Archaeology will delay Walls repair
HISTORY detectives hope to learn more about Chester’s Roman Walls following the collapse of a 30-metre section.
Mike Morris, head of archaeology at Chester City Council, said it was a case of “making something positive” out of a situation nobody wished to happen after the wall gave way at the side of The Grosvenor hotel.
Archaeologists hope to learn more about the materials used and the methods employed to construct the walls. Previous collapses have thrown up interesting discoveries such as the reuse of Roman tomb- stones to shore up the walls.
Inevitably, the archaeological works will lead to a delay in reinstating the walls and it is likely to be 2010 before repairs are complete.
Mr Morris said: “We cannot just get a load of breeze blocks and fill in the gap. Specialist structural engineers will be looking at the structural issues and what needs to happen. They will put in phased proposals on how best to do it.
“Will part of it need dismantling? Part of it will need to be rebuilt – how will it be rebuilt? What materials will be used and what length of it needs rebuilding? The archaeology forms part of that.”
Mr Morris said: “While it is most unfortunate this has happened it is a good opportunity to learn more about the City Walls. We are talking about how to make this accessible to people as well to let people see what’s going on over the coming months and probably years. There will be major archaeological interest in this.”
Mr Morris said that in the 1980s and 1990s rebuilding took place on sections at the Northgate and the Kaleyards and “you can’t see the join”.
The council is considering providing a level walkway around the affected section of walls if this can be done safely. If this is technically, legally or financially too difficult then existing diversions will continue until further notice.