Collage combining historic photographs of Bridge Street, Eastgate Street and Watergate Street with contemporary photographs and elements from magazines

19 May 2022
Eastgate Street, Chester, Cheshire West And Chester
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Watergate Street, Chester, Cheshire West And Chester
Bridge Street, Chester, Cheshire West And Chester
Photograph (Digital)
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In 2022-23 Historic England commissioned several photographers to work with local communities to capture images representative of their local high streets. This formed part of the Picturing High Streets project. In Chester, Ciara Leeming was commissioned as photographer. She wrote the following text to describe her work on the project: "I worked with a core group of five participants from Café 71, a mental health centre in Chester. Over a series of 9x workshops we visited the area around the Rows several times to make photographs, which we then used as a starting point for discussions about the nuanced and complex relationships group members have with the city centre and how they and other community members use these unique and historical spaces. These ranged from using the Rows to shelter from rain or escape the noise and bustle of the streets, to their use by children and as hangouts for teenagers – some of whom skateboard around parts of the Rows in the evenings. One group member who had worked in a café on the Rows told how rough sleepers had sometimes used these sheltered corners and used the café’s balcony plugs to charge their phones in the evenings, when it was closed. Another participant has a friend who lives in a council flat directly above the Rows. The group discussed how events like Chester Races change the dynamic of this area and their own feelings towards the centre and the city more generally. These conversations then formed the basis for the development of photo captions. Participants also spent several weeks creating surreal and fanciful collages reimagining Chester city centre, using images from the Historic England archive, images from magazines and in some cases, photographs they had made during our walks." This work was made in collaboration with Cate Evans, Open Eye and Ciara Leeming. 'Picturing England's High Streets' commission by Open Eye Gallery, Historic England and Photoworks.


This is part of the Volume: HEC01/128/01/01 Picturing High Streets Photographer Residencies - Ciara Leeming: Chester; within the Sub Series: HEC01/128/01 Picturing High Streets: Photographer Residencies; within the Series: HEC01/128 Picturing High Streets; within the Collection: HEC01 Historic England


© Cate Evans

People & Organisations

Creator of Archive: Evans, Cate


Street Scene