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Bradshaw’s Guide

Promenade looking towards Queen’s Hotel, Cheltenham, England. Taken between ca. 1890 and ca. 1900. Original: Library of Congress


Cheltenham takes its name from the river Chelt, and is celebrated for its medicinal waters. It has been for the last sixty years one of the most elegant and fashionable watering places in England. The town is built on a flat marshy soil, on the borders of a rich and fertile valley, and the surrounding Leckhampton hills protect it from the cold winds. The season for drinking the waters is from May to October. The climate in winter is generally mild, though in July and August the heat is felt to be oppressive. Its surface is elevated about 165 feet above Gloucester, and the funnel shape of the valley, with a large river in its centre (the Chelt, which runs through to the Severn), elicits currents of air, which ventilate the atmosphere, and contribute much to the purity and salubrity of the town.

It is a parliamentary borough (one member), situated in a charming spot under the Cotswold hills, in Gloucestershire, 7 miles from Gloucester, on the Bristol and Birmingham Railway. Most of it is modem and well-built. The assembly rooms are in High Street, ¾ mile long. A little on one side of this is Pitville Spa and Pump Room (built in 1824), with its Grecian portico and dome, in the midst of pleasing grounds. On the other, the promenade leads to the Montpellier Spa and Rotunda pump-room, and Lansdowne Crescent. A pump-room, built in 1803, stands at the Old Wells, first used in 1716, and approached by an avenue of elms, an object of deserved attraction, from its extent, and symmetry. There is also the Chalybeate Spa. Both contain aperient salts of soda and magnesia, with a little iodine and iron; and are of great benefit in cases of weak stomachs, liver complaints, and plethora. Two are chiefly chalybeate. The parks and gardens about the town have much picturesque beauty, and are open throughout the year for a trifling fee, besides being the scene at intervals of numerous fetes and floricultural shows.

A Proprietary College, in the Tudor style, was built in 1843, 240 feet long. The parish church of St. Mary is in part, as old as the 11th century. Christ church and St. Peter’s, among the modern ones, deserve notice — the latter being in the Norman style, with a round tower, &c.

In 1831, Mr. Gurney tried his locomotive carriages along the high road to Gloucester, running the distance in 55 minutes, several times a day.

In the neighbourhood are many good walks and points of view, viz., Battledown, Leckhampton Court, and Cleck Cloud, 1,134 feet high. Behind Leckhampton are the Seven Springs, one of the principal heads of the river Thames. Southam is the Tudor seat of Lord Ellenborough. Boddington Manor, J. Neale, Esq. Charlton Park, &c. &c.

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Places nearby

  • Gloucestershire : Gloucester

    A cathedral city, capital of the county, on the Severn, and the Bristol and Birmingham Railway, 114 miles from London.

  • Herefordshire : Hereford

    Hereford, stands at a military Ford on the Wye, which King Harold protected by a castle, the site of which, at Castle Green, is now occupied by the Nelson Column.

  • Herefordshire : Ross

    Ross is situated on a rocky elevation on the east bank of the Wye. In the church are several monuments of the Rudhall family, one of whom opposed Cromwell in his siege of Hereford.