OWNERS of a new art gallery opened in Chester were delighted to learn of historical family links to their building on Watergate Row.

Julie Colclough and her husband, David Colclough, discovered the information by chance when they got the keys to their new building at number 59.

Coincidentally they also discovered that Mrs Colclough’s great, great grandfather lived just around the corner from the gallery – labelling it their destiny.

Julie said: “We’ve been watching a programme on TV called A House Through Time, looking at houses in Liverpool and in Newcastle.

“Well, I thought let’s look at who’s lived here in this building.

“We discovered, looking all along Watergate Row, dozens and dozens of people called Colclough. David was absolutely gobsmacked.”

Chester and District Standard:

Julie is an artist and illustrator who has been commissioned to paint hundreds of book covers for the likes of Enid Blyton, James Herriot and Noel Streatfield to name a few whilst also producing bespoke paintings for clients all around the world.

Her style mixes elements of intricate detail and collage, which she describes as: “Layers of history that are revealed but concealed.”

She often finds most people do not realise artists are commissioned to work for so many products and says the life of an illustrator is interesting due to the amount of requested work from clients.

Her husband David explained how he tried to piece together the history surrounding the building, mentioning the time where he and his wife had visited the Grosvenor Museum in Chester a few weeks ago.

David said: “They have hand drawn city maps from the 1850s.

“They are incredibly detailed, every single building has got what it was, where it was, the number. We found this building, plus the entries of the Colclough court where we could see all of the detail on the map.

“Unfortunately, our building was right between the crease of one map and another map. We photographed it, where Julie managed to stitch it all together.”

Julie added: “I’m looking forward to finding more history about the area and apply it to more paintings.

“My paintings are all about layers. From a distance you see the painting, but as you get close up you start to see more of a sense of place and the history, the journey of maps and documents.”

The couple were pleasantly surprised when local independent shopkeepers welcomed them with hugs and warm conversation when first starting up, hailing how friendly of a community Chester is.

On the official opening of her gallery this Saturday (September 21) , she said: “We are very excited, yes. We’re going to be open all day and looking forward to meeting more and more of the locals on Watergate Street.

“We’re hoping it’s the start of a new adventure.”

For more information call Julie Colclough at 07742 537145.