CHESTER’S Town Crier has unveiled his new livery designed for the summer weather – when it arrives!
David Mitchell, who has been the city’s chief bellringer for the last 16 years, made his first appearance for 2014 to delighted cheers from shoppers.
Undeterred by rain, the former teacher delivered his proclamation at his regular spot at the High Cross, in front of St Peter’s Church, at the junction of Watergate Street, Eastgate Street and Bridge Street.
A crier has appeared at the site for 235 years and Mr Mitchell, who lives in Hoole, welcomes visitors at noon five days a week throughout the summer, a routine that is now unique to Chester.
But under the gradually increasing temperatures of spring and summer, wearing three layers, tights and a wig was getting too hot.
“I didn’t want to melt,” said Mr Mitchell.
So, a collector of images of historic town criers, Mr Mitchell chose to update his look by two decades.
Moving from 1790 to 1810, Chester’s crier is now clothed in Regency fashion rather than the late Georgian he had been wearing.
His new look is based on a Glasgow crier’s oufit and was made up by Liverpool-based historic costumer Jean-Ann Kelly, who used to work in the costume department of the Royal Shakespeare Company.
With a cutaway coat and pantaloons instead of tights, the wigs had also gone out of favour over the 20 years.
And with its buckram and silk conical top hat and buttons from the Cheshire regiment, provided by the city’s military museum, Mr Mitchell said he was very happy with his new look’s first day out.
“It feels good,” he said. “I can tell it’s not going to make me as hot when the temperatures increase.”
And what did he make of his reception on the wet city streets?
“I don’t usually allow it to rain,” he grinned, “but I was very pleased with the crowd despite the weather.”
l This summer Chester will host the World Town Crier Tournament which takes place from August 18-25.
As many as 30 town criers from 10 countries around the world are expected to compete.