200. This represents 17.5% of the Cheshire
Cheshire
County total (1.8% of the North West population).

EDUCATION

The city is home to the University of Chester . Formerly a teacher training college, it gained full university status in 2005 and is the county's main provider of tertiary education. The University of Law also has a campus in the city.

West Cheshire
Cheshire
College is a vocational college in the North West of England. It has over 20,000 students at its two main campuses in Ellesmere Port
Ellesmere Port
and Chester
Chester
as well as in workplaces and community venues. The science and technologies campus is based in Chester
Chester
and offers a wide range of vocational courses and qualifications to local and international students.

The King\'s School , an independent school , was established by King Henry VIII in 1541. The girls-only Queen\'s School , another independent school, was founded in 1878 as "The Chester
Chester
School for Girls". Queen Victoria
Queen Victoria
, who was the school's first patron, issued a decree naming it "The Queen's School" in 1882.

Other secondary schools include:

* Bishops\' Blue Coat C of E * Catholic High School * Queens Park High School
Queens Park High School
* Upton-by-Chester High School * Blacon High School * Christleton High School

CULTURE

Eastgate Street painted by Louise Rayner , c. 1880

The major museum in Chester
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. The Dewa Roman Experience has hands-on exhibits and a reconstructed Roman street. One of the blocks in the forecourt of Chester Castle houses the Cheshire
Cheshire
Military Museum .

In 2007 the Gateway Theatre closed as part of the Northgate Development, and so too the Odeon cinema, which opened on 3 October 1936. The Odeon site is currently being transformed into the £37m ‘Storyhouse' arts centre, incorporating a theatre, cinema, public library and exhibition space.

Chester
Chester
Little Theatre is based in Newtown and run by Chester
Chester
Theatre Club. It generally stages 5 or 6 plays each year. Chester
Chester
Music Theatre is based in a converted church in Boughton. There was a multiplex cinema and a ten pin bowling alley at Greyhound Retail Park on the edge of the city but these have closed and the cinema has moved to Broughton, just over the border in North Wales. Chester
Chester
has its own film society, a number of amateur dramatic societies and theatre schools.

Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre , founded in 2010, is the only site-specific professional open-air theatre company outside London. It has an eight-week annual summer repertory season.

To the east side of the city is Chester Zoo , the UK's largest zoo with over 11,000 animals in 110 acres of award-winning gardens.

Numerous pubs, nightclubs and bars, some of which are based in medieval buildings, populate the city.

MUSIC

Chester
Chester
has had a professional classical music festival – the Chester
Chester
Summer Music Festival, since 1967 and regularly from 1978. The festival went into liquidation in 2012. A major new music festival was launched in March 2013 (previously known as Chester
Chester
Performs ), running annually every summer. The Chester
Chester
Music Festival features the professional music group Ensemble Deva led by Giovanni Guzzo and Music Director Clark Rundell. Ensemble Deva regularly features soloists and section leaders from the country's leading symphony orchestras including Liverpool
Liverpool
Philharmonic, the Hallé and Manchester
Manchester
Camerata.

The composer Howard Skempton was born in Chester
Chester
in 1947.

Chester
Chester
has a brass band that was formed in 1853. It was known as the Blue Coat Band and today as The City of Chester
Chester
Band. It is a third section brass band with a training band. Its members wear a blue-jacketed uniform with an image of the Eastgate clock on the breast pocket of the blazer.

Chester
Chester
Music Society was founded in 1948 as a small choral society. It now encompasses four sections: The Choir has 170 members drawn from Chester
Chester
and the surrounding district; The Youth Choirs support three choirs: Youth Choir, Preludes, and the Alumni Choir; Celebrity Concerts promote a season of six high quality concerts each year; The Club is a long established section which aims to encourage young musicians and in many cases offers the first opportunity to perform in public.

The Chester
Chester
Philharmonic Orchestra (CPO) was founded in 1884 and is one of the premier non-professional orchestras in North West England. Formerly the Chester
Chester
Orchestral Society they perform music from a wide repertoire. The Orchestra is a registered charity and usually perform four or five concerts, under the direction of well known professional conductors, each year (including an annual carol concert), which take place in the magnificent setting of Chester's ancient Cathedral.

Telford's Warehouse and Alexander's Jazz Bar are the city's main live music venues.

An annual popular music festival started in 2011 – Chester
Chester
Rocks, held on the grounds of the Chester Racecourse
Chester Racecourse
is due to continue in July 2012.

