The Chester blog

Virtual Museum of Chester history

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Welcome to our virtual museum . Collected here you will find items from recent Chester history and the stories, emotions and memories behind them, if you’d like to submit an item to the collection, please get in touch. 

1. Toy and Hobby bag  (early 1980s) 


The holy grail of “lost” Chester stores, Toy and Hobby was on Foregate street and an iconic memory for children of the 1980s.  The North West chain had branches in Chester, St Helens, Stockport, Oldham, Wigan and Birkenhead.  Its distinctive  lime green plastic studded floor is a memory for many,  with shopping trips for  Cabbage Patch Dolls, Star Wars figures, Masters of the Universe, Transformers, Lego and many more. The unit was later filled by HMV but is now a Deichmann shoe shop.


2. Chester zoo monkey house brick (1989) 


The  monkey house brick was part of the fundraising drive to build the new chimpanzee enclosure at the zoo. The conical enclosure linked to a moated outside area was opened by HRH Diana Princess of Wales in 1989, an event attended by many local school children.

3. NO SMOKING AT THE BAR sign, The Square Bottle (2007) 

This sign once hung over the bar at the Square Bottle, (Wetherspoons) on Foregate street.  Prior to the smoking ban of 2007 introduced by Tony Blair’s government, customers could smoke anywhere in the pub apart from in the designated family area or at the bar. Sign retrieved from a skip.  

4. Last flyer from  Cineworld (2013) 



Cineworld, towards the end of its life

Cineworld opened in December 1990 with 6 screens. The cinema closed in October 2013 and was demolished with the neighbouring bowling alley to make way for an Asda. It was Chester’s last surviving cinema until Storyhouse opened in May 2017.


5. Last edition Leader ( 2018_)


The Chester Leader launched in October 1973, from a base in Mold, North Wales.  The Wrexham and Flintshire editions are still in print, but with circulation declining the Chester Edition was discontinued in 2018. The final edition was not announced or marked by the paper in any way.  Chester news coverage continues online and via the weekly free Chester Standard, although the rise of the internet has made print media increasingly defunct.

All exhibits considered for entry into the museum. Comment on blog or via @shitchester on twitter.





Sources :

Chester Cinemas + UK Picture Palaces

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