Chelmsford: Wikis


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Coordinates: 51°44′10″N 0°28′47″E / 51.7361°N 0.4798°E / 51.7361; 0.4798

Chelmsford is located in Essex

 Chelmsford shown within Essex
Population ~120,000 (town)
164,500 (borough)
OS grid reference TL713070
District Chelmsford
Shire county Essex
Region East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district CM1,CM2,CM3
Dialling code 01245
Police Essex
Fire Essex
Ambulance East of England
EU Parliament East of England
UK Parliament West Chelmsford
Maldon and East Chelmsford
List of places: UK • England • Essex

Chelmsford is the county town of Essex, England and the principal settlement of the borough of Chelmsford. It is located in the London commuter belt.

The town is located 32 miles (51 km) northeast of Charing Cross in London. Chelmsford is steeped in history and was one of the original settlements of Roman Great Britain. Residents of Chelmsford are known as 'Chelmsfordians'. The town has a population of roughly 120,000 and is still growing. It is a modern, well placed town that has a large number of commuters who work in the City of London financial sector. The town is surrounded by many small villages that retain their original charm (examples of these are Danbury, Writtle, Good and High Easter, Roxwell, Mashbury, Chignal Smealy, Broomfield, Great and Little Baddow, Great and Little Waltham, Howe Street, other notable examples include Pleshey and Bicknacre). Suburbs within Chelmsford have retained their historical names including: Moulsham, Widford and Springfield, plus the newer Chelmer Village.



The 18-arch Victorian Railway Viaduct that carries the London-to-Norwich Mainline through Central Park Chelmsford

Early history

In 1199 the Bishop of London was granted a Royal Charter for Chelmsford to hold a market, marking the origin of the modern town. An under-cover market, operating Tuesday to Saturday, is still an important part of the town centre over 800 years later. The town's name is derived from 'Ceolmaer's ford' which was close to the site of the present High Street stone bridge. In the Doomesday Book of 1086 the town was called 'Celmeresfort' and by 1189 it had changed to 'Chelmsford'.

Before 1199, there were settlements nearby from ancient times. A Neolithic and a late Bronze Age settlement have been found in the Springfield suburb, and the town was occupied by the Romans. A Roman fort was built in AD 60, and a civilian town grew up around it. The town was given the name of Caesaromagus (the market place of Caesar), although the reason for it being given the great honour of bearing the Imperial prefix is now unclear — possibly as a failed 'planned town' provincial capital to replace Londinium or Camulodunum. The remains of a mansio, a combination post office, civic centre and hotel, lie beneath the streets of modern Moulsham, and the ruins of an octagonal temple are located beneath the Odeon roundabout.

The town became the seat of the local assize during the early 13th century (though assizes were also held at Brentwood) and by 1218 was recognised as the county town of Essex, a position it has retained to the present day. Chelmsford was significantly involved in the Peasants' Revolt of 1381, and Richard II moved on to the town after quelling the rebellion in London. Many of the ringleaders were executed on the gallows at what is now Primrose Hill.

An important Anglo-Saxon burial was discovered at Broomfield to the north of Chelmsford in the late 19th century and the finds are now in the British Museum. The road 'Saxon Way' now marks the site. In the 17th century many of the victims of Matthew Hopkins (the self-styled "Witchfinder General") spent their last days imprisoned in Chelmsford, before being tried at the Assizes and hanged for witchcraft.

Robert the Bruce has close ties with the nearby village of Writtle and its parish church. There is some evidence to suggest he was born in the village rather than in Turnberry Castle but the story is possibly conflated with that of his father of the same name.

Henry VIII Kept a hunting lodge at what is now New Hall School in Boreham.

