Chester's Black-And-White Architecture Tour (Self Guided), Chester

If you visit Chester the first thing you might notice is the magnificent black-and-white architecture. The Rows are unique in Great Britain, while the black-and-white revival and timber framing styles are prominent for Chester. These charming buildings will definitely catch your eyes and make your visit even more memorable.
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Chester's Black-And-White Architecture Tour Map

Guide Name: Chester's Black-And-White Architecture Tour
Guide Location: England » Chester (See other walking tours in Chester)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 11
Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.0 Km or 0.6 Miles
Author: rose
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • 2–18 St Werburgh Street
  • 27–31 Northgate Street
  • 11–13 Northgate Street
  • 5–9 Northgate Street
  • 1 Bridge Street
  • St Ursula's
  • Bishop Lloyd's House
  • Cowper House
  • Chester Rows. St Michael's Buildings
  • The Falcon
  • Bear and Billet
2–18 St Werburgh Street

1) 2–18 St Werburgh Street

2–18 St Werburgh Street is a terrace consisting of a bank, shops and offices on the east side of St Werburgh Street and the north side of Eastgate Street in Chester. In the 1890s Chester City Council decided to widen St Werburgh Street, which leads from Eastgate Street to Chester Cathedral, and arranged for the demolition of a row of old shops on its east side. The council intended to sell the vacant land in separate lots, but the Chester architect John Douglas bought the entire length of the east side of the street and planned to create a series of buildings in a unified architectural design. Douglas' first plan was to construct the buildings in stone with brick diapering in Gothic style.

However he was persuaded by the Duke of Westminster to include black-and-white half-timbering in his design. The building at the south end, on the corner of Eastgate Street was the first to be occupied. It was acquired by the Bank of Liverpool and the other units were used as shops. Twelve years after Douglas' death, a commemorative plaque was placed on the St Werburgh Street side of the bank by some of his former pupils and assistants.
Sight description based on wikipedia
27–31 Northgate Street

2) 27–31 Northgate Street

This complex structure on Northern street is a Grade II listed building. It dates back to the early 19th century. The building was partially designed by John Douglas in 1902. The structure as a whole contains three floors with a small attic and cellars. One of the most attractive and interesting features of the building is the fact that columns of the building which support the arcades are decorated with figures either playing musical instruments or having scrolls.
11–13 Northgate Street

3) 11–13 Northgate Street

This structure forms a section of shops and offices connected to Northgate street. It's listed as Grade II by the English Heritage. The complex was designed by the local architect John Douglas and is largely famous for its magnificent two seven-light bowed windows. The contrast between black and white colors is well defined at 11-13 Northgate street.
5–9 Northgate Street

4) 5–9 Northgate Street

5-9 Northgate street continues the terrace of shops and offices on the popular Chester street. It's a Grade II listed building was built in 1900. Similar to the other architecture in the area, John Douglas designed the building. There is a shop on the ground floor behind an arcade.
1 Bridge Street

5) 1 Bridge Street

1 Bridge Street is located at the junction of Bridge Street and Eastgate Street at Chester Cross in the centre of the city of Chester. Its architecture is that of the black-and-white revival, it incorporates part of the Chester Rows. The building was designed by Thomas Lockwood, and built in 1888 for the 1st Duke of Westminster, although by 1889 it was owned by Chester City Council.

The building is now occupied by shops. The citation in the National Heritage List describes the building as "the best liked of T. M. Lockwood's buildings in Chester, well executed in his most flamboyant style". The building is in four storeys, including an undercroft, whose floor is below street level, and an attic. It extends for one bay down Bridge Street and for one bay along Eastgate Street. At its corner is a flight of seven steps leading from the street to the row level above which is an octagonal turret. Above the steps is a canted, mullioned and transomed, oriel window. Over this are three pargetted panels under a four-light canted casement window. The roof is curved and surmounted by a weather vane.
Sight description based on wikipedia
St Ursula's

6) St Ursula's

St Ursula's is a building at 37 Watergate Street in Chester. It incorporates a section of Chester Rows and has been designated by English Heritage as a Grade I listed building. The building originated somewhere between about 1180 and about 1280. Alterations were made in the 16th or 17th century and it was largely rebuilt above the Row level in the late 19th century and altered again in the 20th century. The building is in four storeys. It is built in sandstone at the street and Row levels and above this is timber-framed. The undercroft has 5½ bays and it is considered that the walls date from the late 12th century, and are therefore the earliest features yet to have been dated in the structure of the Rows.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Bishop Lloyd's House

7) Bishop Lloyd's House

Bishop Lloyd's House is at 41 Watergate Street, and 51/53 Watergate Row in Chester. The house is built on two stone medieval undercrofts with timber framing above. Its first floor incorporates a section of the Chester Rows. The house is now used as shops and meeting rooms and it includes the headquarters of Chester Civic Trust. It was rebuilt during the 17th century when the two buildings were converted into one.

