Learn more about Gloucester
|City of Gloucester|
Shown within Gloucestershire
|Region:||South West England|
- Total (2005 est.)
2,745 / km²
|Gloucester City Council|
|Leadership:||Leader & Cabinet|
|Executive:||Conservative (council NOC)|
Gloucester (pronounced [ˈglɒstə]) is a city and district in south-west England, close to the Welsh border. It is the county town of Gloucestershire. In 2003 the city proper had a population of 110,207. However the built-up area extends beyond the city boundary. The 2001 census gave the population of the whole "Gloucester Urban Area" as 162,203, up 8% from the 1991 figure of 126,149.
It is located on the right (east) bank of the River Severn, at grid reference SO832186, 114 miles west-north-west of London. It is sheltered by the Cotswolds on the east, while the Forest of Dean and the Malvern Hills rise prominently to the west and north-west, respectively.
Gloucester is a port, linked via the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal to the Severn Estuary, allowing larger ships to reach the docks than would be possible on the tidal reaches of the river itself. The wharves, warehouses and the docks themselves fell into considerable disrepair until their renovation in the 1980s. They now form a public open space. Some warehouses now house the National Waterways Museum, others were converted into luxury residential apartments, shops and bars. The port still houses the most inland RNLI Lifeboat in the UK
 Places of interest
Gloucester Cathedral, in the north of the city near the river, originates in the foundation of an abbey dedicated to Saint Peter in 681. It is the burial place of King Edward II of England, Walter de Lacy and was recently used in scenes for the Harry Potter films. Attached to the deanery is the Norman prior's chapel. In St Mary's Square outside the Abbey gate, Bishop Hooper suffered martyrdom under Queen Mary I in 1555.
Many quaint gabled and timbered houses survive from earlier periods of the city's history. At the point of intersection of the four principal streets stood the Tolsey or town hall, replaced by a modern building in 1894. None of the old public buildings are left except for the New Inn in Northgate Street, a timbered house, strong and massive with external galleries and courtyards; it was built in 1450 for the pilgrims to Edward II's shrine, by Abbot Sebroke.
There are a large number of churches and in the past there were also many dissenting chapels. It may have been the old proverb, "as sure as God's in Gloucester," that provoked Oliver Cromwell to declare that the city had "more churches than godliness." The first Sunday school in England was held in Gloucester, founded by Robert Raikes in 1780. Four churches are of special interest:
St Mary de Crypt, a cruciform structure of the 12th century, with later additions and a beautiful and lofty tower;
The church of St Michael, said to have been connected with the ancient abbey of St Peter; and
St Nicholas church, originally of Norman erection, and possessing a tower and other portions of later date. In the neighbourhood of St Mary de Crypt are the slight remains of Greyfriars and Blackfriars monasteries, and also of the city wall. Early vaulted cellars remain under the Fleece and Saracen's Head inns.
There are three endowed schools: The King's School, refounded by Henry VIII of England as part of the cathedral establishment; the school of St Mary de Crypt, founded by Dame Joan Cooke in the same reign (1539); and Sir Thomas Rich's Blue Coat Hospital for boys (1666). At the Crypt school the famous preacher George Whitefield (1714-1770) was educated, and he preached his first sermon in the church.
The noteworthy modern buildings include the museum and school of art and science, the county gaol (on the site of a Saxon and Norman castle), the Shire Hall and the Whitefield memorial church. A park in the south of the city contains a spa, a chalybeate spring having been discovered in 1814. West of this, across the canal, are the remains (a gateway and some walls) of Llanthony Priory, a cell of the mother abbey in the vale of Ewyas, Monmouthshire, which in the reign of Edward IV became the secondary establishment.
Kingsholm is the home of Gloucester RFC, founded in 1873, one of England's top rugby union clubs.
Meadow Park is the home of Gloucester City A.F.C. ("The Tigers") of the Southern League Premier Division.
King's Square is at the heart of the City Centre and occupies what was once a cattle market and bus station. Officially opened in 1972, it was the centrepiece of a radical redesign of the city, The Jellicoe Plan, which was first proposed in 1961. Parts of the plan can be found via this link:
Many of the features of the redevelopment have since been dismantled; the brutalist concrete fountains in the middle of the square have gone and the overhead roadways which linked three multi storey car parks around the centre have been either closed or dismantled. The present main bus station received a Civic Trust Award in 1963 but is now tatty and unwelcoming. An indoor market opened in Eastgate Street in 1968, followed shortly afterwards by the Eastgate Shopping Centre. Gloucester Leisure Centre opened on the corner of Eastgate Street and Bruton Way in September 1974 and was redeveloped around 2003. A new railway station opened in Bruton Way in 1977, replacing one which once stood on the site now occupied by an Asda supermarket. The main shopping streets were pedestrianised in the late 1980s.
There are few tall buildings in Gloucester, the Cathedral being the most obvious. The tower of Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, constructed during the years 1970-1975, can be seen from miles around. In Brunswick Road, a brown concrete tower houses classrooms at the Gloucestershire College of Arts and Technology. The tower was added incongruously to the existing 1930s Technical College buildings in 1971. A tall block of flats stands in Columbia Close, between London Road and Kingsholm Road. It was built in 1972 and stands on what was once Columbia Street in a small district formerly known as Clapham.
