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Chester’s town crier moves from quills to digital skills with help from city business

Photos: Jeff Price and Angela Ferguson

Cheshire Digital Skills Academy have been supporting the city’s town crier David Mitchell in producing his latest book, The Word On The Street.

David said that when he realised that there was no recorded history of town criers’ roles, he thought ‘If nobody has written it, why shouldn’t I?’

The Word on The Street reveals many mysteries and, more specifically, the history of town criers and bellmen. From patrolling the streets at night to ‘wife sales’, David uncovers every detail of their secrets.

Academy Directors, Bev Cowperthwaite and Jayne Muspratt told We Are Chester that they had supported David in enhancing his overall digital skills. This had allowed him to publish the book, which unravels the history of life as a town crier and all of the mysteries alongside it.

Visitors to Chester may well have heard David ringing his bell throughout the city, whilst adorned in his colourful historic costume. In addition to carrying out this historic role, David also finds time to write books and to appear in several TV and radio programmes, documentaries and films. He has also performed his one man show For Crying Out Loud! on a number of occasions. 

Cheshire Digital Skills Academy (CDSA), which is based at the University of Chester’s Riverside Innovation Centre, played a key part in helping David to produce his second book. CDSA is a small business that offers various courses in helping people to improve their digital skills. These courses are tailored to students’ exact capabilities. They are available for software such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint. 

David said: “My previous skills were with quill pen and hand-bell so this has been a major leap for me from Tudor technology to the 21st Century.” 

Directors Bev Cowperthwaite and Jayne Muspratt are fully qualified in teaching various software such as Word and Excel. Using their assistance, David was able to format his new book by learning advanced Word skills.

David can now apply this newly-acquired digital knowledge to any book he writes in the future. He praised Bev and Jayne’s understanding attitude, saying: “I doubt you will find friendlier tutors anywhere!” 

Bev Cowperthwaite, said: “CDSA thrives in helping individuals to succeed and accomplish their own digital goals. It’s been a pleasure to have played our part in helping him to finalise his latest publication.”

Co-Director Jayne Muspratt said: “If you have seen any of David’s award-winning performances, or are aware of his unique personality, you will know that this is definitely a book not to miss, and we’re delighted that we’ve been able to support him in making his vision a reality.”

The Word on The Street is available in Chester stores: Chester Visitor Information Centre, Timpsons and Chester: A Life Story. It can also be purchased online from David’s website

For more information about CDSA visit or call 01244 515525.


About Angela Ferguson (238 Articles)
I'm a writer, journalist and blogger, as well as the founder and editor of culture webzine I'm also a university lecturer in journalism and media communications and a radio presenter for hire.

5 Comments on Chester’s town crier moves from quills to digital skills with help from city business

  1. A little touch of history preserved! A good plan!
    Is this the same town that has the lovely Zoo?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, it’s a fabulous read! Thank you. Well worth getting hold of a copy of this excellent book. We do, indeed, have a lovely zoo.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Here in the U.S. we have a TV station called ‘Animal Planet’. They have a series highlighting different zoos, Chester was one. The handlers talk to the camera and you feel as though you know them after a while.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ah, wonderful! We didn’t know that. We have a TV series on Channel 4 here called Secret Life of the Zoo, based on Chester Zoo, and it’s absolutely fascinating. The zoo staff seem so passionate and caring about their animals and about the wider issue of conservation. We are incredibly lucky to have this wonderful place on our doorsteps.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I think it might be the same program! Yes, you are lucky!


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