What we're about

Have an opinion? Of course you do.

One of the very few debating societies not attached to an educational establishment, the Chester Debating Society welcomes everyone, whatever their background or politics. Our debates tackle the pressing issues of the day, as well as the questions that human beings have been asking for centuries.

The format of our debates ensures that everyone is able to speak and be heard without the fear of being shouted down – but if you’re just interested in listening, that’s absolutely fine too!

Since its establishment in 1902, CDS has been promoting the free exchange of ideas, helping people develop their public speaking skills and providing a great evening’s entertainment. We are funded entirely through donations and memberships, which start at £20 p.a. Your first visit is free, but after that, we do ask non-members for a small donation (we suggest £3) per debate attended.

Our debates are structured in the following way:

1. The Proposer speaks in favour of the motion for a maximum of 15 minutes.
2. The Opposer speaks against the motion for up to 15 minutes.
3. The Chair seeks contributions from the floor, with each contributor allowed up to 5 minutes.
4. The Opposer presents their closing argument, which may last no longer than 10 minutes and introduce no new material (but can pick up on points made from the floor).
5. The Proposer presents their closing argument, which may last no longer than 10 minutes and introduce no new material (but can pick up on points made from the floor).
6. A vote is taken on the motion.

There’s a bit of mingling afterwards, assisted by a liberal amount of tea, coffee and biscuits.

Debates are held weekly from October to February. Our October debates are now confirmed. We hope very much to see you there!

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