A Virtual Stroll Around the Walls of Chester

The Vanished Pubs of Chester Gallery

ring o'bellsThe Ring O' Bells was situated at the end of Foregate Street- no 151- next door to the Grosvenor Park Hotel. An old Chester joke was "What's the shortest distance between two pints?" The answer, of course, was "The Ring o' Bells and the Grosvenor Park Hotel!"

It appeared in Cowdroy's Directory in 1789 when the licencee was Simon Hawkins. Its licencee in 1818-20 was Elizabeth Catterall, in 1828 Thomas Bithell, in 1850 Elizabeth Chadwick, in 1857 Mrs E Greenall, in 1880 Joseph M Wright, in 1902 John Walter, in 1914 John Walker, in 1934, his daughter- apty- Mrs Mary Jane Bell- who is seen standing outside the pub in the photograph below. Bob Sadler had the house in the 1970s.

It was demolished in the late 1960s to make way for the Inner Ring Road. The site is now occupied by the Grosvenor Court offices and the City Road roundabout. All of these buildings may have gone but the clock seen on the right of the top picture remains in situ at the end of Foregate Street today.

Below we see a couple of photographs of the earlier building. In common with many of Chester's pubs, it was radically rebuilt in the once-again-fashionable half-timbered style. Note the sign for stabling above the entry on the right above another sigh reading 'Ring O' Bells Entry'. This led to residential premises of, we presume, a humble nature- see Ian's letter below. At some point in the late 19th century this building was demolished and replaced with the much more ornate one shown above. Note the side wall and chimney of the neighbouring Grosvenor Park Hotel just visible on the top right of the picture.

ring o bells and beer dray

ring o bells

In October 2010 reader Ian wrote, "Stumbled across your site tonight- as I was trying to find out where the Ring O' Bells pub was located - for in 1891 my ancestors relation was lodging at- no.1 Ring O’Bells Entry, Fourgate St, Chester, Cheshire. Ann WILLIAMSON household. William NAYLOR boarder (single) 16 tailor’s porter b. Earlestown, Lancashire.
The mind boggles if that entrance to the right of the pub is the entry listed above in 1891- doesn't look like there is room for homes down there- seems a bit cramped to say the least! Saddened to think the building / area was demolished for a road way scheme but keep up the great work- you've put my mind at rest- lol".

thomas buildings

site of old pubs today
The old clock remains- in altered form and slightly moved- but all else has changed beyond recognition..
Photographed by the author in 2011

Do you have any information about this pub?

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