City retailers have hailed the start of ‘Chester Unlocked’ as a “massive success” as visitors and local residents packed into the city centre to explore the world’s first citywide museum trail.
‘Hoot’s Route’ – the first phase of the heritage programme – launched at the weekend with 30 businesses in the heart of Chester city centre transformed into mini-museums, each containing a never-before-seen artefact from Chester’s past.
City centre visitors follow an ancient map to see each of the artefacts for themselves, including Roman jewellery, medieval shoes, vintage sweet tins and Victorian perfume bottles, all placed across a variety of city centre shops.
“We’ve got a beautiful ladies hat from the 1920’s on display and we’ve had people of all ages coming in to the store since the official launch last weekend,” said Tim Edwards, owner of The Hat Place on Northgate Street and one of the 30 retailers involved in Hoot’s Route.
“There’s been a real wave of excitement across the city centre building up to this launch and we’ve seen notable increase in footfall as a result since the weekend – it’s been a massive success.
“It’s a wonderful project to be part of and as well as helping to showcase the history of Chester, it’s making our shop visible to a whole range of new people that may never have stepped foot inside before.”
Chester’s Business Improvement District (BID) Company – CH1ChesterBID – and Chester-based Big Heritage are behind the Chester Unlocked programme and plan to unveil a series of other events later this year.
Rita Waters, CH1ChesterBID, Chief Executive said: “The opening weekend of Chester Unlocked has been a resounding success and the feedback from city centre retailers and the public has been overwhelmingly positive.
“We’ve worked tirelessly to create something that celebrates the rich history of this city and encourages more people to visit the city centre at the same time. We want as many people as possible to pick up a map and explore the city centre for themselves to really experience what Chester Unlocked is all about.
“Hoot’s Route is just the beginning – we’ve got so much more to come in the next few months including ancient mysteries, code breaking challenges and fringe events. Chester will be alive with history and we can’t wait for everyone to see what we’ve got in the pipeline.”
For more details about the programme and to download the Hoot’s Route map, visit www.chesterunlocked.com.
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