The History of Parkgate
The name "Parkgate" is derived from the medieval site of Neston Park which back in 1250, was enclosed with stone walls
and served as a deer park for hunting. The first mention of the name Parkgate was in 1610, and the area of Parkgate
began to arise as an up and coming fishing village for the reemainder of the century. The first recorded inn was noted in
1613, known locally as "The Beer House". The stretch of water near the Beerhouse is recorded as Beerhouse hole, an
anchorage with slightly deeper water than elsewhere and this may have been the impetus for the first settlement at
Throughout the next century the anchorage became increasingly busier as the area was used for vessels to deliver
goods to Chester. And so with the increase of merchant trade and maritime activity the village grew into a bustling hive
of activity until eventually it became the number one route for travelling to Dublin in Ireland. It is recorded that in 1742
the famous composer Handel disembarked in Parkgate on his way home from his 120 mile journey to Ireland. During the
19th century Parkgate consisted mostly of Lodging Houses, which presented a long irregular range, forming a side of the
street facing the Dee.
As with any area of maritime activity, shops and inns sprung up all around to serve the travellers, attempting to relive
the travellers of any change they may have. It has also been recorded that the owners of inns in Parkgate would send
false statements to Chester indicating that the winds had gotten up and that the ships would soon be ready for sail, in
order to draw the waiting passengers from Chester to Parkgate in order to port them from their cash.
The 18th century proved to be the boom for Parkgate when the village was heightened from an anchor point to a
prominent seaside resort. With this new found status came a large selection of luxury building along the promenade
facing out over the estuary.
Parkgate enjoyed its new found status as a bathing resort bringing in the rich and wealthy as well as middle class
families. The village did however have one major draw back, it was constantly flooded having no sea wall to protect the
houses or promenade. Finally after much deliberation, the project of building a seawall was started in 1810, the
construction of which was to enclose the front separating the promenade from the estuary. The middle section was
constructed first, from the Watch House to the bastion in the wall known as the Donkey Stand, where a tall, narrow
building stood that was originally built as a customs house only to become Parkgate’s first Assembly House in the 1780s.
The south end of the sea wall from the Donkey Stand to the South Slip was built c1830 while the north section from the
Watch House to the north slipway was built in the 1840s.
It was at this time that the course of the Dee River was completely changed in direction from the English to the Welsh
side because of works carried out in order to canalise the river at Chester. This meant that entering Parkgate became
extremely difficult and thus the merchant trading and maritime activities of Parkgate almost ceased completely.
The village was revived in 1866 with the introduction of the railway line from Hooton. The first station in Parkgate was
created South of Station road in what is today the picnic area of the Country Park. Two decades later the station was
abandoned and moved to the North side of the road to meet the North Western line.
The estuary at Parkgate survived until 1940 when the marshes increased dramatically changing the face of the river front
at Parkgate forever. Today Parkgate survives on its old world charm, beautiful buildings and small amounts for tourism
to the area.
Please click on the thumbnail below to enlarge: