Broster

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Life

An 1831 view of the Market Square by David Hodgson (the original is in the Grosvenor Museum. The large building is The Exchange (where the Brosters had their bookshop), before its destruction by fire in 1862.

The BROSTER family, were printers of Chester and Bangor. PETER BROSTER printed an edition of Y Llyfr Plygain at Chester in 1783. In 1807 JOHN BROSTER started in business at Bangor; he was probably the John Broster who had been apprenticed to W. C. Jones, printer, Chester. John Broster's son, CHARLES BROSTER, was owner, publisher, and printer in 1817 of The North Wales Gazette, a newspaper of which the first number had been produced at Bangor on 5 Jan. 1808; on 4 Oct. 1827 it became The North Wales Chronicle, its owner and printer then being JOHN BROWN (d. 1847), who had also served his apprenticeship in the Chester office of W. C. Jones. In the meantime John Broster and his son had continued to print and publish at Chester. They issued Tour from Chester through North Wales in 1802, whilst at least two Welsh books were issued by them in 1807.

The Brosters's were based at The Exchange, in Northgate Street, which was destroyed by fire in 1862.

  • BROSTER, PETER, stationer, bookseller, printer and antiquary, of Chester (The Exchange) ; son of THOMAS BROSTER, alderman, and father of JOHN BROSTFR (q.v.) ; freeman 6 June, 1766 (C.F.R.); publisher of The Chester Guide and Directory, 178o, and later editions; printer of a Sermon preached at Mold 13 Jan. 1793, by Rev. ED. PARRY; Tlte Poetic Works of the Rev. WILLIAM SMITH, D.D., late Dean of Chester . . . by [Rev.] THOMAS CRANE. Chester: Printed for T. CRANE by P. BROSTER, 1788, price 1s. 6d., 27 + 24pp. ; The Explosion, a Poem, by a Chester Citizen. Chester: Printed for the Author 1773. Sold by T. LONGMAN, and P. BROSTER in Chester. Sheriff 1776 and mayor of Chester 179I ; died 2 Feb. 1816, aged 75 (M.I. Chester Cath.). " At a very advanced age, Mr. JOHN [sic, for PETER] BROSTER, Esq., many years a respectable bookseller and one of the aldermen of that city " (Gent. Mag., March, 1816). Will proved Chester, 30 July, 1816. The local historical collections of PETER BROSTER were given by the first Duke of Westminster to the Chester Archeological Society, and many of his notes and communications offered to the Gent. Mag. have been printed in the Cheshire Sheaf.

In 1803 one of the Broster family was involved in a fight between the Press Gang and the Chester Volunteers. Hemingway records : "Dec 28: A rupture between the press gang and some individuals of the volunteers. The Northgate broken open and a prisoner liberated" and adds in his 1804 entry "Oct 26: Mr Broster opposed for sheriff by Mr J Williamson in conseqence of the part his father took in the squabble with the press gang. Mr Williamson returned sheriff."

Works

Peter Broster produced the first specific guide to Chester for "tourists" in 1781. This was later revised and re-issued in 1810 and 1821 by John Broster.

  • "Cbefter with refpect to its Situation the Salubrity of the Air the Convenience of the Rows the Regularity of the Streets the delightful Pleafantnefs of the Walls and the Profpefts of the adjacent Country merits the Notice of the Man of Tafte claims the Attention of the Antiquary and courts the Admiration of the Stranger"

Sources and Links

  • Ifano Jones, History of Printing and Printers in Wales .
  • The Chester Guide Or, an Account of the Antient and Present State of that City. ... To which is Added, a Directory: Containing an Alphabetical List of the Clergy, Merchants, Tradesmen, &c. in the City and Market Towns in the County (1781)
  • History of the siege of Chester during the civil wars in the time of king Charles I (1800)
  • The Chester Guide or, an Account of the antient and present state of that city ... To which is added a directory: containing an alphabetical list of the clergy, merchants, tradesmen, &c. in the city and market towns in the county. The second edition, with additions and corrections. Embellished with a perspective view, and a ground plan of the city. By Peter Broster (1810)