Gloucester is a fascinating city with a rich and varied history. During the last century the aerospace industry has featured prominently in the fortunes of the area. The first British jet aircraft were built here when that technology was in its infancy, and The Whittle pub in Gloucester business park is named after Frank Whittle, the inventor of the turbojet engine. Propellers and landing gear are also manufactured in the area. Natural stone paving would hardly be an appropriate choice for the surface of the runway at Brockworth airfield in Gloucester. This airfield was used as a testing site by the Gloster Aircraft Company (GAC), which had chanced its name from the Gloucestershire Aircraft Company because overseas customers were repeatedly unable to pronounce the name.
Gloucester docks mark the normal tidal limit of the river Severn. The city can be accessed by boats from the Severn Estuary by means of the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal, and the natural stone paving of the canal towpath has seen much traffic over the years in which it has served the city. The other canal in the area is the Herefordshire and Gloucestershire canal. These days, it’s easier to get to the city via the M5 motorway.
Gloucester is also famous for its places of worship. Oliver Cromwell, the parliamentarian leader who ruled Britain for five years, commented that the city had “more churches than Godliness”, and “as sure as God’s in Gloucester” became a saying attesting to the veracity of a statement. There are at least two churches in Gloucester with natural stone paving which date back to Norman times, an the remains of ancient monasteries. The first Sunday school in England opened in Gloucester in 1780.
Gloucester is the venue for many well regarded events and festivals. Regular events include: the Gloucester International R&B Festival, the Gloucester Cajun and Zydeco Festival (which is the longest running one in Europe), the Three Choirs Festival, the Armed Forces Day Festival and the Frightmare Halloween Festival.
Probably the most prominent landmark in the city is its Cathedral. Built between 1089 and 1499, this Romanesque and Gothic structure has become an attraction for younger generations as the filming location for some of the scenes in the Harry Potter movies. As far as we know, no one was burnt as the stake for practicing witchcraft during the filming process!
Follow the natural stone paving to King’s Square in the centre of Gloucester, and you will pass many other buildings of note, including many medieval and Tudor houses. The New Inn in Northgate Street dates from around 1450.
Other attractions in the city include The Tailor of Gloucester House, a gift shop dedicated to Beatrix Potter and named after what is reputedly her favourite work. Step off the natural stone paving of College Court, which stands in the shadow of Gloucester Cathedral, and you will find yourself surrounded by shelves upon shelves of Potter souvenirs and memorabilia. What a wonderful way for fans to celebrate their favourite author.