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Chamber Chat with Alastair Richards

Chamber Chat

Wednesday 12th June 2024 marks Lancaster Day – celebrating the anniversary of the signing of the City’s Charter under King Richard I in 1193. Having an 831st birthday is a pretty good achievement for any place and so maybe this is something that we should be celebrating

Having a Charter made a small town into a city with the right to hold markets, engage in trade and govern itself. Its for this reason that the market is a Charter Market – something we know now but enabled by that original historical document.

One other feature of cities with a Charter were the guilds – now better known in Preston. Guilds represented the local industries and enabled those who worked in and owned businesses to have representation with local government, in the courts and with those who made decisions which affected trade.

The Chamber of Commerce is the modern equivalent of this. The Chamber wasn’t founded until 1897 but it exists to ensure that the interests of businesses and those working in the city can be brought together and heard. This might not necessarily be a popular notion – businesses do not always behave well – but having thriving businesses and high levels of well-paid employment is important in any city. Often the same things which benefit local people will also benefit local businesses. Good schools, high levels of education, good housing, cheap car-parking and good infrastructure are all important to people and to business. Our modern chamber has a clear role in ensuring that it represents the interest of businesses in the Lancaster (with Morecambe and the surrounding area) to ensure that the City thrives and reaches its 900th birthday in 2093 and beyond.