Suspension Bridge centenary marked with special event

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On Sunday 16th April, VIPs and the local community came together at Old Palace Chester to celebrate 100 years of The Queens Park Bridge, also known as the Chester Suspension Bridge.

The Old Palace Chester team organised the centenary celebrations in collaboration with Jan Chillery, insolvency partner at Aaron & Partners Solicitors, who is secretary of Chester Regatta and vice chair of Chester Business Club. The 1920s-themed event was a fantastic opportunity for the local community to come together at Old Palace Chester which sits on the banks of the River Dee, overlooking Queens Park Bridge itself.

The Lord Mayor of Chester Cllr John Leather, and Lady Mayoress Heather Leather joined over 400 guests to enjoy food and drink provided by the venue along with live jazz and swing music from Natty Congeroo and the Flames of Rhythm. The event was also attended by Samantha Dixon, MP for Chester, the Sheriff of Chester Cllr Bob Rudd, the Deputy Lord Mayor Cllr Sheila Little and the chair of Chester Business Club, Roy Shelton.  

Roy Shelton said, “It was my great pleasure as chairman to welcome Chester Business Club members to this fantastic event.  I and many others got into the Roaring Twenties spirit and dressed in 1920s style to celebrate 100 years of Chester Suspension Bridge. I am keen to bring Chester business and sporting community together and this was the perfect occasion.”  

Jan Chillery of Chester Regatta/Chester Business Club, Roy Shelton Chair of Chester Business Club and Catharina Rhodes of Kids Bank

The dignitaries all wore full ceremonial robes and their chains of office.  They were joined on the Bridge by a be-wigged Town Clerk of Chester, Andrea Thwaite of CWAC, for a commemorative photograph that replicated the opening ceremony in 1923. In attendance was Adrian Carr, the great grandson of A.W. Carr, the former Sheriff of Chester who opened the suspension bridge 100 years ago.  

The Suspension Bridge viewed from the Chester Wheel

The Queens Park Bridge was designed by city engineer and surveyor, Charles Greenwood. The iconic landmark has been a staple of Chester architecture since it was officially opened on 18th April 1923. The bridge connects The Groves with the Queens Park area of Chester and was originally built to allow residents to avoid congestion at The Old Dee Bridge.

Old Palace Chester was built in 1751, originally constructed to be the home of the Bishop of Chester, Samuel Peploe. The building was granted permission to become a wedding venue in 2017 and since then it has been the backdrop to many unforgettable weddings and events.

Jan Chillery, secretary of Chester Regatta and vice chair of Chester Business Club said, “The Queens Park Bridge centenary celebration at Old Palace Chester was a unique opportunity to bring the Chester community together. Chester Regatta is the oldest regatta in the world, established by 1733, and I expect the residents at Old Palace Chester will have watched the Regatta avidly many times over the centuries.  Chester Business Club members were delighted to join members of the 6 local rowing clubs in celebrating 100 years of this iconic Bridge.  It has been very exciting to work with Old Palace Chester to bring the business and sporting community together like this.”

Alexander Mottram, general manager of Old Palace Chester said, “Part of what makes our city so special is its rich history and here at Old Palace Chester, we are proud to be part of that. We take our role as custodians of this historical landmark seriously and we have found immense joy in carrying out restoration work on the property and rediscovering the building’s charm and heritage. It was wonderful to share this with the local community whilst celebrating another of Chester’s historical landmarks”.

Chester Business Club thanked The Old Palace Chester for hosting this special event and to Chester Regatta and all 6 rowing clubs for collaborating in making this centenary celebration very special.

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