This week BBC Online ran an article entitled ‘Life on the world’s steepest street’ about a place in New Zealand but data analyst John Murray had a hunch Chester might just pinch the title.
Baldwin Street in the city of Dunedin on New Zealand’s South Island is officially the world’s steepest residential road.
At its steepest, the slope has a gradient of 35%.
Armed with a spirit level and a tape measure, John set out to see whether St Mary’s Hill in Chester may just have the edge. A simple calculation appears to reveal that at its steepest, St Mary’s has a 36% gradient, meaning it has a good claim to the crown.
John, from Queen’s Park, Chester, said: “I saw the article on the BBC where it was claimed the street in Dunedin was the steepest residential street in the world. I had a look at the Ordnance Survey map. I did some data analysis and I estimated it at 37% and we found it’s 36.4%. Theirs is 35% so this is steeper.”
John was recently recognised by the Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs for his use of LiDAR surveying data to create computer models that give insight into the heights of buildings and other structures which has many practical business applications, for example, in the insurance and utility industries.
Lisa Wharam lives in Handbridge but works in The Old Rectory, St Mary’s Hill, as an administration assistant at the Back Doctor Chiropractic Clinic. Lisa adores the street while acknowledging the steps can be ‘treacherous’ during the winter, especially at night, because they become so slippy.
Lisa, who was born in Yorkshire but grew up in South Africa, said: “You would never get anything like this at all in South Africa. I love it. I love the whole of Chester. I think Chester is a beautiful city. This is what makes it.”
St Mary’s Hill is a continuation of Shipgate Street, off Lower Bridge Street, which leads up to St Mary’s Creative Space, formerly the Church of St Mary-on-the-Hill, before joining with Castle Street. It features businesses, a nursery school and homes, one of which recently sold for £230,000 subject to contract.