A COURTYARD housing a popular music and comedy venue plus 14 independent businesses is celebrating its 20th anniversary.

Rufus Court, which is home to Alexander’s Jazz Theatre bar, was developed by Rod Cox and Pauline Thompson, through the Thompson Cox Partnership in 1991.

The aim was to bring together a selection of local businesses featuring the best of Chester’s arts, crafts, music and food.

Today the courtyard boasts 14 independent shops and restaurants, including vintage cafe, bespoke jewellers and quintessentially British tea shops.

Anchor tenant, Alexander’s, has attracted some big household names in the world of jazz, blues, rock, folk and comedy over the years.

Music greats Ronnie Scott, George Melly, Georgie Fame, The Animals, The Yardbirds, Pentangle and John Renbourne have all performed at Alexander's.

Alexander’s has remained at the forefront of the local music scene for over 20 years, with acts such as Duffy gracing the renowned open mic stage early in her career when she was studying at the University of Chester.

The Saturday night comedy club, which also celebrates its 20th year, has welcomed a number of comedy legends such as Jack Dee, Bill Bailey and John Bishop.

Pauline Thompson, co-owner of Alexander’s, said: “I am proud of what we have achieved when you look back at the 20 year hall of fame.

“We have attracted established, well known names, as well as nurturing new acts. We’re looking forward to the next 20 years and hope to provide a platform for local artists to perform.”

During its anniversary year, Alexander's will be hosting a number of celebrations.