Working Group completes its fact finding phase

24 May 2019

The man who designed the Victoria elements of Chester’s Dee House had a prominent place in the architectural history of the North West.
The Dee House Amphitheatre Working Group has learned of the significance of renowned Victorian architect Edmund Kirby, who was responsible for many 19th Century buildings which can still be seen today across Liverpool and Cheshire.
Architectural historian Joseph Sharples explained the significance of Edmund Kirby at the latest meeting of the working group, which is meeting monthly to consider the facts and reach a collective conclusion on the best options for the future of the building.
Joseph said: “Edmund Kirby was an inventive and able designer, who made a major contribution to Victorian towns and cities across the region. He had a reputation as a designer of grand houses and villas for Liverpool’s merchant elite. He also designed commercial buildings and was the go to architect when catholic churches were being built. His designs were renowned for elaborate use of red brickwork and steep red tiled roofs, and his buildings were often highly decorative with gothic features.”
Tony Barton, chair of the Cheshire Historic Buildings Preservation Trust, was also present at the meeting to talk about the work of the trust and share its knowledge about Dee House.
The chair of the group Andy Foster, on behalf of the Chester Growth Partnership, said: “Our monthly meetings so far, the first phase of our process, have involved fact finding about Dee House and the amphitheatre. We have learned much about the site in that time and this phase is now drawing to a close.
“The next meetings of the group will focus on the consideration of possible future options and proposals for the building’s future, based on what we have learned so far. The group will aim to come up with a consensus on the best future options for Dee House, which we will present as our recommendation to the Council.”
Cllr Louise Gittins, Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: “Since the group first met, it has worked together well and has considered all the evidence with an open mind, despite those in the group having a diverse range of opinions about the best way forward. We look forward to finding solutions over the coming months to the challenges we face with Dee House.” 
The working group membership includes representatives from the Chester Growth Partnership, Cheshire West and Chester Council members from across the political spectrum, the Chester Archaeological Society, Chester Civic Trust, Chester Attraction Partnership, Big Heritage, Dig Up Deva, Roman Tours, a Chester University archaeological student,  Cheshire West and Chester Council officers, St. Johns Church and Historic England in an advisory capacity.

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