The founder members of the band River City People (guitarist Tim Speed, his drummer brother Paul Speed) are from Chester. They had a number of hits in the early 1990s. Later into the same decade, Mansun formed in the city, after singer Paul Draper met guitarist Dominic Chad whilst working in the local former Fat Cat Bar. More recently, Shy and the Fight , featuring Chester-based musicians, have achieved national attention via airplay on Radio 1 and Radio 2 , also appearing at Wychwood and Swn festivals. Other bands that have gone on to achieve a degree of success outside of the city include The Suns, The Wayriders, Casino and Face Of Christ.

MEDIA

Chester's newspapers are the daily Chester Evening Leader , and the weekly Chester Chronicle . It also has free publications, such as the newspapers Midweek Chronicle and Chester Standard and the free student magazine Wireless. Dee 106.3 is the city's radio station, with Heart North West , Capital North West and Wales
Wales
and BBC Radio Merseyside also broadcasting locally. Lache FM is currently Chester's only Community radio station. Television in Chester
Chester
is usually served by BBC North West Tonight and ITV Granada , and with its close proximity with North Wales, viewers can also receive overspills from BBC Wales Today and ITV Cymru Wales
Wales
rather than their local relays, Chester
Chester
is where Channel 4
Channel 4
's soap-opera Hollyoaks is set (although most filming takes place around Liverpool).

ECONOMY

Eastgate Street and the lower end of St Werburgh Street

Chester's main industries are now the service industries comprising tourism, retail, public administration and financial services. Many domestic and international tourists visit to view the city's landmarks and heritage with a complementary benefit to hotels and restaurants.

The city's central shopping area includes its unique Rows or galleries (two levels of shops) which date from medieval times and are believed to include the oldest shop front in England. The city has many chain stores, and also features an indoor market, a department store ( Browns of Chester , now absorbed by the Debenhams chain), and two main indoor shopping centres: The Grosvenor Shopping Centre and the Forum (a reference to the City's Roman past). The Forum, which houses stores and the indoor market, will be demolished in the Northgate Development scheme to make way for new shopping streets, a new indoor market, an enlarged library, a car park and bus station, and a performing arts centre. There are retail parks to the west and south. Cheshire
Cheshire
Oaks Designer Outlet and Broughton Retail Park are near the city.

Chester
Chester
has a relatively large financial sector including Bank of America , formerly MBNA Europe, NFU Mutual , HBOS plc , Virgin Money and M"> Chester Weir on the River Dee

In 2007 Chester
Chester
Council announced a 10-year plan to see Chester become a "must see European destination". At a cost of £1.3 billion it has been nicknamed Chester
Chester
Renaissance. A website was launched by the Renaissance team, so that interested parties could monitor progress on all the projects.

The Northgate Development project began in 2007 with the demolition of St. Martin's House on the city's ring road. At a cost of £460 million, Chester City Council and developers ING hope to create a new quarter for Chester. The development will see the demolition of the market hall, bus station, theatre and NCP car park. In its place will be a new multi-storey car park , bus exchange, performing arts centre, library, homes, retail space and a department store which will be anchored by House of Fraser.

In 2008, it was revealed that the Northgate development was to be put on hold until 2012 due to the ongoing economic downturn. However a number of Chester's other Renaissance projects continue. The current active projects are the Delamere Street development and the £60million HQ development. Work on the new bus station started in October 2015 and it is due to open in early 2017.

TRANSPORT

ROADS

The city is a hub for major roads, including the M53 motorway towards the Wirral Peninsula and Liverpool
Liverpool
and the M56 motorway towards Manchester
Manchester
. The A55 road runs along the North Wales
Wales
coast to Holyhead and the A483 links the city to nearby Wrexham
Wrexham
and Swansea
Swansea
to the far south.

Bus transport in the city is provided by Stagecoach Group and Arriva Buses Wales
Wales
, the council owned and operated ChesterBus (formerly Chester
Chester
City Transport) having been sold to First Chester
Chester
"> Dee bridge disaster , May 1847

Normal scheduled departures from Chester
Chester
Station are: a quarter-hourly Merseyrail electric service on the Wirral Line to Liverpool
Liverpool
, half-hourly in the evenings and on Sundays; frequent services on the North Wales
Wales
Coast Line (thereby connecting with Holyhead
Holyhead
for ferries to Dublin
Dublin
); Virgin Trains
Virgin Trains
to London
London
Euston via Crewe
Crewe
and to Holyhead
Holyhead
; Arriva Trains Wales
Wales
to Manchester
Manchester
Piccadilly via Warrington Bank Quay and Cardiff
Cardiff
Central / Birmingham
Birmingham
New Street via Wrexham
Wrexham
General as well as North Wales
Wales
Coast Line trains to Crewe , Llandudno Junction , Llandudno , Holyhead
Holyhead
; and Northern to Manchester
Manchester
Piccadilly via Northwich
Northwich
. From December 2017, there will also be an hourly train to Leeds
Leeds
stopping at Warrington
Warrington
Bank Quay, Manchester
Manchester
and Bradford
Bradford
.

