A Virtual Stroll Around the Walls of Chester

The Roman Amphitheatre & Dee House

From the newsletter of the Chester Archaeological Society: Spring 1993

dee house classroom 1956he long period of uncertainty regarding the future of Dee House and, by implication, that of the buried portion of the Roman amphitheatre which it partially overlies now seems close to resolution with the final demise of the Deva Roman Centre scheme and the submission of a new planning application for the site by the owners, British Telecom.

It is understood that the latter have held lengthy discussions with both English Heritage and with officers of the City Council's Planning Department and the Archaeology Service in order to formulate a scheme which has minimal effects upon both Dee House and the archaeological remains beneath and around it.

Right: Miss Clarkin's Reception Class at the Ursuline Convent, 1956

The purpose of the new proposal is to create suites of office accomodation; the earlier idea of exposing the southern half of the amphitheatre and the erection of an associated visitor centre having been dropped completely.

ln the new scheme, Dee House is retained totally intact with no modifications to the external elevations and all surving internal features of architectural / historical merit, including the main staircase, being retained. The outlying buildings bordering Souters Lane are to be demolished and their site landscaped. The modern extension appended to the rear of Dee House in the 1930's will also be demolished to be replaced by a new structure occupying exactly the same site which, as far as possible, will re-use the foundations of its predecessor therefor minimising disturbance of archaeological deposits.
Prior to any demolition or building work connected with this part of the complex, a scheme of trial-excavation is to be carried out in order to provide a better picture of the location and nature of any archaeological deposits surviving in this area so that their protection can be ensured.

In conjunction with the scheme for Dee House and its grounds a series of measures is suggested for the exposed portion of the amphitheatre intended to improve its presentation to the public. These include removing the upper portion of the massive modern wall running across the centre of the arena, thus not only alleviating the oppressive atmosphere in this part of the monument but also opening up the view of Dee House from the north, raising the level of the seating bank area by one metre with imported topsoil, and placing hedging around the perimeter to screen out some of the traffic noise.

The Society has been very concerned about the future of this part of the city ever since British Telecom let it be known that it was considering disposing of Dee House, not least because of the instrumental role which the Society played in the discovery of the amphitheatre and the securing of its preservation by means of the purchase of part of the site and its subsequent donation to the state.

To give members a more detailed impression of what is proposed in British Telecom's scheme, and the implications of English Heritage's proposals for handing over the management of certain of its monuments to local bodies, Mr Mike Morris- Head of the City Council's Archaeology Service- spoke to the Society about these matters following the business section of the Annual General Meeting on the evening of Wednesday 7th April.

Top of Page | Site Front Door | Site Index | Chester Walls Stroll Introduction | St. John's Church
The Amphitheatre part I
| II | III | IV | V | VI | VII | VIII | IX | | X | XI |
Gallery | 2 | Letters 1 | 01 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7
Some alternative views | St. John's House | 'Round in Circles' by Flavius | Save the Chester Amphitheatre! (1932)

Help keep the Chester Virtual Stroll growing and up-to-date! - please donate!

Strictly © Steve Howe / B&W Picture Place 1990-2014