About

Opened Saturday 30 March

Chester: A Life Story gathers and re-tells the rich tapestry of stories created in and about Chester. Of the people and the places. The tales and the spaces. About living, loving, being. Expect to be amazed, be entertained, entranced. Expect the unexpected!

1 Jan 2015

The Idea

Following the success of Sick to Death, a Horrible Histories style exhibition in the Water Tower on Chester’s Wall, plans were set in motion for an even bigger and better exhibition somewhere in the city centre.

1 Jan 2017

Wellcome Trust Funding

The Wellcome Trust awarded a grant to Big Heritage CIC under their Sustaining Excellence programme. This allowed Big Heritage to become a stronger, more resilient organisation, through the setting up of a brand-new visitor attraction.

4 Sep 2017

Life Story Staff Recruited

Rebecca Mason was brought in as Project Manager to work on this new attraction. Rebecca has over 16 years' experience working for the Heritage Lottery Fund, so brought with her a wealth of knowledge about projects, both capital and revenue.

14 Feb 2018

Life Story Venue Acquired

Big Heritage CIC signed the contract on a long-term lease for St Michael’s Church from Cheshire West and Chester. The History and Heritage Centre which used to reside in the church moved to a room within the Grosvenor Museum, kitted out specifically for their purposes.

Jan 2018 - Mar 2019

Development of the Life Story Idea

Big Heritage worked with an expert team including a museum designer, graphic designers, consultants, historians and artists to develop the concept of Life Story. As far as possible, we worked with people from Chester and the North West to engage with the amazing wealth of local talent we have, and to be as environmentally sustainable as possible. We also carried out 'crowd-sourcing' with the local people of Chester using social media, to ensure Cestrians have their voices heard too.

1 Mar 2018 - Present

Building Chester: A Life Story

A programme of building works were carried out in the church including the removal of a 1990s mezzanine, installing new toilets, works to the plant room, the installation of a new floor, new electrics and an improved heating system.During the summer and autumn of 2018, the church was open to visitors to come in and explores its rich history, as well as having a go at some arts activities. Other events included a number of art exhibitions and fairs, talks, culminating in The Cheshire Dining Experience holding a Christmas-themed dinner.Work began early January 2019 with the installation of new exhibitions.

Big Heritage

We are a team of archaeology, history and educational professionals that harness the awesomeness of Britain’s past to educate, inform and inspire.

We believe that history and archaeology can be tools for making a difference in people’s lives. This can be as simple as offering opportunities for people to simply experience heritage, or as complex as bringing whole communities together or as a means of tackling issues as diverse as climate change or food poverty.

We are a full-service heritage social enterprise – so if you’re looking for something that involves engaging people with the past, then the chances are, we can help you. Please explore our website to learn a bit more about us.

Finally, as every good story must come to an end, we explore how the people of Chester have dealt with death and dying, the ways we remember and honour the dead, and what it means for all of us to live a satisfying life.