World War II

During World War II Chelmsford, an important centre of light engineering war production, was attacked from the air on several occasions, both by aircraft of the Luftwaffe and by missile. The worst single loss of life took place on Tuesday December 19, 1944, when the 367th Vergeltungswaffe 2 or V2 rocket to hit England fell on a residential street (Henry Road) near the Hoffmans ball bearing factory and not far from the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company factory in Hall Street which may also have been the target. (It is seen being protected by a barrage balloon in a wartime photograph.) Thirty-nine people were killed and 138 injured, 47 seriously. Several dwellings in Henry Road were completely destroyed, and many in nearby streets were badly damaged. A recently restored monument to the dead is in the borough cemetery in Writtle Road. The GHQ Line part of the British hardened field defences of World War II runs directly through Chelmsford with many pillboxes still in existence to the north and south of the town. Faded camouflage paint still remains on old buildings near Waterhouse Lane.

Recent history

Since the 1980s Chelmsford has suffered from a decline in its defence-related industries, most notably The Marconi Company with several of its factories closing, However the town's location close to London and at the centre of Essex has helped it grow in importance as an administrative and distribution centre. The one-time largest employer in Chelmsford, R.H.P. (the former Hoffman ball bearing manufacturing Company) closed its New Street site in 1988. Some of the factory remains and have been converted into luxury apartments and a health club although most of the site was demolished to make way for the Rivermead Campus of the Anglia Ruskin University

Beaulieu Park, 'The Village' and Chancellor Park are some of the most recent large scale housing developments built in the town to compliment earlier developments such as Chelmer Village which was built throughout the 1980s.

In 2007, the Channel 4 programme "Location, Location, Location" voted Chelmsford as the 8th best place to live in the UK.

Local government and politics

Chelmsford is at the geographic and political centre of Essex and has been the county town since 1215. It is the location of the headquarters of Essex County Council at County Hall on Market Road[1] and the headquarters of Chelmsford Borough Council on Duke Street.[2] The headquarters of Essex Police are also located in the town.

Chelmsford formed part of the ancient Chelmsford hundred of Essex.[3] It was incorporated as a municipal borough in 1888,[4] under the provisions of the Municipal Corporations Act 1882. In 1934 the borough was enlarged by gaining 1,659 acres (6.71 km2) from Chelmsford Rural District, including parts of the parishes of Broomfield, Springfield, Widford and Writtle.[4] The municipal borough was abolished in 1974 and its former area was combined with most of the remainder of the rural district to form the larger Chelmsford borough.

Chelmsford is split between the constituencies of West Chelmsford, Maldon and East Chelmsford and Rayleigh. The members of Parliament are Simon Burns, John Whittingdale and Mark Francois.


Business and commerce

High Chelmer Shopping Centre

Originally an agricultural and market town, Chelmsford has been an important centre for industry since the 19th century. Following the opening of the Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation in 1797, cheaper transportation and raw materials made milling and malting the main industries until the 1850s, when increasing prosperity created a local market for agricultural machinery.

Foundries and engineering works followed including Fell Christy at his Factory (In later years known as Christy Norris Ltd) on the corner of Kings Road and Broomfield Road opened 1858, closed 1985, Coleman and Moreton, Thomas Clarkson (Steam Omnibus manufacturer and Founder of the Eastern National Bus Company) and Eddington and Stevenson (makers of traction engines). The Company Christy Norris still survives, trading as Christy Turner Ltd based in Ipswich. A nearby road to the old Factory was named "Fell Christy" in his honour.

As well as the headquarters of Essex County and Chelmsford Borough Councils, the modern town is home to a range of national and international companies including M&G Group, e2v Technologies and ebm-papst UK Ltd. The continuing importance of Chelmsford as an employment centre is demonstrated by the fact that the number of "in" commuters (mostly from other parts of Essex) almost exactly balances the number of workers commuting into London.

