Weekly City Spotlight: Gloucester


Aerial View of Gloucester

The beautiful city of Gloucester is set in the South West of England, in the county of Gloucestershire, on the River Severn.  Situated close the Welsh border and with Bristol nearby, a city break in Gloucester offers a wide choice of historic attractions including the magnificent Cathedral.  With Gloucester being the Country’s most inland port the Gloucester Docks are a sight to behold with traditional ship building and restoration still taking place. With the Quays area offering a great selection of shops, restaurants and cafes, Gloucester also boasts a number of museums displaying its rich heritage including the National Waterways Museum and the Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum.  Attracting thousands of visitors each year, a visit to Gloucester will make for an interesting, exciting and relaxing break for all.

Historic Gloucester
Gloucester was the location of an extensive Roman settlement named Glevum.  It is understood that the Roman’s settled initially in Kingsholm which would become the site of a military fort.  The Saxons took control of Gloucester following the Battle of Deorham, which resulted in Cirencester and Bath also becoming under their control. The Saxons were responsible for the areas further development, which would be later governed by a Portreeve (Sheriff) responsible for the County. A mint was also located within Gloucester, and a number of coins have been recovered over the years including the first example of a William I coin from the area, dating back to 1077-1080.

In medieval times, the port of Gloucester was known for exporting such goods as leather, wool and iron, with its location also providing for a successful fishing industry.  During the First English Civil War, the month long Siege of Gloucester took place from 3 August to the 5 September in 1643.  With King Charles I army fighting against Gloucester’s Parliamentarian troops.  The Parliamentarians (later known as Roundheads) were victorious.  This victory is remembered during Gloucester Day, when the city of Gloucester celebrates its historic past.

In later years Gloucester would also be a focus for the aerospace industry, a key provider of employment in the area.  The Gloster Aircraft Company became famous for flying the first British Aircraft powered by the turbo-jet engine designed by Sir Frank Whittle.  The company were renowned for their aircraft production including the Hawker Hurricane and Typhoon, and the Gloster Meteor, Javelin and Gladiator.  At statue by Simon Stringer can be found in Northgate Street, named The Spirit of Aviation in recognition of the Gloster Aircraft Company, who produced some 12,500 craft during its 46 years in operation.

Popular Culture
Gloucester is an historic and cultural city, and has also been a focus in popular culture.

Films & TV
Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone (2001), Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002) and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009) – all three of these blockbuster movies feature the cloisters of Gloucester Cathedral which provide the location for Hogwarts’ corridors.

Outlaw (2007) – Starring Sean Bean and Bob Hoskins, and directed by Nick Love, the film tells the story of a modern day outlaw, a solider returning home only to find his country rife with crime.  Set in London, many scenes from this crime drama were filmed in Gloucester.

Terry Pratchett’s The Colour of Magic (2008), this family fantasy TV film directed by Vadim Jean and starring David Jason and Tim Curry featured scenes of the Gloucester Docks.

Dr Who (2008) – The Christmas Special entitled The Next Doctor starring David Tennant, includes the grounds of Gloucester Cathedral, the location where the Tardis lands.

Thinks… (2001) – Written by British Author David Lodge, Thinks… is set in Gloucester and focusses on Helen Reed, a novelist and young widow, who arrives at the University in 1997 and her meeting with Ralph Messenger a Cognitive Sciences expert and renowned womaniser.

The Tailor of Gloucester (1903), this children’s book famously written by Beatrix Potter, was said to be her favourite.  Set in Gloucester it featured a tailor whose work on a waistcoat was finished by mice who he has rescued from his cat Simpkin.

Social Media
Additional information on Gloucester can be found on its official website The City of Gloucester as well as its Facebook, Twitter and YouTube accounts.

Famous Faces
Hubert Cecil Booth – Born in Gloucester on 4 July 1871, Booth was the Inventor behind the first example of a powered vacuum cleaner.  An engineer by trade, Booth’s work also included designs for both ferris wheels and bridges which were built in London, Vienna and Paris.

Sir Charles Wheatstone – was both an Inventor and Scientist, Wheatstone was responsible for a vast number of inventions including the Wheatstone Bridge used for the measurement of electrical resistance, in addition to the Concertina, an encryption method known as the Playfair Cipher, as well as the stereoscope allowing three dimensional image display.  Sir Charles was born in Gloucester on 6 February 1802.

Thomas Raikes – Born in Gloucester on 28 March 1741, Raikes the Elder was a successful merchant and newspaper owner, who would later become the Governor of the Bank of England.



Gloucester Cathedral

Gloucester Cathedral
Dominating the Gloucester skyline is the beautiful Gloucester Cathedral, the site of which was originally an Abbey in 679.  The magnificent medieval Cathedral is an amazing example of both gothic and romanesque style architecture and attracts thousands of visitors each year to explore the beauty and rich heritage of the Cathedral.  The Cathedral is the final resting place of Robert Curthose the Duke of Normandy and eldest son of William the Conqueror and also Edward II. There is an optional donation of £5 to visit the Cathedral.

The Beatrix Potter Museum
Situated in College Court, a visit to the Beatrix Potter Museum and Shop allows a chance to explore the inspiration behind the charming story of The Tailor of Gloucester.  Admission is free to the attraction with beautiful displays detailing the story, souvenirs are on sale and volunteers welcoming the chance to tell you more about the story and the author.

The New Inn
Situated in Northgate Street, The New Inn dates back prior to 1455, having been built by a monk named John Twyning.  With a pub and hotel housed in an historic Grade I listed building, The New Inn was the location where Lady Jane Grey, Wife of King Edward VI, was staying when following the news of her Husband’s death it was proclaimed that she would take the throne. The New Inn is viewed as an excellent example of a medieval courtyard and galleries, being one of the most complete in Britain.

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