When the manager of a shop located in Chester’s historic Rows was asked whether the setting affected her business, she described how the period interior was a strong selling point.
Visitors entered the shop to look at the historic features and were converted to potential customers; others came in for the merchandise and spent time looking around the building. The recognition that helping people explore Chester’s heritage can deliver real economic benefits led to the city council instigating an ambitious interpretation masterplan. This project is funded by the Northwest Regional Development Agency and is part of Chester Renaissance, a revitalisation programme building on Chester’s past with the aim of making it a ‘must-see’ European destination by 2015.
“We are particularly pleased at the external perspective brought by Imagemakers that has helped define what is needed to be must-see”
The masterplan is a framework which sets design parameters for interpreting the public realm of central Chester and has involved working with architects, landscape architects and urban planners to achieve a holistic scheme. The city has a wide range of heritage features, each with different stories which can be interpreted through a range of media. The Rows, for example, are Britain’s earliest and arguably most beautiful shopping arcade, situated at the geographic and economic heart of the city. Our proposals included an interactive sculpture depicting the Rows in medieval times, laser projections, interpretive street theatre and plaques. The design and location of these elements are critical in enticing visitors to further explore the history, shops and restaurants of the Rows.