Chelmsford is largely a commercial town which employs around 80,000 people. There are two medium-sized shopping centres, High Chelmer and The Meadows. Chelmsford has two retail parks, Riverside and Chelmer Village. The High Street is full of independent and chain stores. As well as the leading High Street names, there is also a wide variety of specialist retailers, especially in Baddow Road and Moulsham Street which are located at the end of the pedestrianised High Street. On January 6, 2005, Chelmsford was granted Fairtrade Town status.[5]

Several years ago Chelmsford was labelled a mere clone town; however new developments are proving the statement wrong, with new business opportunities around the town. Sizeable businesses are now based in the Chelmsford Business Park at Boreham housing companies such as the Anderson Group. The town also has a low unemployment rate (1.6% in 2002) and a well-educated workforce, with 9% holding a degree or above (in 2002; British average: 7.1%).[6]

Chelmsford has a vibrant nightlife scene with many nightclubs, pubs, wine bars and restaurants in the town centre area, particularly in Duke Street, Moulsham Street, the town centre end of Baddow Road and the bottom section of Springfield Road. Its central Essex location and good public transport links make the town ideal for revellers to visit from surrounding areas.


Guglielmo Marconi
Marconi's New Street Factory in 1920
Colonel R. E. Crompton
The frontage to Colonel Crompton's former Arc Works in Writtle Road

In 1899, Guglielmo Marconi (1874–1937) the "father of radio", opened the world's first "wireless" factory under the name The Marconi Wireless Telegraph & Signal Company in Hall Street employing around 50 people. The company was later called the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company Ltd. For this reason Chelmsford is credited as the "birthplace of radio", and this phrase can be seen on administrative signs on major roads entering the town although this statement is disputed.[7][8]

Marconi soon outgrew its Hall Street premises and in June 1912 the company moved to a brand new purpose built 70,000-square-foot (6,500 m2) factory in New Street that still stands today. On June 15, 1920 the factory was the location of the first official publicised sound broadcast in the United Kingdom, featuring Dame Nellie Melba using two 450 feet (140 m) radio broadcasting masts.

In 1922 the world's first regular wireless broadcasts for entertainment began from the Marconi laboratories at Writtle near Chelmsford — Call sign '2MT' in what was little more than a wooden hut.

In 1999 Marconi's defence division, including the Chelmsford facilities, were purchased by British Aerospace to form BAE Systems. Two sites remain under BAE control; the Great Baddow site which is now BAE's Advanced Technology Centre and its Integrated Systems Technologies business at Glebe Road.

The military and secure communications division of Marconi was merged into Selex Communications was based at the New Street factory however they vacated the site in April 2008 with the remaining operations moved to nearby Basildon. The New street factory is now scheduled to be redeveloped with work planned to start during 2010.[9] Although the Grade II listed façade and a few other minor buildings will remain, most of the site will be demolished, including the 1930s art deco Marconi House. Its demise has brought to an end more than 100 years of the Marconi name in Chelmsford.

Cromptons Electrical Engineering

Chelmsford became home to the United Kingdom's first electrical engineering works established by Colonel Rookes Evelyn Bell Crompton (1845–1940). Colonel R. E. Crompton as he was better known was a leading authority of electrical engineering and was a pioneer of electric street lighting and electric traction motors within the UK. Crompton installed electric street lights around the town centre to celebrate the incorporation of the Borough of Chelmsford in 1888. Although this made Chelmsford one of the earliest towns to receive electric street lighting, the Council later decided to have it removed because gas was cheaper and the Council owned the gasworks. Crompton supplied the traction motors for the first electric trains on Southend Pier. The company also manufactured electrical switchgear, alternators and generators for many power stations in the UK and worldwide.

Crompton set up his original factory known as the 'Arc Works' in Queen Street in 1878. After a fire there in 1895[10] he built a huge new electrical engineering factory also called the 'Arc Works' in Writtle Road. The Firm was called Crompton and Co. and in 1927 became Crompton Parkinson after Colonel Crompton formed a business partnership with fellow British electrical engineer Frank Parkinson. During World War II the factory was frequently targeted by the Luftwaffe. In 1969 Crompton Parkinson Ltd was downsized and operations moved elsewhere after a takeover by Hawker Siddeley and the site was taken over by the Marconi Company and became the base for the newly formed Marconi Radar Systems Ltd.[11]

After years of decline the Marconi factory finally closed in 1992[10] and site was demolished a few years later apart from the frontage on Writtle Road. A housing development called 'The Village' now occupies the site with road names such as Rookes Crescent, Evelyn Place, Crompton Street and Parkinson Drive as tributes to the former occupant.

