A Channel 4 programme about Roman Chester repeated a theory the Romans had plans for ‘Deva’ to become the capital of Roman Britain.
This got data analyst John Murray wondering what the map of Chester would look like today if our city had become the nation’s capital and developed at the same rate as London.
John, from Queen’s Park, tweeted an image of Chester reimagined as the capital following the first episode of Channel 4 series Britain’s Most Historic Towns broadcast on Saturday (April 7) – and it went viral with more than 45,000 impressions.
He said: “There has been much speculation about whether Roman Chester was once the capital of Britannia. This was the subject of a BBC Two Timewatch programme ‘Britain’s Lost Colosseum’ broadcast on 20 May 2005 and, more recently, Professor Alice Roberts’ ‘Britain’s Most Historic Towns’ excellent programme about Roman Chester broadcast on 7 April 2018.”
Inspired by an Ordnance Survey (OS) blog post that reimagined Winchester as Britain’s capital, John applied the same technique to Chester.
“I wondered what the map of Chester would be like if it was and had remained as the nation’s capital and grown over the years as London has,” explained John.
Using Open Data, he took the London urban boundary from OS and overlaid it on a map of the Chester area, positioning Chester Cross where Charing Cross is located in London.
Just for fun, if London landmarks are overlaid on the Chester map:
■ Buckingham Palace would be in the middle of Curzon Park
■ Wembley Stadium would be at the UPM recycling plant on Deeside
■ Wimbledon Tennis Club would be located just south of Higher Kinnerton
Taking the reverse situation, with Chester landmarks applied to London:
■ Chester Cathedral would be where the National Gallery is in Trafalgar Square
■ Chester FC’s Swansway Chester Stadium would be in the middle of Hyde Park
■ Chester Racecourse would be at St James’s Palace
■ Chester Zoo would move near Caledonian Road tube station
John thanked Ordnance Survey for their help in producing the map.