ONE of the City Walls’ most iconic landmarks has undergone a major restoration project.
Lying on the north-east corner of the walls, the King Charles Tower had been falling into disrepair and was in desperate need of renovation.
Cheshire West and Chester Council was successful in securing funding for the £200,000 renovation project from the PORTICO project, a co-operative venture between the cities of Chester, Gent in Belgium, Cologne in Germany and Utrecht in the Netherlands.
Renovation to the tower, which dates back to the 13th century, includes a new viewing balcony and a refurbished, modern interior, complete with a motion activated spoken history of the tower, all of which allow for groups and guided tours and improves the setting of the King Charles Tower which has itself been extensively repaired.
Council spokesperson Rachel Ashley said: “Renovation work is now complete on the tower, with a new balcony installed and remedial work all done.
“We are now working towards an opening date and we think it will be a tremendous attraction for Chester and will prove to be one of the jewels in the crown of the City Walls.”
Final work on the renovation, which was carried out by Chester-based architects Donald Insall Associates, was completed during December and the opening of the newly refurbished tower has been scheduled for the spring.
Tony Barton, chairman of the Chester branch of Donald Insall, said: “We’re delighted with how the tower looks after its completion.
“The structure was coming away from the walls and a lot of structural work was needed to secure it before the renovation work could be carried out.
“We have done this project in partnership with Cheshire West and Chester Council, who did well to secure funding from the European PORTICO project, so there is no cost that has been placed upon the tax payer to carry out this work.
“We think that it will prove a very popular attraction for visitors and that they will especially enjoy the motion activated talking history of the tower that we have installed.”
The tower had been repaired at various periods over centuries after it was badly damaged during the Civil War siege of Chester between 1642 and 1651.
Caroline Drake, senior associate at Donald Insall Associates, said: “It was critical to the project that significant archaeology, such as the Roman rampart in Deanery Field below, remained untouched.
“We have come up with a solution that achieves this, while improving access and facilities at this key point on the City Walls.”