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Ancient walls of Chester come to life as part of “world first” arts project with Smooth Radio As The Official Radio Partner
Smooth Radio has joined forces with the city of Chester to give historic walls their own voices thanks to an exciting “world first” arts project.
Our very own Darren Parks and Jo Lloyd have lent their voices to the ‘Talking Walls of Chester’ project, which brings the city’s buildings to life when smartphone users scan a code to receive a phone call from a wall.
Twenty-six walls across the city are now in full voice and sharing stories from their past as part of the pioneering heritage project commissioned by CH1ChesterBID – Chester’s Business Improvement District (BID). The list features a medieval tower on Chester’s city walls, Chester Cathedral, Chester Zoo, shops and cafes across the city centre and Storyhouse – Chester’s brand new £37m cultural centre.
Stories that can be heard include a wine bar built in the very place that was once the gateway to Deva Victrix, Chester’s former Roman fortress; a family-run Italian restaurant with an ancient recipe on its walls from one of the oldest cookery books in Britain; an independent coffee shop which housed one of the few families to survive the 1647 outbreak of bubonic plague in Chester and a furniture store with an 18th century love note etched into its windows.
“It’s often said that walls have ears but through Talking Walls of Chester we’ve given them mouths as well,” said Gyles Brandreth, who voices Booth Mansion on Watergate Street – one of several independent stores in the city. “The stories that they tell are colourful ones and I really hope that people enjoy hearing them.”
Other walls on the citywide route have been voiced by local personalities, including shop managers, bar tenders, the local town crier and a Roman soldier tour guide.
Using a specially designed citywide map – available online or at a range of city centre locations – passers-by simply scan a code or type in a link from any of the heritage-style plaques on walls throughout the city centre to hear a different story.
Carl Critchlow, BID Manager at CH1ChesterBID, which commissioned the project, said: “We know that Chester’s history and heritage is one of the key reasons people come to visit the city so we wanted to create a modern way for visitors – as well as local residents – to experience it.
“There are so many fascinating stories we’ve unearthed throughout the city centre and Talking Walls of Chester brings all of them to life through a combination of history, humour and online technology. It’s a free activity people can enjoy when they’re in Chester city centre and we hope it encourages people of all ages to come and explore the amazing shops, museums and landmarks we have in our beautiful city.”
The walls in Chester can be heard from Thursday 22nd June for a period of one year as part of the Talking Walls of Chester project. Free trail maps are available from the Visitor Information Centre at Chester Town Hall or can be downloaded from the Talking Walls of Chester website. There is no charge for calling a wall but standard network connection charges do apply.
For more information, visit the official Talking Walls of Chester website.