Hoffmann Ball Bearings

The United Kingdom's first ball bearing factory was established at New Street in Chelmsford in 1898 by cousins Geoffrey and Charles Barrett and bankrolled by American ball bearing machine manufacturer Ernst Gustav Hoffmann from whom the Company took its name. The Hoffmann Manufacturing Company rapidly expanded and soon achieved worldwide fame for their precision-made bearings boasting an accuracy better than 1/10,000 of an inch (2.5 micrometres) for all their products. Hoffmann bearings were later used in the first transatlantic flights and extensively on machinery during World War I. For many years it was Chelmsford's main employer with more employees than Marconi. The firm became R.H.P. in 1969 (Ransome Hoffmann and Pollard). The factory that once employed thousands was wound down then closed and demolished in the 1980s and the company relocated to Newark on Trent where it still exists. The Rivermead Campus of the Anglia Ruskin University now occupies the site of the old factory at the junction of New Street and Rectory Lane. The only connection to the old factory in Chelmsford today is in name only at the R.H.P. Bowls club located in Canterbury Way.

English Electric Valve Company

Original called the Phoenix Dynamo Company, the company was founded by Serge Aisenstein in 1947. It soon was noted for supplying 3" orthicons for the worldwide television transmission of the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey. The company, now known as e2v technologies plc still has its headquarters in Waterhouse Lane. In January 2007 the company celebrated 60 years in Chelmsford.


Britvic House, Britvic headquarters

Britvic's world headquarters, the Britvic House, is in Chelmsford.[12] The soft drink company began life as the British Vitamin Company in 1948. However, the origins of the company can be traced back to a chemist's in the town's Tindal Street, where flavoured waters were on sale as early as the mid-19th century. The company changed its name to Britvic in 1971 after its successful brand, which was launched in 1949. Britvic has a large factory on Widford Industrial Estate with its head office located in Broomfield Road.[13]


A licensed Chelmsford Hackney Carriage taxi


The Eastern Counties Railway arrived in Chelmsford in 1842, although owing to the geography of the town, three viaducts had to be constructed, the longest of which is the 18 arch Central Park viaduct. The station was built at the end of the second viaduct with the third viaduct at the River Chelmer at Springfield. The present-day Chelmsford railway station dates from around 1885 and is in the town centre and around 14,000 commuters travel to London Liverpool Street daily by rail making Chelmsford the busiest station outside of London which is completely non-terminus.[citation needed] The station is served by the railway franchise National Express East Anglia.

Services from Chelmsford are operated to London Liverpool Street and Ipswich, Clacton, Harwich, Braintree and Norwich, with twice hourly daytime services to Peterborough and Lowestoft. Despite having platforms elevated on a viaduct, the station has full disabled access via a lift for each of the two platforms and as well as stair access.


A new bus terminal in Duke Street opened in March 2007 which replaced an ageing 1930s Bus station. It incorporates shops and apartments and has a covered roof for passengers. This is mainly used by the First Essex Bus Company which has many routes around the town and beyond including the X30 Southend to Stansted Airport Flyer.

Essex County Council Highways & Transportation Department have considered the construction of a Bus Rapid Transit System to be built serving the Beaulieu Park/Springfield Area because of the increasing demand for Rapid Transit Plans in Ipswich, Colchester and Southend.

Chelmsford has a Park & Ride service that is based at nearby Sandon, just off the A12 at Junction 18. It runs from 7am to 7pm, Monday to Saturday with five bus stops around the town (one near High Chelmer for shopping) and charges £2.20 per adult and free for old-age pensioners or people under the age of 16. An adult weekly ticket is £11.00 and Adult monthly £42.00. It currently has a capacity of 1,200 cars. Opened in March 2006 it has proved highly successful and is widely used.


