Victoria County History



A T Thacker and C P Lewis (editors), J S Barrow, J D Herson, A H Lawes, P J Riden, M V J Seaborne

Year published


Supporting documents




Comment on this article
Double click anywhere on the text to add an annotation in-line

Citation Show another format:

'Preface', A History of the County of Chester: Volume 5 part 2: The City of Chester: Culture, Buildings, Institutions (2005), pp. XVII. URL: Date accessed: 18 April 2014. Add to my bookshelf


(Min 3 characters)



This book, Part 2 of The City of Chester, is the fifth to appear in the Cheshire series. Once again, we would like to record our gratitude to all the many individuals, institutions, and trusts who have supported this project, through writing, research, and funding. We offer renewed thanks in particular to John and Valerie Hess and all the members of the Appeal Committee (Dr. A. J. P. Campbell, Mr. W. Leathwood, Mrs. D. McConnell, and Mr. T. J. Strickland) for their energy and enthusiasm in raising funds at a very difficult time. We also owe an especial debt of gratitude to the County History Trust, the Marc Fitch Fund, the Scouloudi Foundation, and the Isobel Thornley Bequest Fund, whose generosity enabled us to proceed with the compilation of the combined index of the two parts of the work. Grateful thanks are due too to Dr. Derek Nuttall for generously making available unpublished research on printing in Chester and to Noelle Thomas for her work on Curzon Park. David Burroughs (Chester Diocesan Adminstrator), Jill Collens (Historic Environment, Cheshire County Council), Ian Dunn (Cheshire County Librarian), Jonathan Pepler (Cheshire County Archivist), and Simon Ward (Chester Archaeology, Chester City Council) all gave valuable help at a late stage.

Taken together, the two parts of The City of Chester mark a first for the V.C.H. in several ways. Most importantly they comprise the first history of a town or city to appear in the series in two volumes. The two parts have been designed to be complementary and yet each to take its place as a free-standing book. Part 1 covered the general history and topographical development of the city in chronologically arranged chapters subdivided according to broad themes. Part 2 is devoted to major buildings, institutions, and cultural activities, each treated in detail in discrete encyclopaedic entries, themselves usually broadly chronological in arrangement. Grouped together for the first time in five overarching chapters, they complement the general history in Part 1. Detail, which would hold up the narrative in Part 1, informs analysis of the specific building, institution, or activity in Part 2. Great care has been taken to provide cross-references between the two parts and a general introduction to the history of the city appears in both.

The two books which form The City of Chester have also pioneered a new design for the V.C.H. series as a whole, and we are most grateful to our designer, Tony Kitzinger, for his work. A new typeface, Minion, has been employed, together with a new structure of headings, to make the text more spacious, inviting, and legible. We have complemented that redesigned text with considerably more illustrations than usual, and in this book, although not in Part 1, they have been integrated into the text.

After Part 1 of this volume went to press, in 2002, Dr. Lewis resigned as county editor, leaving the Cheshire V.C.H. without staff at the time of writing. In 2003 a V.C.H. website, www., was established, publishing draft text and providing details of publications and events.

The following individuals and institutions are thanked for permission to reproduce illustrations which are their copyright: The British Library (Part 2, Figs. 72–3, 76, 81, 83, 85, 87, 90, 151, 153); Cheshire and Chester Archives and Local Studies (Part 1, frontispiece, Figs. 5, 7–9, 12, Plates 1, 7–8, 15–20, 22–5, 27, 30–9, 41–2, 44, 47–9, 51–2, 54, 58; Part 2, Figs. 26, 38, 44, 55–6, 64, 75, 123, 127, 137, 156, 181); Cheshire Museums Service (Part 1, Plates 28–9); Chester Archaeological Society (Part 1, Plates 9–14, 21; Part 2, Fig. 15); Chester Archaeology (Part 1, Plates 4–5); Chester City Council (Part 2, Fig. 171); Chester History and Heritage (Part 1, Figs. 26, 40, 43, 45–6, 50, 53, 55–7, 59–61; Part 2, Figs. 8, 52, 59, 66, 109); Chester Photographic Survey and individual photographers credited in the list of illustrations (Part 2, Figs. 2, 6, 10, 12, 18, 20, 23, 29, 33, 35–6, 43, 47, 57–8, 61, 65, 98, 101–3, 149, 158, 161, 163, 168, 170, 173, 178, 180, 184); Courtauld Institute of Art (Part 1, Plate 6); Richard Gem (Part 2, Fig. 105); Grosvenor Museum (Part 1, Plate 3); Roland Harris (Part 2, Fig. 139); A. F. Kersting (Part 2, Figs. 86, 92, 97, 116, 129, 131, 134, 145, 148, 160, 177); Lovelock, Mitchell, and Partners (Part 2, Fig. 179); T. J. Strickland (Part 1, Fig. 2); University College Chester (Part 2, Fig. 176); Simon Ward (Part 1, Fig. 6).