Busy Shoppers In Eastgate, Chester, Cheshire UK, Avoiding Showers
Eastgate, shown here and Eastgate Clock in Chester, Cheshire, England, stand on the site of the original entrance to the Roman fortress of Deva Victrix. The clock is a prominent landmark in the city of Chester and is said to be the most photographed clock in England after Big Ben.
The original gate was guarded by a timber tower which was replaced by a stone tower in the 2nd century, and this in turn was replaced probably in the 14th century. The present gateway dates from 1768 and is a three-arched sandstone structure which carries the walkway forming part of Chester city walls. In 1899 a clock was added to the top of the gateway to celebrate the diamond jubilee of Queen Victoria two years earlier. It is carried on openwork iron pylons, has a clock face on all four sides, and a copper ogee cupola. The clock was designed by the Chester architect John Douglas. The whole structure, gateway and clock, was listed by English Heritage on 28 July 1955 as a Grade I listed building. You know you have been on a visit to Chester when you have an image of this clock in your memory card. To avoid this failure of imagination, this photograph was taken from under the clock mechanism.
Eastgate was originally defended by a timber tower. The road running through the gate led to Manchester, then across the Pennines to York. By the 18th century the city walls were no longer needed for defensive purposes and so, rather than being pulled down, they were converted into walkways. The medieval gateways were obstructing the traffic into the city and were replaced by wider arched gateways with balustraded parapets. The first gateway to be replaced was Eastgate in 1768 which was rebuilt as an "elegant arch". It was built at the expense of Richard Grosvenor, 1st Earl Grosvenor, and designed by Mr Hayden (or Heyden), the earl's surveyor of buildings.
Eastgate today is a clutch of upmarket shops, Browns Jewellers, banks and the Chester Grosvenor Five Star Hotel. Afternoons are a swirl of rushing shoppers, some stationary Italian, Japanese and American tourists and generally the street artist or odd busker knocking out 'Wonderwall'. To the right the wooden 'rows' uniquely of Chester can be seen, including the 'Ye Olde Boot Inn'. A fine watering hole with Sam Smiths ales, the oldest in Chester, circa 1643.
This image was awarded first prize in the April 2010 WDCC club competition 'Urban Images'.
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