The Regency Spa Town of Cheltenham

Cheltenham

Cheltenham is another town that came into it’s own with the prosperity of having natural mineral waters. “Taking the waters” was highly fashionable by England’s elite and where mineral waters sprung high society soon followed. I heard on television that this asset was noticed by the pigeons before the humans. In 1716, pigeons were seen flocking to a water flow, drinking the salty liquid when someone thought to check-it-out. The rest is history.

Cheltenham’s spa success was dramatically moved forward when King George III visited with the Queen and Princesses in 1788, giving the spa town his very fashionable stamp of approval. If it’s good enough for the King. . . .

At the edge of the Cotswolds in the county of Gloucestershire, Cheltenham has a population of around 115 thousand. Today it is perhaps England’s most complete Recency town, and that is probably the main reason to visit as a tourist unless one is specifically attending one of the many festivals or events that are held here.

I set-off to this city from my stay in Warwick with a friend who joined me from Birmingham. I collected Barbara at Warwick Rail Station before driving us Southwest for about an hour through lovely countryside made slightly less friendly by the overcast skies and rain showers.

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Rain, rain go away.

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Cheltenham was home to the brilliant composer Gustav Holst. If you think you don’t know his music, you are probably mistaken. I do think most people would recognise at least part of his most famous works named after the planets. My favourite is Jupiter because I once played a trumpet part in it when attending music camp at R C S Netherwood, in Rothesay, New Brunswick.

These are photos inside his family home, now recreated as a museum.

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This was a maids room. Located either in the basement or the attic, they were the most sparse rooms of a home.

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This is a fantastic doll house.

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Flowers and fountain in downtown Cheltenham.

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This and the following photos show Recency Architecture.

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This style definitely reminds me of the housing surrounding Regent’s Park in London. I used to cycle past these homes that curved around the park on my way to work everyday in Mayfair.

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There is more definition going on at the backs of these structures.

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Cheltenham’s Town Hall. It also had a spa within at one time.

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“Look what you’re sitting on,” Barbara points out without even a touch of irony after I have joined her sitting on the side of a fountain honouring Holst.

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Like most lovely English towns and cities, I love the downtown pedestrianised zones.

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