In late 1847 the Dee bridge disaster
Dee bridge disaster
occurred when a bridge span collapsed as a train passed over the River Dee by the Roodee . Five people were killed in the accident. The bridge had been designed and built by famed-railway engineer Robert Stephenson
Robert Stephenson
for the Chester
Chester
and Holyhead
Holyhead
Railway . A Royal Commission inquiry found that the trusses were made of cast iron beams that had inadequate strength for their purpose. A national scandal ensued and many new bridges of similar design were either taken down or heavily altered.

CYCLING

There are a series of colour-coded signposted cycling routes around the city.

On 19 June 2008, then Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly named Chester
Chester
as a cycling demonstration town . This initiative allowed for substantial financial support to improve cycling facilities, and a number of schemes were planned.

Potential schemes included a new pedestrian and cycling bridge across the River Dee, linking the Meadows with Huntington and Great Boughton , an access route between Curzon Park
Curzon Park
and the Roodee , an extension to the existing greenway route from Hoole to Guilden Sutton and Mickle Trafford , and an access route between the Millennium cycle route and Deva Link. However following a reorganisation of the local authorities effective 1 April 2009 the Conservative-led administration of the newly established Cheshire West and Chester council was not very supportive, so comparatively little was actually achieved.

Many of the ideas generated at the time were captured in a Cycle Chester
Chester
Masterplan document.

CANALS

Canal cutting by Chester city walls
Chester city walls

The Chester Canal
Chester Canal
had locks down to the River Dee. Canal boats could enter the river at high tide to load goods directly onto seagoing vessels. The port facilities at Crane Wharf, by Chester
Chester
racecourse, made an important contribution to the commercial development of the north-west region. Map showing the proposed extensions of the Ellesmere Canal to Chester
Chester
and Shrewsbury
Shrewsbury

The original Chester Canal
Chester Canal
was constructed to run from the River Dee near Sealand Road
Sealand Road
, to Nantwich in south Cheshire, and opened in 1774. In 1805, the Wirral section of the Ellesmere Canal was opened, which ran from Netherpool (now known as Ellesmere Port
Ellesmere Port
) to meet the Chester Canal at Chester
Chester
canal basin. Later, those two canal branches became part of the Shropshire Union Canal
Shropshire Union Canal
network. This canal, which runs beneath the northern section of the city walls of Chester, is navigable and remains in use today.

From about 1794 to the late 1950s, when the canal-side flour mills were closed, narrowboats carried cargo such as coal, slate, gypsum or lead ore as well as finished lead (for roofing, water pipes and sewerage) from the leadworks in Egerton Street (Newtown). Grain from Cheshire
Cheshire
was stored in granaries on the banks of the canal at Newtown and Boughton and salt for preserving food arrived from Northwich
Northwich
.

Proposed Canal

The original plan to complete the Ellesmere Canal was to connect Chester
Chester
directly to the Wrexham
Wrexham
coalfields by building a broad-gauge waterway with a branch to the River Dee at Holt . If the waterway had been built, canal traffic would have crossed the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct heading north to Chester
Chester
and the River Dee.

As the route was never completed, the short length of canal north of Trevor , near Wrexham
Wrexham
was infilled. The Llangollen Canal , although designed to be primarily a water source from the River Dee, became a cruising waterway despite its inherent narrow nature.

However, although Wrexham
Wrexham
itself was bypassed, the plan to join the rivers Severn , Mersey and Dee was completed, first by cutting the Wirral Arm from Chester
Chester
to Ellesmere Port
Ellesmere Port
(Whitby wharf) then by extending the Llangollen Arm via Ellesmere , Whitchurch and Bettisfield Moss through to the Chester Canal
Chester Canal
at Hurleston. The network became the Shropshire Union Canal
Shropshire Union Canal
.

TRAMS

Chester
Chester
had a tram service during the late 19th and early 20th centuries which ran from Saltney, on the Welsh border in the west, to Chester
Chester
General station, and thence also to Tarvin Road and Great Boughton. It featured the narrowest gauge trams (3' 6") in mainland Britain, due to an act of Parliament which deemed that they must be the least obstructive possible.

