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A Virtual Stroll Around the Walls of Chester

A collection of reader's letters
Page One- our most recent letters are on page six

7/3/97 "It may well be have been an apocryphal story, but I remember as a boy reading a local newspaper report that a generous gentlemen- a pillar of the community- had donated a new loudspeaker to his church 'in fond memory of his wife'. In the words of the old song, 'it ain't what you say, it's the way that you say it'.
I was reminded of this refrain when I saw a report last week about yet another initiative to put Chester on the Information superhighway of the internet. Without leaving the comfort of their home in Tottenham, Toronto or Timbuktu, this one enables intrepid surfers of the net to be taken on a guided tour package entitled 'Chester- a visual walk round the walls'

Actually, it's called 'Chester: A Virtual Stroll Around the Walls'.

-and has been put together by photographer Steven Howe of Hoole.
Not only does it take the viewer to the Northgate, Amphitheatre and Cathedral, it also embraces 15 other stopping points of attraction.
In his wisdom, Mr. Howe, in an attempt to warn visitors of the places in the city to be wary of, says: "The tour shows the subway area of the city and the problem of the large number of vagrants and winos in the city. It is a place that visitors should avoid because you get hassled for money."

Mr Howe said absolutely nothing of the sort, but we're not talking balanced, competent or sober journalism here. As far as I can tell, there is nothing in law to stop Mr. Howe from putting this or any other opinions about the city of Chester on his internet pages.
On the other hand, I think there is every reason why he should not be allowed to get away with it.
I am all in favour of people being honest, but the points at issue here are the damage Mr. Howe's activity could cause to commercial interests in the city and the way it cuts across the endeavours of those in the public and private sectors charged with implementing the official promotion of Chester and its image. I do not make light of the type of problems Mr. Howe highlights, but there is a distinction with a difference between acknowledging (and resolving) these problems and the perhaps even more important task of a 'partnership' approach to keeping Chester at the very top of the visitor, shopper and tourist league.
In the meantime, I sincerely hope that the somewhat longwinded Howe web site adress: //homepages.enterprises.net.knowhowe/chesterwalls.index.html-

Oh dear, completely wrong again. He obviously didn't visit the site for himself before penning his ignorant little review.

-will prove sufficiently off-putting for potential visitors to Chester to access."
Bob Clough-Parker: Chester Chronicle, March 7th 1997

I know Im only 13 years old but I think this site is GREAT/WONDERFUL/FANTASTIC/HYPER/DECENT/BRILLIANT (delete or add as neccacery).Why dont you put adverts in the papers telling other computer nuts like myself about this web site ,I mean I wrote this in chester library and I found out about the site from a notice on the hey brought the buggwall .Anyway I better go as my time limit is running out.
Jonty Wareing

What a delight! I saw the article in last week's paper, and have found your web site fascinating. Thank you!
Paul Brett

My compliments on a most attractive and informative web site. It will make my lunchtime walks round the walls even more pleasant. Thanks.
Rod Warrington, Upton by Chester

Hi there! We looked at your 'Virtual Walk around the Walls'! It's great!! You should be getting paid a lot of money for doing that!!! ( Fat chance) I hope you are letting the tourist boards of other towns know, they may be interested in your services. Hey, even towns in this country would jump at the chance of having you design their web page!!!
Kama and Erik Storie, Groton, Ct. USA

Excellent, makes very interesting reading.
Stuart Foster, the University of Liverpool

Congratulations on a great site! I have been visiting Chester for years but suddenly find a wealth of information about my favourite place right here on the Internet. Next time I'm in town I will definitely call into your gallery. Best wishes,
Keith Jones, Rhuddlan

Just a note to say what a load of b******* we thought the Bob Clough-Parker article was. You tour is excellent, and any publicity is good publicity, so hopefully more people will get to hear about your site. We worked on the development of the forth coming Chester Information Network (www.chester.org) with Chester City Council et al: a link to your site in the CIN might not go amiss. Keep up the good work. Best Wishes,
Sean Williams, Williams IT Management, 9 Abbey Square Chester CH1 2HU

Excellent site... it seems that the ten years since I left Chester to come & live in Edinburgh have not been kind to parts of the city. There seems to be a murky bunch of shady crooks, freemasons and speculators eager to rip the heart out of the city (once again). Do your best to put a stop to the guided busway thing. It's a load of crap. But you knew that already.
Robert Turner, Edinburgh

Congratulations Steve on a really excellent site. Cheshire CC will take years to get to your standard...
David Croxson

Great site. I'm currently studying in Bath- another beautiful city- but am from North Wales and spend a lot of time in Chester. Maybe I'm biased but didn't find the Bath sites half as interesting. The criticicm's good- councils always need a good kick up their bum, but maybe something in the introduction to say how beautiful the city is. It's pretty obvious what you think of the city, if you take the tour, but if you're only reading the intro it seems a bit negative. It's gorgeous, so tell them! Cheers,
Chris Hall.

