The Romans founded Chester as Deva Victrix in AD 79. It was named Deva after the goddess of the river Dee. The fortress was the largest in Britannia and it was suggested that Deva may have been the capital at some time. The amphitheatre was built in the 1st Century and held 8,000 people.
The fortress was abandoned in 410 but civilians stayed and used the fortress. The famous walls and gates still remain.
More recently, a Cheshire plant is among those restarting carbon dioxide production following recent cost rises and temporary cost support from the government.
We drove north west to Chester for my aunt’s eightieth birthday party. Ursula had organised a trip down the River Dee on the ferry ‘Mark Twain’ from Chester to the Duke of Westminster’s estate.
The food was delicious, the jazz band fabulous, the dance floor full and the guests were delightful. Laughter, smiles and joy filled the air.
I feel a strong connection to Chester. All my female relatives went to Dee House school, between 1929 and 1976, which was run by Ursuline Nuns. Today, it stands by the Newgate next to the amphitheatre and above the River Dee. My youngest sister was in the final year when, like other direct grant schools, it finally closed.
As we walked down to the river, I realised how much I knew about the famous Roman fortress, the Crossroads, the archaeological sites, the museums and the small niches in the Roman walls.
The medieval city with its exquisite cathedral and grounds remains much in evidence, along with the Rows which I ran along to catch the bus and four ancient lanes for all still to see.
As we were walking to our hotel, we lost our way and I asked a passer-by in a bright red jacket if she could direct us. She very kindly offered to walk with us to the hotel through the cathedral grounds and, as we northerners do, we chatted.
I asked if she had always lived in Chester. She answered, “No. I am from the Wirral in Ellesmere Port.” It turned out that we had lived just a corner away from each other and had even attended the same primary school. Small world.