This week’s challenge is about the city I live in, unfortunately, I do not live in a city, I live in a town that is known for its Regency buildings and is a remnant of Cheltenham’s past as a spa town, so this is about the town I live in. I am going to share what I know about Cheltenham with you, having lived here 9 years (Cannot believe it has been that long!)
Cheltenham is a town in Gloucestershire, England, home to the renowned Cheltenham Festival, 4 days of horse jump racing culminating in the Gold Cup, held annually in March at Cheltenham Racecourse. There’s a great museum called The Wilson museum which homes fine art and has some wonderful exhibitions, and the Victorian Everyman Theatre has an ornate auditorium. (check out one of my previous blogs about the Everyman)
Let’s go back to the beginning, Cheltenham was a health and holiday spa town resort since the discovery of springs in 1716 by Captain Henry Skillicorne, he has been credited being the first entrepreneur to recognise an opportunity to exploit the springs. In 1738 he moved to Cheltenham immediately beginning improvements intended to attract visitors to his spa, building a pump to regulate the flow of water and erecting an elaborate well-house complete with a ballroom, billiard room to entertain his customers, Cheltenham became the most desirable places to relax. The beginnings of Cheltenham’s famous tree-lined promenades and gardens surrounding the spas these were first designed by Captain Skillicorne with the help of friends who understood the value of relaxing avenues.
Due to Cheltenham’s success as a spa town, this started to reflect in the railway station, named Cheltenham Spa and is even still to this day.
Cheltenham Races began in 1815, becoming a major national attraction after the establishment of the Festival in 1902. The volume of tourists visiting the spa started to decline, and the racecourse started to attract tens of thousands of visitors to each day of the festival. This continues even now with such large numbers of visitors having a significant impact on the town. Believe me, it does, most locals tend to go on holiday!
The festivals do not stop there, every year Cheltenham Festivals organise a ray of festivals for everyone’s tastes, including Music, Jazz, Literature and Science. In June we have a Food and Drink Festival plus much more throughout the year. These festivals attract the famous in each field along with visitors from far and wide. I should not forget the Cricket Festival either.
Cheltenham experiences a maritime climate and in comparison to many other areas in Britain, Cheltenham has warm summers and mild winters. I was once told Cheltenham was the warmest town in Britain if you know more about this let me know.
Cheltenham’s industry includes food processing, aerospace, electronics and tourism businesses. We are home to GCHQ, renowned for its “doughnut-shape” building, along with GE-Aviation, Chelsea Building Society, Endsleigh Insurance, Nelson Thornes and UCAS (Universities & Colleges Admissions Service) not forgetting Kohler Mira, I am sure there are loads I have missed out on.
It does not end there we are home to the Superdry label, their headquarters are in here in Cheltenham. On the subject of shopping, Cavendish House is the oldest department store in the town opening its doors in 1823. We have the Regent Arcade, which is home to the famous wishing clock by Kit Williams and we did have The Beechwood Shopping Centre in the town centre but it has been demolished this year to make way for a £30million John Lewis store.
My final fact about Cheltenham is an interesting one I discovered whilst I was confirming dates for this blog and as a fan of Alice in Wonderland, I wanted to share this with you. Alice Liddell and Lewis Carroll were regular visitors to a house in Charlton Kings which is a suburb of Cheltenham. This house was Alice’s grandparent’s house containing and still contains the mirror or the ‘looking glass’ that was the inspiration for Carroll’s novel Through the Looking-Glass published in 1871.
So that is about where I live, a lot happens here for a small town, unfortunately in the last year I have felt Cheltenham, has taken somewhat a dive in how lovely it is to live here. Crime, assaults and drugs are on the increase, with the people begging for money to pay for drugs returning to their homes later in the day, consequently, I know the authorities are trying their best to tackle the issues. I just feel for the people who are in desperate need. In 2014 The Daily Telegraph named Cheltenham as the best place to raise a family in the UK, I feel a little unsure about that now, this is just me being honest. The properties in Cheltenham are stunning and in 2006, a house valuation website rated Cheltenham the most desirable property location in Britain. Well, that I can agree with. One final frustration is how Cheltenham has now built over 11 care homes around the town in the last 3-4 years, it just seems excessive along with a number of bars and restaurants opening in Cheltenham soon as well, as the high streets of Britain are dying we will be left with places to eat, what about filling the shops for more shopping opportunities? I am very sorry for the negative but I have, to be honest I know many won’t agree with me.
Well, that’s it folks for my week 6 Gratitude Challenge – Cheltenham is a stunning town lively, vibrant with always something on to entertain either a festival, exhibition and so many wonderful places to eat, soon to be many more. Brunch is my favourite pastime, so I love heading to Boston Tea Party and then The Wilson Gallery to discover art, for these favourite days I am grateful.
I will blog my favourite spots for you if you ever fancy a small visit to Cheltenham.