The A12 road from London, originally built by the Romans to connect London and Colchester, used to pass through the town, but is now diverted around the east. The £34.8m nine-mile (14 km) bypass opened in November 1986. The A414 is the main east-west route through the Borough, and the A130 and A131 run approximately north-south.

Chelmsford is around 25 to 30 minutes' drive from London Stansted Airport (via A130/A120), and London Heathrow, London Gatwick, London City, Luton and Southend airports are all within reach.

In the southwest of the town centre, the A138 meets the A414 at The Army and Navy roundabout which is notorious for its traffic congestion, even though the north–south road at this point is no longer part of the A12. Until 1986, when the Chelmsford bypass was opened, the roundabout was in an even worse state. Traffic lights were tried to improve matters in the early 2000s but that scheme was abandoned after a short while however some of the lights where recommissioned for early morning and evening part time use in 2009. The recently built bus lane on the A1114 Great Baddow Bypass and priority to traffic using it has meant traffic queues approaching the roundabout can now be over a mile long during peak periods.

The junction is unusual for its flyover, in a similar manner to the Hogarth Roundabout in Chiswick, London. It is bi-directional, being open where traffic goes one way into town (westerly) until 2.30 pm each day and one way (easterly) out of town after 2.30 pm. The flyover is now closed from 9pm every night. A two-way flyover has been mooted ever since the original was built in 1978: it is very unlikely to happen - the local council has stated that the cost would be prohibitive. The roundabout is still called "The Army and Navy", even though the public house from which the junction got its name has been demolished.

Licensed Hackney Carriage Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles

Following delimitation of the number of hackney carriage licences issued by the local authority in Chelmsford in 2005,[14] the number of hackney carriage taxis that can ply for hire within the Borough of Chelmsford has risen from 82 to 169[15] prompting a long running dispute between Chelmsford Borough Council and Chelmsford Taxi Association over excessive taxi license numbers within the Borough.[15][16]

At the privately owned Chelmsford railway station taxi rank,only the 116 Chelmsford Taxi Association affiliated hackney carriages are permitted to ply for hire at the station. There are 8 other taxi ranks located within the town which are designated for all Chelmsford Borough Council licensed taxis which are located at Barrack Square, Baddow Road, Bond Street, Fairfield Road, Market Road, Tindal Street, Viaduct Road and Victoria Road[17] however the Barrack Square and Viaduct Road taxi ranks mainly operate at night for visitors to the pubs and clubs within that area and the Market Road taxi rank is only used during the daytime.

Licensed hackney carriages in the Borough of Chelmsford are easily identifiable as they are predominately black in colour, have white or light blue local authority license plates on the front/rear and illuminated green 'for hire' signs inside the front windscreen and illuminated rooflights.[18] Any new hackney carriage licenses issued by the authority since delimitation in 2005, the vehicle must be purpose built, wheelchair-accessible, black in colour and have a minimum of five seats not including the driver. Licenses issued prior to delimitation the vehicles can be either saloon car design or wheelchair accessible type vehicles. Chelmsford hackney carriage taxis can be flagged down by members of the public anywhere within the Borough.

Licensed Private Hire vehicles in Chelmsford are identifiable by their yellow local authority licence plates on the front/rear of the vehicles and lack of an illuminated rooflight. These vehicles are not permitted to ply for hire and must be pre-booked by telephone. They can be of any colour. All licensed hackney carriage taxis and Private Hire vehicles in Chelmsford will have a large rectangular council identification sticker with its license number on the front doors.[18][19] Both type of licensed vehicles are required to be tested for mechanical defects by the authority twice yearly in addition to the annual MOT test.

