• Historic England have congratulated the council on the low impact that the Northgate development has had on the archaeology of Chester. The planning approval set a disturbance target which the team managed to work within; achieving a lower than expected amount of archaeological disturbance of the Deva fortress under the Northgate site. Working in partnership with Vinci Construction UK and Oxford Archaeology North, the council undertook a detailed process of planning the site’s construction to limit the intrusion wherever possible. The new buildings were carefully designed to avoid disturbance of archaeological remains as far as possible.  A comprehensive mitigation strategy, put together in consultation with the Cheshire Archaeology Planning Advisory Service, and endorsed by Historic England, was in place to ensure intrusions into the most sensitive strata were kept to an absolute minimum. The Northgate site is located towards the north west corner of the large Deva Roman fortress which was occupied for over three hundred years from its first construction in the AD 70s. The site included barrack blocks, stores and officers’ living quarters which featured painted plaster work and concrete flooring. During the works over ten thousand Roman artefacts were found, including over two thousand fragments of pottery, both decorative and practical, from far-flung corners of the Roman Empire such as Spain and Germany as well as items known to have been made locally and in southern England. Other artefacts found included glassware, copper-alloy keys, tweezers and a rare gaming piece or token made from bone. A triangular roof tile or antefix was also found bearing the name of the Twentieth Legion (Leg XX) and its emblem a running boar, which has been chosen as the logo of the new market in recognition of the site’s Roman history. A booklet about the archaeology of the site and how it was excavated is available at: www.chesternorthgate.com/archaeology The construction did not result in any major intrusion into the important archaeological remains.  . Where archaeological deposits could not be left in situ, they were expertly recorded and excavated by archaeologists on site throughout the construction process and these will be passed to the Grosvenor Museum once fully inspected and cleaned. Andrew Davison, Historic England’s Inspector of Ancient Monuments for the North West said: “In my opinion, this has been a very well executed project, and sets a high benchmark for good practice in historic cities. Despite minimal disturbance to important archaeology, we have learnt a great deal about the development of Chester particularly in the Roman period as a result of the Northgate excavations.”
  • Deep Sea Rhythms make their debut at Bonobo Canteen this Friday 4th Nov. Headliner Sicilian Scouser Giovanna has built a solid following through community-focused parties across Liverpool and London. The 24 Kitchen Street resident monthly NTS Radio show broadcasts her unique mix of leftfield house, wonky disco, and traditional percussive vibrations. She’s built a solid following through community parties over the years, and that shines through how she plays; generous, big-hearted, music to feel good around. Support is from local legend Jono Barbarossa Robertson.
  • Following on from last year’s success, North West in Bloom judges have awarded even more top accolades for locations and projects in Cheshire West and Chester. The Council’s whole borough entry including Chester in the Large City category scooped a Silver Gilt, as well as the 2022 Award for Commercial Effort. The Local Authority Large Parks Gold Medal was awarded to Marbury Park and in the Small Park category Alexandra Park in Chester, also received a Gold.  A first-time entry for Rivacre County Park also secured a Silver Gilt in the Small Park category. This is the result of the hard work of many ‘Friends of’ groups and volunteers across the borough being recognised by the North West in Bloom judges who visited the area during the summer. The Council’s Director of Environment and Communities, Maria Byrne said: “I’m delighted the Council was able to support so many wonderful entries for this year’s North West in Bloom competition and I would like to offer my heartfelt thanks and warmest congratulations to all the volunteers and groups involved in improving their community and bringing people together to make a positive change to the place they live, work or spend their leisure time. “We were very proud of what we were able to show the judges and the results reflect the hard work of everyone involved in this year’s entries. This is a wonderful way to recognise the achievements of organisations and community groups across west Cheshire.  Together, we can ensure our borough continues to thrive, long into the future and the results can be built upon to further improve our natural environment.”
  • Revd Dr Andrea Russell is the first new Warden at Gladstone’s Library in Hawarden, Flintshire in 25 years – and the first woman to take up the role.  The Library is a Grade I listed example of neo-Gothic Victorian architecture and is a rare example of a residential library, its 26 bedrooms allowing visitors to sleep in the same building as its unique archival and book collections. The Revd Dr Andrea Russell comes to Gladstone’s Library from the Oxford Diocese where she was Director of Formation for Ministry. She said: “This is a unique role and I feel privileged to be here at the Library. Whether it is the staff who work here, the national and international scholars who come to study or those who come to read, write or rest, everyone is so committed to this place that celebrates learning in all its forms. I am very much looking forward to having conversations with friends of the library, staff and guests over the coming months so that together we can discern the next chapter for Gladstone’s. Building on Peter Francis’ legacy, I have no doubt that the Library has a fabulous future and I am thrilled to be part of it.” Originally founded in the late 1800s, the Library includes a core collection of books once owned by four times Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone.
  • One of the leading mixed choirs in North Wales is set to join forces with a North West based choir for a joint concert at a Chester Church, two years later than first planned due to the Covid-19 Pandemic. The concert entitled “Roses and Daffodils – An Evening of Song”, to be staged at Hamilton Street Methodist Church in Hoole, Chester on Saturday November 5th at 7pm, will see The Hawarden Singers (the daffodils) coming together with Lancashire based choir InHarmony (the roses) as they present an evening of varied music with songs ranging from the traditional to the more contemporary. Based in Shaw near Oldham, and originally formed in 1922 as Trinity Amateur Operatic & Dramatic Society and subsequently known as The Trinity Singers, InHarmony is a mixed choir who enjoy an excellent reputation in its local area. The Hawarden Singers was founded in 1954 by Dr. Emlyn Roberts who was a lecturer at Chester College and Examiner for the Trinity College of Music in London. The choir’s first concert was performed at the Hawarden Institute, in the village of Hawarden, in October of that year. The choir continues to entertain enthusiastic audiences in the Chester and North Wales area.  The two choirs first sang together three years ago in Rochdale and The Hawarden Singers are delighted to be hosting a return visit by InHarmony. The collaboration between the two groups was first instigated by the current chair of The Hawarden Singers, Pat Wells, who is a former member of InHarmony.  Speaking about the joint concert, Pat said “Rehearsals are well underway in both North Wales and Lancashire. I am so looking forward to seeing my old choir from Shaw and my Welsh choir coming together again for our second combined concert.” Tickets for the concert at Hamilton Street Methodist Church are £10 (including refreshments) and are available from Pat Wells (01244 520974) or Richard Steventon (01244533116). Tickets will also be available on the door.
  • Theatre company Against The Grain was in the final week of rehearsals for its production of the Ira Levin comedy thriller “Deathtrap” when they were joined by A Level and GCSE students from Christleton High School. The opportunity to perform in front of an audience prior to the play transferring to Chester Little Theatre was arranged by Deathtrap cast member Simon Phillips who is Head of Music and Performing Arts at Christleton High School. Students were able to see how a full rehearsal works, experience the play first hand and were also given the opportunity to ask questions about the play, its themes and the rehearsal process itself, providing them with a valuable insight in to the work that goes in to staging a theatre production.Following the rehearsal period, Against The Grain’s production of Deathtrap transferred to The Salisbury Studio at Chester Little Theatre where it enjoyed a highly acclaimed sell out run. Joining Simon Phillips on stage were cast members Haluk Saglam, Marian Newman, Sally Anglesea and Mark Newman with the production team including director Stuart Evans, and stage managers Paul Crofts and Charlotte Offley. Against The Grain is currently planning its productions for 2023 with details to be announced in the New Year but supporters can keep up to date with all the company’s news by following them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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