Chester Shot Tower – Chester, England - Atlas Obscura

Chester Shot Tower

A 168-foot tower, part of the abandoned Chester Leadworks facility. 


England’s oldest standing shot tower, built in 1799, carried on Chester’s legacy of lead production.

There are indications Chester was a lead-mining site going back as far as the Roman era, so a shot factory seems a natural progression in the city’s industry. Chester Leadworks produced shot for the military during the Napoleonic Wars, and was in use for the same purpose as late as 2001. 

Shot towers were the most common method of producing shot balls for muskets in the 19th and most of the 20th century. From the very top of the tower workers would pour molten lead through a sieve. While falling through the empty tower, the lead would cool and form into perfectly round balls. These would land in a basin of water to be cooled further.

Today, many of the factory buildings have been demolished to make way for urban housing developments. The architects plan to incorporate the tower into their design to maintain a piece of the area’s history.

Know Before You Go

Coordinates: 53degrees11'39.63"N 2degrees52'41.12'W

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