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A CHESTER inn is reopening as a boutique hotel, bar and restaurant.

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The Commercial Hotel in St Peter's Square, behind The Cross, closed for a refurbishment almost four years ago but successive business plans failed to materialise.
Now workmen are putting the finishing touches to the interior with the downstairs bars opening this weekend.

Chester Memories: Keeping an eye on walls work

By Chester Chronicle on Dec 18, 09 11:08 AM in Chester City

A WEBCAM has been set up on Chester's historic city walls, allowing Cheshire West and Chester Council to stream live images of repair works on to its website.

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Cheshire West and Chester Council, Portfolio Holder for Recreation and Culture Cllr Richard Short said: "The national importance of Chester's city walls is recognised by their status as a Scheduled Ancient Monument, and they are unique in being the only city walls where the complete circuit still survives.

"The unusual repair project is the result of the collapse of a section of the sandstone structure and is expected to take around 12 months to complete."

The live IP camera shows stonemasons removing the unstable material while the council's archaeologists record the structure stone by stone.

CHESTER Historian Len Morgan's exhibition has proved a hit with fans of local history.

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His popular Then and Now exhibition uses slide shows and old photographs to reveal how the cityscape has dramatically changed over the decades.

A FORMER Chester College School pupil is hoping to rekindle his friendship with old class mates.

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Brian Tudor, who now lives in Birkenhead, was a pupil at Chester College in the late 50s and early 60s.

In 1963, the year after this photograph of him and his classmates was taken, the school was closed.

Brian said: "I am looking for any information or contact details on my former classmates in the photo. I have many names but little information about what they are up to now. "

A HISTORY and heritage centre looks likely to close as part of cutbacks at the new Cheshire West and Chester Council.

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The council says no final decisions have been taken regarding the St Michael's in Bridge Street but service-users understand the writing is on the wall.

The centre, which offers a variety of family and local history sources, is visited by more than 100 people a day. But the three-strong team of staff is already losing one worker, who is taking voluntary redundancy.

Linda Shuttleworth, secretary of Lache and Westminster Local History Group, said: "Chester History and Heritage in St Michael's has represented the city and the council in a very personal, friendly and effective way.

"Members of staff have supported individuals and groups in researching and exploring local and family history."

Mr D A Swift, a Chester resident, is interested in the history of Chester Infirmary.

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He worked at the Infirmary between March 1978 and August 1981 as a hospital porter and was under Mr Kodicek (ENT surgeon) between July 1969 and February 1975 on Ward 12 (the day case ward).

If you have any memories of the institution, or could help with his research, please send an email

A PHOTO of an office trip to Blackpool in the 1950s printed last week brought back memories for a Chester resident.

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Sue Thompson, of Ormonde Road, recognised her mum as being one of the launderette staff in the back row, second from left.

Sue said: "My mum was Florence Elizabeth Jane, named after Florence Nightingale, Elizabeth II - because she was born two minutes after the Queen - and Jane Eyre.

"Her mum and dad lived in Hereward Road, Boughton Heath, not far from where she worked for many years in the steam laundry.

The amateur theatrical company started life as Tip Top Musicals in 1989 in partnership with Grove Park Little Theatre in Wrexham.

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The group went from strength to strength and the company's first full scale musical, Annie was staged at Chester's Gateway Theatre in July 1992 followed by La Cage Aux Folles.

Tip Top kept up a close relationship with the Gateway Theatre with a production every summer and in 2002 chose the theatre's Manweb Studio to present Mary O'Malley's Once A Catholic.

In March 2007 The Gateway Theatre was closed to make way for the new performing arts centre as part of the Northgate Development and Tip Top's last production on the main stage was Hello Dolly!.

Within months it became obvious that the new development was not going to go ahead as planned and Tip Top approached Chester City Council to negotiate a lease that would allow them to perform in the basement studio theatre.

"I'VE had a wonderful life. I've really enjoyed it," admits Peter Greenwood, as he recalls just how fortunate he was to carve out a successful career as both a professional cricketer and footballer.

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The 84-year-old was a dependable right-arm bowler and hard-working centre-forward in his day, turning out for Lancashire CCC and Chester FC. On a star-studded sporting CV, he lists bowling at the great Donald Bradman and scoring a goal at Stamford Bridge among his highlights.

Peter, who lives in Upton, played in an era when the financial rewards for sportsmen were modest. But it was a time when 'double professionals' - people who made a living all year round by swapping cricket pads for football boots at the end of the summer - could be found at most clubs up and down the country.

Long before the two sports became multi-million-pound industries, Peter was happy just to be able to make a career from doing something he loved.

PAT Lee, of Ellesmere Port, is asking Chronicle readers to rack their brains for the missing names in photographs she has sent in from the 1950s and 1960s.

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Pat, née Cox, has unearthed a photograph of the last school year at St Bede's RC School, Handbridge, in 1962. She is third from the left in the back row and remembers Kathleen Tildesley, Margaret Hocking, Lesley Humphreys, Maureen O'Brien, Maureen Cairns, Patricia Cauldwell and teacher Mrs Hudson.

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