Dear Mr Howe, Appended is RomanSites-L's report of your site, which will be going out sometime this week.
( bulk of description ommited... )
.."Almost incomparably better than the official site (the Chester city council homepage/CIN) and passionately concerned with archaeological preservation. This is one of the deepest gazeteer-type sites I know on the web, with both lots of pictures and lots of good detailed text"
...As your server stats may show, I spent well over an hour at your site; hunched over my Macintosh with my back to my family if it sounds familiar! ...As you know, there are lots of websites out there whose owners consider them to be finished, that are nowhere near as good as yours... Best,
Bill Thayer, List owner, RomanSites-L

What a wonderful tour of the City of Chester! I left Chester over 45 years ago to come to Canada and have returned several times for a visit. However, never have I seen such a well organized "tour" such as yours. The next visit we will make certain that we join the official tour. Keep up the good work.
Raymond Carr

28/6/97 Just been looking at your virtual tour pages. Enjoyed them very much. Thank you.
John Gath, Sheffield

Hello. I enjoyed meeting you in your shop on Monday. I learned more from your "virtual walk around the walls" than I have from all other sources in the 10 years I have lived in Chester and I must say that I agree with your outspoken sentiments. Keep it up.
Barrie Lawson

6/7/97 Hello Cestrians. I was born, (long time ago!), in Aston near Hawarden. I suppose when I was younger I knew Chester better than any other city. However I left Aston when I was 18 and apart from visits to see my parents seldom returned. I now live in Lytham on the Fyldecoast.
Thank you very much for the Web pages. I must return to see Chester sometime, I only hope I recognise most of it !! I have only one comment on your pages. I was taken to Sealand Road at a young age and have remained a Chester / Chester City FC supporter ever since. Please keep the football part of your pages up-to-date. I hate having to depend on Radio Merseyside for football news. Thank you very very much.
Ron Lowe

Sorry Ron, but our 'Virtual Stroll' is, and always has been, a footie-free zone. You could check out the Chester Evening Leader's excellent site which carries all the latest local news and sport updated daily.
And for all you long-suffering followers of Chester City FC, here's some good places to go: Singing the Blues, the Unofficial Guide and, launched on July 10th 1999, the Official Chester City Football Club site

28/7/97 I found your website after seeing your post on one of the wedding newsgroups. It is a lovely site, a real pleasure to look at. I love the photography, and your text is warm and seems to be reflective of some two very nice people! If I'm ever in Chester, I'll look you up.
We wanted to honeymoon in Europe, but we're getting married in December, and it's going to be a mite cold in your neck of the woods at that time. I was ready to sign up for a Chester wedding in a hearbeat after visiting your page. I'm sure others would feel the same way!
Thanks for pointing me to your site!
Karen Zaruba- Michigan, USA

7/8/97 Dear Sirs, Just a short note to congratulate you on your Virtual Tour of Chester City Walls. I have been pleased to create a link to the site at my page: http://www.personal.u-net.com/~old-mill/om_slp_5.htm
Kind regards,
Neil Evans [Proprietor], Old Mill Private Hotel, Melin-y-Wern, Nannerch, Mold, Flintshire

25/8/97 Hi. my name is Keith Goode I was born in Chester but now live in NY USA. Yours is a great site I visit often.
Keep up the good work.

