UDG Study Trip to Chester

Saturday 13 November 2021 - 11:00
Meet at Bishop Lloyd's Palace

£12 (students £6)
All proceeds go to Chester Civic Trust

2,000 years of urban design, conservation, heritage and new development

Hosted by the Chester Civic Trust and members of the Urban Design Group including John Tweed, John Herson, Andy Farrall (former Chester City Chief Planning Officer), Chris Russell (former MP), Steve Langtree, Ann Farrell and more.

Open to all from anyone with an interest in urban design, regeneration and development.

An outstanding opportunity to study

  • 1000 years of continuous city centre retail and trade, and where it may go in the future, including Chester’s remarkable 'Rows'
  • Best practice in historic port and waterside regeneration
  • 21st century public realm improvements in a historic environments
  • New development in or near conservation areas
  • Ultra-long term impact of urban design decisions including the survival of much of the Roman street grid which continues in use to this day, and what this tells us about the decisions we make about the location of new development and the alignment of streets, and plot boundaries


Chester is a former Roman strategic military base, a key component of a supply and logistics chain that enabled control of the North of England, and North Wales. It developed into a thriving medieval city and port, and as it moves into the 21st century there is much to observe and understand.

Unique character

  • Huge heritage of timber framed buildings both from the medieval and Victorian periods
  • Local distinctiveness: Old Red Sandstone used in old and new buildings
  • A medieval port and canal


  • Chester’s Rows: medieval shops on ground and 1st floors with a continuous covered walkway at first floor level, unique in Britain
  • A near intact city wall dating from the Roman and Medieval periods
  • Grosvenor bridge: for 30 years the longest single span stone arch bridge in the world, and still the longest in Britain
  • Roman Amphitheatre
  • Cathedral  


  • The Victorian railway line that clips the corner of the city wall
  • A four lane dual carriageway, breaking into the heart of the city from the north built in the 1960s

Modern Developments

  • Public realm transformation completed in the last 2 years
  • C&A Building, BDP: marking a move away from brutalist architecture
  • Northgate Development, a mixed use retail, leisure, cinema, housing and hotel now underway after 25 years in discussion, planning and design
  • Old Port Masterplan
  • Scout Hut: in the shape of a boat
  • HQ building            

Tours cover

  • 20th and 21st Century Chester: how the city has accommodated new development for better or for worse
  • Canal system that runs through the city, and the development that has taken place around it, including plans for the future
  • The river and the port


11:00 Meet at Bishop Lloyd’s Palace for a coffee and brief introduction to the City of Chester
11:30 Walking Tour Part 1
13:30 Light refreshments and lunch at Bishop Lloyd’s Palace
14:30 Walking Tour Part 2
16:30 Back to Bishop Lloyd’s Palace for tea, coffee and reflections
18:00 Early Supper at The Architect* if you would like to stay on (self-funded!)

*The Architect is a building designed by Thomas Harrison  (1744-1829 architect and engineer of the Grosvenor Bridge)


Ticket cost includes tea, coffee, and lunch plus a copy of Preservation and Progress, a 180 page illustrated history and analysis of developments in Chester since the 1960s

Coincides with the Chester Literature Festival 6-19 November which includes programmes of plays, readings and recitals from visiting poets, writers, broadcasters, wordsmiths and actors along with work from artist in residence, Benjamin Zephaniah. The evening of 13 November sees a staging of the play 'Cupids Revenge'  written in 1611.