The tramway was established in 1871 by Chester
Chester
Tramways Company. It was horse-drawn until it was taken over by the council in 1903. Renamed as Chester Corporation Tramways , it was reconstructed to the 3'6" gauge, and electrified with overhead cables. The tramway was closed in February 1930, a fate experienced by most other systems in the UK. All that remains are small areas of uncovered track inside the former bus depot, and a few tram-wire supports attached to buildings on Eastgate/Foregate Street, although substantial sections of the track remain buried beneath the current road surface.

SPORT

The defunct Chester
Chester
City in action in 2007. The Deva Stadium , now used by Chester F.C. , is on the border between England
England
and Wales
Wales

Chester
Chester
was home to Chester City F.C. , who were founded in 1885 and elected to the Football League in 1931, and played at their Sealand Road stadium until 1990, spending two years playing in Macclesfield before returning to the city to the new Deva Stadium – which straddles the border of England
England
and Wales
Wales
– in 1992. The club first lost its Football League status in 2000, only to reclaim it four years later as Conference champions, but were relegated again in 2009 and went out of business in March 2010 after 125 years in existence.

Notable former players of the club include Ian Rush (who later managed the club), Cyrille Regis , Arthur Albiston , Earl Barrett , Lee Dixon , Steve Harkness , Roberto Martínez and Stan Pearson .

Following their demise, a new team – Chester FC – was founded. They play at Chester
Chester
City's Deva Stadium , also known as the Lookers Vauxhall Stadium for sponsorship reasons, and were elected to the Northern Premier League Division One North for the 2010–11 season , ending their first season as that division's champions, securing a place in the Northern Premier League Premier Division for the 2011–12 season . The club achieved promotion for the next two consecutive seasons and currently play in the National League Premier Division .

The city also has a professional basketball team in the country's top competition, the British Basketball League
British Basketball League
. Cheshire
Cheshire
Phoenix – formerly known as Cheshire
Cheshire
Jets – play at the Cheshire
Cheshire
Oaks Arena at nearby Ellesmere Port; and a wheelchair basketball team, Celtic Warriors, formerly known as the Chester
Chester
Wheelchair Jets.

Chester
Chester
Rugby Club (union ) plays in the English National League 2 North, having been promoted in 2012. It won the EDF Energy Intermediate Cup in the 2007–08 season and has also won the Cheshire Cup several times.

There is a successful hockey club, Chester
Chester
HC , who play at the County Officers' Club on Plas Newton Lane, a Handball team Deva Handball Club , who boast to be the largest handball team in the country. Deva handball club play in National league 1 of handball, and also an American Football
American Football
team, the Chester
Chester
Romans, part of the British American Football League .

Chester Racecourse
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 .

The River Dee is home to rowing clubs, notably Grosvenor Rowing Club and Royal Chester Rowing Club , as well as two school clubs, The King\'s School Chester
Chester
Rowing Club and Queen\'s Park High Rowing Club. The weir is 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 is near the banks of the Dee, and there are numerous private golf courses near the city, as well as a 9-hole municipal course at Westminster Park.

The Northgate Arena is the city's main leisure centre, there are smaller sports centres in Christleton and Upton. The Victorian City Baths are in the city centre.

Sunday 11 December 2011 saw the first Chester
Chester
Santa Dash. A 4 km (2.5 mi) run around the streets of Chester
Chester
in aid of local charities, the Santa Dash is a festive event open to everyone of all ages and abilities.

The city has hosted the RAC Rally eight times.

TWIN TOWNS

Chester
Chester
is twinned with:

* Sens , France
France
* Lörrach , Loerrach International Germany
Germany
* Senigallia , Italy
Italy

NOTABLE PEOPLE

Main article: List of people from Chester

This section NEEDS ADDITIONAL CITATIONS FOR VERIFICATION . Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources . Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (September 2015) (Learn how and when to remove this template message )

