A former dancer and publican from Chester celebrated her 100th birthday last  week.

Josephine Dean hit her first century on Wednesday, July 17, and  enjoyed a birthday treat  with 70 friends and family ranging in age from Georgina, her 10-year-old  great-granddaughter to  Josie’s friend Enid, who is  103 years old.

Born Josephine Davies, Josie (as she is known)  lived and worked in the  city for most of her life  and retired when she was  85 years old.

Former Chester publican Josephine (Josie) Dean celebrates her 100th birthday
Former Chester publican Josephine (Josie) Dean celebrates her 100th birthday

Her father, Eddie Davies, was landlord of the old  Swan Hotel (now  Primark) and he was a well-known character in the city in the 1930s. 

With connections to the old Royalty Theatre and an enthusiastic regular at  Chester Racecourse, he  frequently took holidays and cruises in the  Bahamas from where he  would telephone his notorious and  bad-tempered talking  parrots in Chester to  check they were OK.

After completing her education at the Chester  Convent School, with stars  in her eyes, Josie  borrowed her father’s car  and travelled to  Manchester to audition as  a dancer –  a very daring move for a girl at that  time.

She was a great success  and danced on many London stages before  returning to Chester two  years later, to marry her  sweetheart Peter Dean at  St John’s Church in 1936.

Together they took over  The Nag's Head at Mickle  Trafford and, until they  retired in 1966, their rose  garden by the river was a  popular destination.   Josie’s two children,  Rodney and Pamela were  educated locally – Rodney at Helsby Grammar  School and Pam at The  Queens School. 

After returning from a two-year trip to the Antarctic, Rodney bought The  Groves Café by the River Dee and Pam moved to  London to work, eventually as a journalist  and TV presenter.

Four grandchildren and  seven great-grandchildren  later, Josie now lives quietly in an apartment at  Arkle Court, The Holkum but she still  enjoys dressing up for a game of Scrabble or an  evening with friends.   Until recently she would  often take the coach to  London to visit her daughter, or to Bristol and Cambridge to visit friends.   She said: “I love long  coach journeys  – they just give me time to think.”