Sunday, 3 January 2016

The Shot Tower

The photo of the chimney in yesterday’s post got a couple of prompt comments.  Mick (nb Lillyanne) hinted that I should be able to identify the structure.  Fortunately (for me) I’d already done that.  I couldn’t find in on Google Maps or on Google Earth, but it was shown on the Open Street Map.  It’s the Chester Shot Tower.  However I was really caught with my pants down when KevinTOO left a comment and link to a newspaper article about a fire in the Shot Tower on 22 December 2015.

Apparently Chester has been a site of lead refining and products since Roman times.  The Shot Tower is part of the former Lead Works and was constructed in 1799. It’s 168 feet high and the oldest of the three remaining shot towers in the UK.  Lead shot was first made here during the Napoleonic Wars and was still being made in 2001.  The molten lead was poured through a sieve at the top of the tower and the droplets formed a perfect sphere during the fall to the base. 

In 2012 Neptune Developments submitted an uban redevelopment proposal to mitigate the site and create 53 residential units as well as leisure and retail facilities.  This proposal subsequently suffered an impasse, in part due to the landowner going into receivership.  However the original plan was to retain the chimney and old lead mill buildings.  The redevelopment was supposed to be completed by 2013 but it doesn’t look as if a single brick has been moved.


Yes I walked to the location and took some photos.  As you can see, not much is happening.


The Shot Tower has a circular internal staircase.  The sheet metal clad external lift shaft was added in 1971.  I would expect the lift will be removed as part of the project.

Almost directly opposite and on the other side of the canal, is a huge Waitrose supermarket.  I didn’t know that many posh people lived in Chester! Smile

IMG_8708 I don’t remember the supermarket during our last visit to Chester.  That’s probably not surprising because it was opened in 2014!

Looking down the canal in the opposite direction is the “Steam Mill”, a former corn mill which has been converted to residential and commercial use.  The ground floor appears to be mostly restaurants.

IMG_8712This part of Chester used to be heavily industrialized with numerous corn mills, lumber mills and lead & glass works.  In more recent times its undergone urban regeneration.  I must admit I’m not too sure I would want to live on a site where lead had been processed for more than 1000 years.


I don’t remember seeing the globe of the world on the wall of the Steam Mill during our last trip.  but it must have been there.  It even looks like it might have revolved at some stage in it’s life,


Here we are moored down near Tesco.  I pulled Waiouru back five boat lengths this morning as the building opposite was blocking our TV signal.  We’ve now gone from 10 to 80 channels.

The building blocking our signal was built in 1931 was a cinema and is now a Wetherspoons Bingo Hall.  You only have to look at the side facing the canal to realise 80 years ago people weren’t much interested in looking at dirty canals.



Paul (from Waterway Routes) said...

When looking for something which looks small in plan view, like the tower, I find the angle views of Bing Maps better. Try this

The rotate options (upper right) allow four chances to find something by looking in four different directions.

Tom and Jan said...

That's interesting Paul. I will have to try and remember to use it.

Adam said...

There are plenty of posh bits of Chester -- it's just that the canal doesn't go through them!

Tom and Jan said...

I'msure you are right Adam. It was a cheeky comment looking for a bite!

Kelvin and Rachael said...

Happy New Year to you both! I love how quiet it is, take your pick of the moorings! Last time Rachael and I were in Chester we took the last mooring available, just near the retirement home.

Tom and Jan said...

We oldies have noticed all the noisy foot traffic when we are in bed! Might have to move to the retirement home!