Roman remains were discovered in 1974 during the construction of the Boots store on the corner of Brunswick Road and Eastgate Street. These can be viewed through a glass "ceiling" at street level. It was once possible to take tours of the underground site but the tour guide was later replaced by a "talking bollard" beside the viewing window. Parts of the city's south gate can be seen tucked away at the back of the Gloucester Furniture Exhibition Centre - a showroom on the corner of Southgate Street and Parliament Street.
Gloucester City Council website is http://www.gloucester.gov.uk.
The traditional existence of a British settlement at Gloucester (Caer Glow, Gleawecastre, Gleucestre) is not confirmed by any direct evidence, but Gloucester was the Roman municipality of Colonia Nervia Glevensium, or Glevum, founded in the reign of Nerva. Parts of the walls can be traced, and many remains and coins have been found, though inscriptions are scarce. Evidence for some civic life after the end of Roman Britain includes the mention in the Historia Brittonum that Vortigern's grandfather ruled Gloucester, and that the Battle of Deorham in 577 resulted in Wessex controlling Gloucester.
Its situation on a navigable river, and the foundation in 681 of the abbey of St Peter by Æthelred favoured the growth of the town; and before the Norman Conquest of England, Gloucester was a borough governed by a portreeve, with a castle which was frequently a royal residence, and a mint.
The first overlord, Earl Godwine, was succeeded nearly a century later by Robert of Gloucester. King Henry II granted the first charter in 1155 which gave the burgesses the same liberties as the citizens of London and Winchester, and a second charter of Henry II gave them freedom of passage on the Severn. The first charter was confirmed in 1194 by Richard I of England. The privileges of the borough were greatly extended by the charter of King John (1200) which gave freedom from toll throughout the kingdom and from pleading outside the borough.
Subsequent charters were numerous. Gloucester was incorporated by King Richard III in 1483, the town being made a county in itself. This charter was confirmed in 1489 and 1510, and other charters of incorporation were received by Gloucester from Queen Elizabeth I and King James I.
The Siege of Gloucester in 1643 was an important battle of the English Civil War in which the besieged parliamentarians emerged victorious.
Until the construction of the Severn Bridge in 1966, Gloucester was the lowest bridging point on the river and hence was an important settlement on the route between London and South Wales. The Severn is split into two branches at this point, so the road crosses first onto Alney Island and then onto the western bank. A road bridge on this western side at Over, built by Thomas Telford in 1829, still stands, notable for its very flat arch construction, but its fragility and narrow width means it is no longer used for traffic, and since 1974 has been paralleled by a modern road bridge. There is a rail crossing, also across Alney Island, which was the lowest on the river until the opening of the Severn Tunnel in 1886.
Gloucester was the site of the Gloucester Railway Carriage and Wagon Company railway works, which have now closed.
Gloucester gained notoriety in 1994 with the arrest of Fred West and his wife Rose West for the abduction and murder of more than a dozen young women between 1967 and 1987, including one of their daughters. Their home, 25 Cromwell Street, where the remains of many of the victims were buried, was later demolished and a public walkway laid in its place. To deter souvenir-hunters, the rubble was reduced to dust before disposal.
Gloucester may mean fort (Old English ceaster 'fort') on the glowing river. (Glowancestre, 1282). In Welsh, the city is known as Caerloyw, Caer = Castle, and loyw from gloyw = glowing/bright.
In 1926 the Gloucestershire Aircraft Company at Brockworth decided to change its name to the Gloster Aircraft Company because international customers claimed that the name "Gloucestershire" was too difficult to spell.
 Famous citizens
- Ivor Gurney (1890-1937), Composer
- William Ernest Henley (1849-1903), Poet
- Anna McGurk (died 1991) Murder victim
- William Moseley (1987), Actor
- Simon Pegg (1970-), Actor, comedian and writer.
- Robert Raikes the Elder, (1690-1757), widely know as "the printer of Gloucester", founder of the Gloucester Journal, passed for a first pioneer for the freedom of the press.
- Robert Raikes (1735-1811), Founder of Sunday Schools
- Thomas Raikes (1741-1813), Banker and merchant in London, Governor of the Bank of England, editor of the first £1 and £2 English pound notes on 26 February 1797.
- Fred West (1941-1995), mass murderer
- Rosemary West (1953–), mass murderer
- George Whitfield (1714-1770), Minister of the Church of England and a Leader in the Methodist Movement
- Chris Witts (1944-) Sheriff of Gloucester 2006/7
 Twin cities
 See also
- Doctor Foster
- Gloucester, Massachusetts
- Gloucester, Ontario
- Gloucester, Virginia
- Gloucester Township, New Jersey
- Gloucester RFC
- Gloucester City A.F.C.
- Gloucestershire County Cricket Club
 External links
- Gloucester City Council
- The River Severn
- The Best Of Gloucester
- Visit Gloucester
- History of the Gloster Aircraft Company.
- Gloucester on Placeopedia
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|Settlements on the River Severn between Bewdley and Gloucester (heading downstream)||edit|
|Settlements on the River Severn between Gloucester and Bristol (heading downstream)||edit|
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