Join novelist Clare Dudman as she explores within the city walls of Chester in this new addition to the Real series. Here is the richly historic city as you won’t find it in guidebooks: a place which looks over its shoulder at its long and very visible past, and the continuing redevelopment and its effects on local people.
Largely established by the Romans, whose legacy is still clearly evident, Chester has been a centre of trade, military power and religion for two thousand years. It thrived in the middle ages, with priories, the cathedral, the castle, trade guilds providing centres around which life flowed. These, in turn, left a legacy of streets and buildings with which Chester lives today, including the famous double decker Rows now full of shops and restaurants.
Chester’s history informs the city and, in turn, the city lives off its history. Tourism is huge. Roman centurions roam the streets alongside umbrella-wielding tour guides, and on Heritage Days visitors can visit Roman and medieval remains hidden by contemporary shops and offices.
Dudman writes of all this and much more, including Chester’s Georgian and Victorian splendours, as she walks the streets and narrow alleyways of this small yet exotic place, bordered by the looping river Dee and the industrial Shropshire canal. Here are the buildings, the powerful families, the upstart merchants and above all the ordinary citizens of a remarkable and historic locale. Drawing on thirty years of residence, consulting documents and guides, Dudman has written a fascinating book that will appeal to locals, visitors and armchair travellers alike.