The rebuilt house broke with the medieval fashion of having the main residential accommodation in a great hall at the row level; instead the principal living accommodation was in two "elegant chambers" in the floor above the row. The house has been associated with George Lloyd, who was Bishop of Chester from 1605 to 1615. By the 19th century it had become run down, the carvings on its frontage had been covered with plaster, the house had been split into tenements, and it was becoming derelict. In the 1890s the house was heavily restored by Thomas Lockwood. He re-fronted the east house to more closely match the west house and added a flight of steps from the street to the level of the row on the east side. He also re-positioned the posts holding the structure above the row and replaced the 18th-century sash windows with mullioned windows.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Cowper House

8) Cowper House

Cowper House is a former town house at 12 Bridge Street in Chester. It was built in 1664, following the destruction of many buildings in Chester during the Civil War. It was built above undercrofts dating from 1350–75, or possibly earlier. Alterations have been made to the building in the 19th and 20th centuries. Thomas Cowper had been mayor of Chester in 1641–42 and a Royalist supporter in the Civil War. The rear undercroft was excavated in 1839, and it is thought that the front undercroft is older than that in the rear. The house is constructed in sandstone, brick, and timber framing with plaster panels. The roof is of grey slate. It has four storeys and a gable overlooking the street. The street level consists of a modern shop front on the right of which is a flight of 11 stone steps leading to the Row level above.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Chester Rows. St Michael's Buildings

9) Chester Rows. St Michael's Buildings (must see)

Chester Rows are a set of structures in each of the four main streets of Chester, in the United Kingdom, consisting of a series of covered walkways on the first floor behind which are entrances to shops and other premises. At street level is another set of shops and other premises, many of which are entered by going down a few steps.

Dating from the medieval era, the Rows may have been built on top of rubble remaining from the ruins of Roman buildings, but their origin is still subject to speculation. In some places the continuity of the Rows has been blocked by enclosure or by new buildings, but in others modern buildings have retained the Rows in their designs. Undercrofts or "crypts" were constructed beneath the buildings in the Rows. The undercrofts were in stone while most of the buildings in the Rows were in timber.

Today about 20 of the stone undercrofts still exist, but at the level of the Rows very little medieval fabric remains. Many of the buildings containing portions of the Rows are listed and some are recorded in the English Heritage Archive. The premises on the street and Row levels are used for a variety of purposes; most are shops, but there are also offices, restaurants, cafés, and meeting rooms. Chester Rows are one of the city's main tourist attractions.

St Michael's Buildings are on the east side of Bridge Street, Chester. They contain a section of Chester Rows, with shops at street level and along the Rows, and an arcade of shops stretching behind these to link with the Grosvenor Shopping Centre. The whole structure is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade II listed building.

The buildings were first completed in 1910 for the 2nd Duke of Westminster. They were designed by W. T. Lockwood. In the initial design, the Bridge Street façade was faced with cream and gold ceramic tiles (faience), with Baroque decoration. The entrance from Bridge Street was modified in 2000 when the steps were replaced.

There are two shops at street level, two more at row level, and a further 20 in the arcade, most of which have modern fronts. The interior of the arcade is faced with faience.
Sight description based on wikipedia
The Falcon

10) The Falcon

The Falcon is a public house in Chester. The building formerly incorporated part of Chester Rows, but it was the first building to have its portion of the row enclosed in the 17th century. The building originated as a house in about 1200 and was later extended to the south along Lower Bridge Street, with a great hall running parallel to the street. During the 13th century it was rebuilt to incorporate its portion of the row. The house was bought in 1602 by Sir Richard Grosvenor who extensively altered it some 40 years later to make it his town house. During the Civil War he moved his family here from his country home, Eaton Hall.

In the late 18th century the building ceased to be the town house of the Grosvenor family. It continued to be owned by them, and between 1778 and 1878 it was licensed as The Falcon Inn. In about 1879 alterations were made by John Douglas. At this time it was known as The Falcon Cocoa House and it was re-opened as a temperance house. By the 1970s the building had become virtually derelict. In 1979 the Falcon Trust was established, and the building was donated to the trust by the Grosvenor Estate. Between 1979 and 1982 the building was restored and in 1983 it won a Europa Nostra award.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Bear and Billet

11) Bear and Billet

The Bear and Billet is a public house located at 94 Lower Bridge Street in Chester. It was built in 1664 as the town house of the Earls of Shrewsbury who held control of the nearby Bridgegate. It was also probably used as a grain warehouse because in the gable are double doors and a bracket for a hoist. The building became an inn in the 18th century, although it continued to be owned by the Shrewsbury family until 1867. Its name is taken from the heraldic device of the Earls that consist of a bear tied to a billet.

The building is constructed in timber framing with plaster panels. It consists of cellars, above which are three storeys and an attic in the gable overlooking the street. The roof has purple slates and a ridge at right-angles to the street. On the ground floor are two doors, one to the south and the other placed more centrally. To the right of each door is a three-light window. At the base of the first floor are 16 rectangular timber framed plaster panels. Above these is a window stretching along the whole length of the frontage.
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in Chester, England

Create Your Own Walk in Chester

Create Your Own Walk in Chester

Creating your own self-guided walk in Chester is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Chester's City Walls

Chester's City Walls

Chester is the only city in Great Britain that maintained the full circuit of its ancient defensive walls. The main access through the walls is provided by four major gates. There are also towers along the walls such as Water Tower and Bonewaldesthorne's Tower. Today, tourists may travel down the ancient walls and learn about the rich history of this magnificent city.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.0 Km or 1.9 Miles
Chester Introduction Walking Tour

Chester Introduction Walking Tour

Chester is a city with many worthwhile landmarks. Eastgate Clock, Chester Castle and Chester Roman Amphitheater are just a few of the wonderful sights in this fine city. So, if you're looking for a fantastic way to spend an afternoon, travel along a route that takes you to the most remarkable spots in the city.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.6 Km or 1.6 Miles