Visitors to Chester’s famous city walls are being invited to take a trip through two thousand years of history…. by courtesy of a very special pair of binoculars.

Located on the city walls, near the HQ Building, the digital ‘time machine’ is the latest attraction designed to help create one of Europe’s leading heritage trails.

For just £1, visitors will see history brought to life, transporting them back to Roman times, when the area was one of the busiest ports in Britain.

Covered by an innovative wing-shaped canopy designed by architects Donald Insall Associates, the digital binoculars use computer generated images and audio to depict the changing scenes.

Visitors can witness the medieval port and how the landscape was starting to be transformed. The scene then changes to the very first horse race on the site during a snowy day in February 15, 1539, attended by Henry Gee Mayor of Chester who gave his name to ‘Gee Gees’.

The innovative cutting-edge digital binoculars is the concept of Imagemakers and the computer generated animated scenes have been produced in partnership with Chester based company Take 27.

The installation has been managed and funded by Cheshire West and Chester Council and Chester Renaissance and completes the PORTICO project to enhance and protect the city walls.
Said Councillor Herbert Manley, Executive Member for Prosperity: “PORTICO’s co-operative European Project has completed its restoration, improvement and interpretation works of the walls and towers which will enable their amazing stories to attract a much wider audience.

“We expect the walls to become one of Europe’s leading heritage trails and to play a leading role in the realisation of our aim that Chester will be a ‘must see’ international destination by 2015.”

The walls have benefited from over £3m worth of specialist repair and maintenance work, by CWAC’s Bridges and Structures and Historic Environment Teams since the Council’s inception in April 2009.

Added Councillor Manley: “Fittingly the cost of using the binoculars will help towards vital future maintenance work.”

The 2-mile-plus sandstone circuit is a mecca to over 2.7m visitors each year; supports the equivalent of over 300 fulltime jobs and makes a net economic contribution to the Chester economy calculated at over £20m per annum.

PORTICO’s masterplan has included works to Newgate Bridge, Thimbleby’s Tower and King Charles’ Tower’s, Morgans Mount and the Water Tower Complex.