4/9/97 I have lived here in Florida for the last 20 years, I lived in Ellesmere Port for 5 years as a kid and have fond memories of Chester . As for you 'letting the side down' by bringing attention to eyesores - keep it up !! If we ignore them they don't go away . Thanks for the 'Mersey World' link, I haven't been to it yet, I found your page via Real Audios town of Mold page of all things.
Phil O'Brien

20/9/97 Hi Steve, Your stroll is still one of my favourite sites. I'm mailing you to find out how I can buy photos from you. I am interested in the photo, 'The Kaleyards at Night' from the Black and White Picture show. I would like to know the sizes available also if it is available mounted and/or matted and the cost as well as method of payment, as I live in the US.
Thank you,
Robert Goode

2/10/97 Greetings from Blenheim in the South Island of New Zealand. As a scouse in exile I enjoyed browsing your picture gallery of Liverpool Pictures. Many thanks and well done !
Gerry Houghton

8/10/97 I am tracing my family tree and have recently learned that my family left Cheshire in around 1651 to come to the United States.
In looking for information I stumbled across this wonderful account. I feel almost like I had already visited, and I can hardly wait to come for real. Thank you for your wonderful blend of history, current facts, and such a variety of artwork. You are to be truly commended.
Bea Tritch

10/10/97 Your site is excellent. I haven't seen it all yet but but I intend coming back soon.
Ignore the pratt from the Chronicle. (see top of page) Talk about pompous old fools!. He probably thinks the internet is all a subversive plot designed to take away the jobs of hardworking, conscientious, broad-minded journalists...
The site is great and must have taken you ages. Keep up the good work!
Paul Davies. Sychdyn, Mold

23/10/97 Steve, I linked to your site from the Mold Web Page at http://www.mold.demon.co.uk
I pop in there every few months to see if there's anything new, but it's not a particularly inspiring site. My wife Chris has a mention in it, however since she teaches at Mold Alun School and they have some space on the page.
How can you say that you are "new to all this stuff" when you've produced such an excellent site? You must spend hours at it. My company has a web site for commercial purposes so I've seen what goes into making them work properly.
I've finished reading your planning stuff. It's all very depressing isn't it? Chris was involved in local politics a few years ago but she became thoroughly disillusioned, always swimming against the tide and getting personal abuse in council meetings etc. etc. There are a few decent types around, but they are in the minority. I suppose the very least the rest of us can do is take an interest, and you're more than doing your bit, keeping everyone informed!
Paul Davies

1/12/97 Hi, I Like your "virtual tour" website. I was brought up in Chester and am distressed by the distinct lack of sensitivity of many of the new developments in and around the City. Looks more like Milton Keynes everytime I visit...:-(
Mark Terrett.

4/12/97 Dear Steve, I have discovered your web site on the City of Chester, and I must comment that what I have read so far is, to say the least, OUTSTANDING.
If you have any information on Roger de Lacy, Constable of Chester during the period ca. 1193-1208, please let me know.
Thanks and congratulations on your fine work.
John Peltier (jpeltier@mindspring.com)

Readers who can help on this one might like to contact John directly...

3/1/98 I left liverpool in 1970 and never returned for 20 years, it was not the liverpool i remembered, and tonite i found your site on the net i must congratulate you on the most wonderful photographs and the memories they brought back. thank you very much.

5/1/98 Just wanted to thank you for the information about the town of Chester. I have been, for about the last year or so, doing genealogical research on the Jackson/Joynson families of the Cheshire county area. It has been marvelous to study and research. I have been looking for a way to find out more about the county and the internet has been a great value. Hoping you the best of the New Year. Oh, by the way, if you know of anybody who could help me with the joynson family research, please send them my address. Thank you. It has been a pleasure. Sincerely,
Terry G. Bahr, Beaverton, Oregon USA email: blueparrot @ vr-net.com

Once again,anyone with info should email Terry...

7/1/98 Having lived in Liverpool for a few years in the early eighty's, I still miss it very much. Just browsing the web tonight under Liverpool and found your site. I just had to tell you how lovely and professional your web page is. Not only did it make me miss Liverpool even more, but I would like to know if you sell your photographs that are show on your web page? If I email you the one's I'm interested in will you let me know the price plus shipping to the US (Denver, CO). I hope to hear from you - and again, this was truly a high point on web crusing - just lovely!!!! Thanks,
Juliet Edwards

12/1/98 Just found your virtual tour of Chester's Walls. As a Welshman (just!) born and raised around Hawarden, Chester was our main shopping city. We are now in Toronto, Canada after leaving Wales 25 years ago. When we visit "home", Chester is still our first and last point of call on every trip. Thanks for the site, obviously a lot of work, and the history - I've certainly learnt a lot - and next time we are over, we will walk the walls with your document in hand. The walk will have a new meaning!
Norman Roberts

15/1/98 Steve - just had a browse round your site. It looks great and is very funny in places. A pleasure to read unlike the po-faced bureaucrats on the official website.
I saw your picture of the ex-grass on the corner of Lime Grove and Beech Grove, churned up by cars presumably parking and getting around each other. This is symbolic of the whole problem now - there are so many cars they are being squeezed onto the tiny amount of space left for non-car users. There used to be a real psychological barrier against mounting the pavement but that is gone now. There is an attitude by car users that other car users should never be inconvenienced by a stationery car but sod the pedestrians and cyclists who have to squeeze past. I think it is also important to emphasise that many cyclists are also car owners but try and use their cars as little as possible because they want to benefit themselves and the community and not add to the problems. Keep up the good work!!