* Ian Blair (born 1953), Commissioner for Metropolitan Police (retired) * Sir Adrian Boult
Adrian Boult
(1889–1983), musical conductor, born in Liverpool
Liverpool
Road * Randolph Caldecott
Randolph Caldecott
(1846–86), artist and book illustrator, was born in Bridge Street, Chester * Group Captain Leonard Cheshire
Cheshire
VC , OM , DSO and Two Bars , DFC (1917–1992), renowned Second World War RAF bomber pilot and founder of the Leonard Cheshire
Cheshire
Disability charity, was born in Hoole Road, Hoole, Chester
Chester
(although he was brought up in Oxford
Oxford
); the house where he was born (now a guest house ) bears a blue plaque attesting to this * Eileen de Coppet, Princess of Albania (1922-1985), the wife to the pretender of the throne of the Principality of Albania
Principality of Albania
was born in Chester. * John Douglas (1830–1911), architect, lived in and had his practice in Chester, and designed many of its Victorian buildings * Leo Gradwell DSC (1899-1969), barrister and Arctic Convoys war hero * James Hamilton, author of children's books * A. S. Hornby (1898–1978), notable grammarian and lexicographer * Conor Kostick (born 1964), writer and historian * Rory Lewis (born 1982), portrait photographer * Frank Eric Lloyd (1909-1992), author of Rhodesian Patrol, born and raised in Chester * Simon Nixon (born 1967), billionaire businessman, co-founder of Moneysupermarket.com * David Roberts (1859–1928), engineer who invented the caterpillar track , grew up in Great Boughton * L. T. C. Rolt (1910–74), engineering historian, born in Chester
Chester
* Anthony Thwaite (born 1930), poet and writer * Beatrice Tinsley (née Hill) (1941–1981), astronomer and cosmologist , professor of astronomy at Yale University
Yale University
; was born in the city but was brought up in New Zealand * Sir John Vanbrugh
John Vanbrugh
(1664–1726), architect and dramatist, raised in Chester

ACTORS

* Randle Ayrton (born 1869) * Emily Booth (born 1976), actress and writer * Adrian Bower (born 1970) * Ray Coulthard (born 1968) * Daniel Craig
Daniel Craig
(born 1968 in Liverpool
Liverpool
Road) * Emma Cunniffe (born 1973) * Hugh Lloyd (1923–2008) * Malcolm Hebden (born 1940) * Tom Hughes (born 1985) * Ronald Pickup (born 1940) * Basil Radford (1897–1952) * Graham Roberts (born 1929) * John Steiner (born 1941)

CINEMATOGRAPHY

* Peter Newbrook (1920–2009), cinematographer, director, producer and writer

COMEDIANS

* Russ Abbot (born 1947) (birth name Russell A. Roberts), musician, comedian and actor * Jeff Green (born 1964), comedian * Bob Mills (born 1957), comedian and gameshow host * Stevie Riks (born 1967), comedian, impressionist, and musician

SPORT

* Paul Butler (born 1988), IBF Bantamweight World champion boxer * Danny Collins (born 1980), Sunderland A.F.C. footballer * Steven Cousins (born 1972), skater. * Andy Dorman (born 1982), Crystal Palace F.C. footballer * Doug Ellis (born 1924 in Ellesmere Port), former owner of Aston Villa F.C. * Ben Foden (born 1985), rugby player England
England
and Northampton saints * Tom Heaton
Tom Heaton
(born 1986), Burnley F.C. goalkeeper * Danny Murphy (born 1977), footballer and former England international * Michael Owen
Michael Owen
(born 1979), former English football international and Liverpool
Liverpool
F.C. player * Antonio Pedroza (born 1991), former Crystal Palace footballer * Alex Sanderson (born 1979), international rugby union player and younger brother of Pat * Pat Sanderson (born 1977), international rugby union player * Ryan Shawcross (born 1987), Stoke City F.C. footballer * Stuart Tomlinson (born 1985), former professional footballer, now professional wrestler at WWE
WWE
* Stuart Turner (born 1943), former Essex cricketer * Beth Tweddle (born 1985 in Johannesburg
Johannesburg
, South Africa), World champion gymnast * Martin Tyler (born 1945), English football commentator * Ricky Walden (born 1982), professional snooker player * Helen Willetts (born 1972), former badminton international and weather forecaster

MUSIC

* Kutski (born 1982), DJ and BBC Radio 1
BBC Radio 1
presenter * Lee Latchford-Evans (born 1975), singer of 90s pop group Steps * Nemone Metaxas (born 1973), DJ and radio presenter * Stephen Oliver (born 1950), composer * Andie Rathbone (born 1969), drummer of Chester-based indie band Mansun * Howard Skempton (born 1947), composer * Steve Wright, singer of Juveniles, Fiat Lux , Camera Obscura and Hoi Poloi

SEE ALSO

* Cheshire
Cheshire
portal

* Grade I listed buildings in Chester * All Saints Church, Hoole * St Barnabas\' Church, Chester
Chester
* St Mary\'s Church, Handbridge * St Paul\'s Church, Boughton

REFERENCES

NOTES

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