All persons holding a dual hackney carriage or private hire driver license within the Borough of Chelmsford must meet strict criteria as laid down by the authority which includes license renewal every 2 years, a Criminal Records Bureau enhanced disclosure check every 3 years and a full medical examination every 4 years.[20]

Future transport plans

Map of route for the proposed new Chelmsford bypass

Proposals for a bypass of Chelmsford connecting the A12 interchange at Boreham (Junction 19) and the A131 were put forward for public consultation by Essex County Council in 2006, the preferred route was announced in March 2007. It comprises the creation of 7.9 km (4.9 miles) of two lane dual carriageway and junctions connecting to the A12 and A131, it will sever 10 footpaths/bridleways and involve almost entirely greenfield construction.[21] The scheme was estimated to cost £138 million in March 2007[21] but was increased to an estimated range of £229 - £ 262 million in February 2008.[22] The scheme still requires funding and planning permission with applications timetabled for 2009–2011, a public inquiry timetabled for 2012 and with an estimated construction start date of 2014-2016.[23] The Chelmsford North Action Group (NAG) objects to this scheme on the basis stating the Chelmsford was to "be engulfed by huge motorways connecting the Channel Ports, via a new Lower Thames Crossing, A130, on to Stansted, M11 and A14".[24]

A Park and Ride scheme in Chelmer Valley, additional to that at Sandon, is to begin construction in March 2010 at a price of £7.9 million.[25] There has been criticism of the park and ride as some worry it would be unable to provide a service to the nearby Broomfield Hospital from the proposed site.[26]

A new second railway station for the town was announced in September 2009 and is due to be built near the Boreham Interchange. Completion for the project is likely to be in 2015.[27]


Melbourne Court seen here before the 2008 redevelopment
The "Kings Tower" during construction late 2006
The former Chain Home Radar Tower in Great Baddow Chelmsford
The Shire Hall Chelmsford
Hylands House
The River Can in the town centre with part of the 1960s flood prevention scheme clearly visible

A major new development was completed in 2007 in the West End of Chelmsford just off Duke Street called "53 Park Central" which contains a new Bus Station, shops and luxury apartments. The lower level apartments of this development and the Bus Station area are sometimes called 'The Marconi Plaza', while the upper level apartments are part of the "Kings Tower". The Bus Station and shops were opened in January 2007 while the rest of the development was ready in September 2007.

Another site near the large suburb of Springfield is in its planning stages. It will be a new neighbourhood which will be an urban village containing 3,500 homes. This would include a new Chelmsford North East Bypass connecting the A12 interchange at Boreham (Junction 19) and the A131.[21]

The Public House "The Army and Navy" from which the notorious roundabout gets its name was demolished in March 2007. It was replaced by a Travelodge Hotel, a Frankie & Benny's Restaurant, a bed store and private flats. Building work started at the site in October 2007 and the project was completed in December 2008.

Chelmsford's tallest building,[28] Melbourne Court in Melbourne Avenue has received an £8,000,000 investment for extensive refurbishment and to create a new Neighbourhood Centre. This was completed early in 2009. Recently plans were revealed for 'Waterside', a large development of shops, bars and restaurants on the banks of the River Chelmer on derelict land near the Essex Records Office at the end of Wharf Road. If this development goes ahead, High Bridge Road connecting Parkway and Springfield Road would be demolished along with the adjacent gasometers and a new central link road would be built.

Another development recently finished is 'The Hub' in Waterloo Lane. This contains luxury apartments and two Restaurants. There are other new developments ongoing throughout the town during 2009 including new private flats on the former car dealership on the corner of Rainsford Road and Parkway.

The former Anglia Ruskin University central campus off Victoria Road South will be demolished and extensively redeveloped in the next year or so for retail and leisure use. Most of the former Marconi factory in New Street will also be completely redeveloped.

The town's High Chelmer Shopping Centre has recently undergone a refit, with new flooring, lighting and a new front entrance and logo re-brand.