Richard Whittington

9/2/98 Great to see Chester, I was born & educated in Holywell, & know Chester extremely well. I had an Aunt who lived at Church Farm Guilden Sutton, & is buried in the churchyard. My Grandfather was from Brookhouse Farm, near Guilden Sutton.
Many thanks, your work is terrific. Regards

Christine Davidson ( nee Jennings) Australia

12/2/98 I was delighted to find this website. My mother, G. Dorothy Rigby, was born in Hawarden Wales but lived all her life in Chester until marrying my father, Theodore Rix, in 1944. In 1946 she came to the U.S. Had planned a trip to Chester and the area with my mother, but sadly she became terminally ill before we were able to make the trip.
I have had a wonderful time on the Virtual Tour of Chester. I will definitely let my older brother know about it - he was born in Chester. Thank you for a great time!
Janice Rix Slaubaugh, Cape Girardeau, Missouri USA

16/2/98 Hello, As the manager of the European History Webring I have the opportunity to look at each site in the ring when it joins, changes it's information, etc. Recently, I decided to take a look at your site, because I was interested. Because of the excellence demonstrated in design, upkeep, and content, I hereby award the Chester: A Virtual Stroll Around The Walls site the newest award out there. This award is the "European History Webring Great Site Award." Congratulations on being the very first winner of this award.
Good job,
Tim Chandler

19/2/98 Hiya again Philippa and Steve, Just visited your Liverpool Gallery again after several months since my last visit. Well Done!! It's "de gear" but yer've made me even more homesick yer bugger!! Have you ever thought of producing a book Steve ?? Your efforts are very much appreciated by us Scouse exiles.
My very best wishes from a drought stricken Blenheim, in the Marlborough province at the top of the south island New Zealand.
Tara now, Good night (Well it is in NZ) God Bless
Gerry Houghton

20/2/98 You've got some pretty incredible stuff there, from what I've seen. I visited the Wirral and Northern Wales last summer and thoroughly enjoyed it. Your sites let me remember some lovely memories, and told me things I hadn't known before. Thanks a lot.
Anne Metz Wenham, MA, U.S.A.

2/3/98 What a great job you've done with this site. Keep up the good work !
Renee Leizerman

17/5/98 Dear Steve, Excellent site, I would say it's my favourite. I found it by chance on Encarta web links- it is an encyclopaedia on CD-Rom Microsoft Encarta 98. There are many links to the www which can be updated monthly. Yours I found in the web link directory under Geography.
Although I only live 10 miles from Chester you have given me a whole load of interesting info I didn't know. Oh yes I live just outside Mold, but I'll continue to 'Stroll around Chester'. Thank you,
Kim Humphreys

2/6/98 Excellent site. Very informative. I have been to Chester quite a few times and enjoy my walks around the walls. I stay with my Aunt on Duke Street, so the walls are not faraway. I am downloading your site information so I can read up on Chester before my flight over in September of this year.
Thanks again for all your hard work, it has been really interesting.
Linda Boudry, Ontario Canada

21/6/98 I saw your internet site, and was curious because you see on my family name that I've the same name as the ancient name of Chester, Perhaps there is some more information. Our family does live for the majority in Holland,
Good Luck and greetings
Hein Neomagus- Enschede Holland

14/7/98 In the summer of l96l I arrived in Liverpool on a Danish freighter from San Francisco. The ship would be in port several days so I took off for North Wales to visit the birthplace of my great grandfather. Rode a double-decker bus to Chester and spent the night at the Blossoms Inn. Found the walk on the wall immediately and simply gaped as I strolled. Roman ruins...Elizabethan buildings (God's Providence House, was it?) charming building styles I had never seen, gardens the size of postage stamps. I had never heard of Chester before!
Today, looking for something else I stumbled onto your beautiful, informative site. What joy you brought me in a memory 37 years old!
Yours is the best web sight I have ever seen.
Great good luck to you! Sincerely,
Ms. Lee Ellsworth

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