Places of interest

There are many places of interest within Chelmsford, including the 18-arch Victorian railway viaduct that spans the River Can in Central Park. One of three railway viaducts in the town that carry the Great Eastern Main Line. The Viaduct was constructed during 1842 by the Eastern Counties Railway Company and opened for passenger traffic on 29 March 1843.[29] Chelmsford Cathedral which is located directly behind The Shire Hall. Originally called St Mary's Church, it became a Cathedral when the Diocese of Chelmsford was created in 1914. It is officially the second smallest in England behind Derby Cathedral.[citation needed]

Chelmsford's two tallest buildings are Melbourne Court built in 1962 in Melbourne Avenue, locally known as Melbourne flats, and the new development completed in 2007, the 13-floor "Kings Tower" in Duke Street. They share the same height of 141.04 feet (42.99 m). The tallest structure by far in the Chelmsford area is the former Chain Home radar tower in the urban village Great Baddow which rises to 360 ft (110 m). It originally stood at Canewdon but was reassembled in Chelmsford in 1959[30] and is the only Chain Home tower still in its original unmodified form in the UK. It is a highly visible landmark throughout the town and surrounding area.

The Shire Hall is situated at the top of the High Street. Opened in July 1791 and built by local Architect and Essex County Surveyor John Johnson, it features a Portland Stone façade. One of the oldest and most prominent buildings in Chelmsford, it was built as a courthouse, which it has remained to this day.

Chelmsford Prison is a male prison and Young Offenders Institution, constructed in Chelmsford in 1830. The 1979 film special of the TV series Porridge was filmed largely on location at Chelmsford Prison (while it was closed for repairs after a fire). The prison itself courted controversy for many years for its poor conditions, and was branded one of the worst jails in the country by the Chief Inspector of Prisons in 2003.

Hylands House and Park just to the west of the town is a country house and parkland, saved from dereliction and purchased by the local council in 1966 after the death of the last private owner. Much damaged by fire and vandalism by the time of the sale, the house has now been completely restored by Chelmsford Borough Council. The house dates originally from 1730, and the park, currently 574 acres (2.32 km2) was landscaped by Humphry Repton. It is open to the public and used for a wide range of community events, including the annual music festival V Festival. It is also available for weddings and other private hires including conferences etc.

Chelmsford Museum is a local history museum, showing the development of the town from prehistory up to Tudor times. It goes no further at the moment because of an imminent Museum redevelopment project which began in June 2008. The Museum is housed in Oaklands Park, off Moulsham Street where the Essex Regiment Museum can also be found. This Museum will be closed from April 2008 until about November 2009, when the redevelopment work has been completed. The Museum holds pottery including Castle Hedingham ware and the Turner Prize winner Grayson Perry. There is a live beehive and a collection of beautiful 18th century glasses which were recently featured on the BBC TV programme 'Flog It!'.

Geography and climate


From over 600,000 years ago, during the Pleistocene ice age, until the Anglian Stage around 478,000 to 424,000 years ago, the early River Thames flowed through the area where Chelmsford now stands, from Harlow to Colchester, before crossing what is now the North Sea to become a tributary of the Rhine. Consequently gravel deposits are frequently found in the area and current and former gravel pits in the district are common.

Chelmsford has two rivers, the River Can and the River Chelmer. Although often confused to be the same river in the town centre, they are quite separate until they join together towards the east of the town to form the Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation which heads out towards Maldon before flowing into tidal waters at the Blackwater Estuary. In the other direction the Chelmer comes from the north from its source near Thaxted while the Can comes from the West from Writtle where it separates from the River Wid.

Up to the 1960s these rivers were extremely prone to flooding the town centre area including two disastrous floods in August 1888 (known locally as 'The Great Flood') and in September 1958 (which also badly affected nearby Wickford) causing widespread damage. Flood prevention schemes in the 1960s on both rivers have largely prevented any further incidents here although the natural floodplains to the north and east such as The 'Baddow Meads' and The 'Chelmer Valley' continue to see flooding on a regular basis especially after prolonged heavy rainfall.


Being in the southeast of England, the town enjoys a warmer climate than most of the United Kingdom and has some of the hottest summers in Britain; it is also one of the driest places in the country. Temperatures can often reach 30 °C (86.0°F) in the summer although this figure was last achieved in 2006. The hottest day on record in the town was on the UK-wide temperature record breaking day of Sunday August 10, 2003 when 35.2 °C (95.4°F) was recorded. Thunderstorms mostly occur during July and August; however, they can occur anytime of the year.

During the winter the temperature rarely stays below 0 °C (32.0°F) during the day and even with nighttime winter temperatures, it is extremely rare for it to fall below -5 °C (23.0°F); hence air, hoar and ground frost together with freezing fog is very common from November through to March. The coldest temperature recorded in recent times in Chelmsford is -18 °C (0.4°F) in January 1985.

Snow although infrequent is sometimes seen in the winter months because the town is near the east coast where cold, moist air is brought in from the North Sea. In recent years there has been up to three inches (8 cm) of snow on days in January and February which has resulted in minor disruption to transport and caused some schools to close. However, the snow tends not to persist for a significant length of time in any noticeable quantity. The last substantial snowfalls in Chelmsford were on 14 February 1991 and 7 January 1982 when around 18 inches (46 cm) to 24 inches (61 cm) fell.

Climate data for Chelmsford
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 7.2
Average low °C (°F) 2.8
Precipitation mm (inches) 51
Source: MSN Weather 2009


John Dee, noted Elizabethan philosopher, magician and scientist and also responsible for the introduction to the first English translation of Euclid was educated at the Chantry School (later re-founded as the Grammar School) in the sixteenth century.

Chelmsford is also home to part of the Anglia Ruskin University (formerly called Anglia Polytechnic) and to the grammar schools of Chelmsford County High School and King Edward VI Grammar School, founded in 1551 by charter of King Edward VI on the site of an earlier educational foundation (although evidence suggests it could have been around as early as 1292).

A Catholic Secondary School in the area is St John Payne Catholic Comprehensive School. New Hall School, founded in 1642, is a private, Catholic boarding school which caters to pupils from the age of 3 right through to sixth form. The New Hall building, previously named Palace of Beaulieu[31] has great history including that of Henry VII.[32]

Chelmsford College is the main provider of further education in the borough. Established in the early 1960s, the college occupies three sites in the town. The main site on Moulsham Street dates from the 1960s and the Princes Road site is a late 1980s building. There are around 2000 fulltime and 2,100 parttime students enrolled in a wide range of academic, vocational and occupational programmes.

Educational establishments in Chelmsford include:

Society and culture


Chelmsford is home to local radio station Chelmsford Radio,[34] but it does not broadcast from the town. The station recently moved to studios in Southend having vacated its Heybridge premises on 12 January 2009. The station was originally situated in Chelmsford until November 2006. This station was previously known as Dream 107.7 until February, and before that, 107.7 Chelmer FM up to 2002. The station began broadcasting on 18 October 1998. It is the local station for mid-Essex. Adventure Radio have owned this station since 2008, where it was purchased from Tindle Radio Ltd.

Chelmsford also has a local opt-out of Heart FM. Heart Essex (previously Essex FM up to June 2009) has been on air since 12 September 1981 and has been owned by Global Radio since 2007. It moved to studios in Glebe Road in late 2004, having previously been based in Southend-on-Sea. In May 2009 the station was rebranded to The Heart of Essex, Essex FM. In June 2009, the popular Essex FM née Essex Radio name brand was dropped after 28 years.

BBC Essex has been on air since 5 November 1986 and its studios are based in New London Road.

Publications based in Chelmsford include the Essex Chronicle, which was founded as the "Chelmsford Chronicle" in 1764. The weekly "Essex Chronicle" newspaper is the longest in continuous publication in the country.[citation needed] Until the closure of the printing plant in 2002, the paper was also printed in the town. It is now printed on presses by the Northcliffe Group which now owns the paper. Chelmsford Weekly News is a free local paper delivered to every home.

The fictional town of Framley in the newspaper satire The Framley Examiner is largely based on Chelmsford, along with surrounding areas such as Writtle (called Wripple).


Chelmsford Cathedral is the second smallest cathedral in England after Derby Cathedral.[citation needed] It was built in the 15th and early 16th centuries, when it was the parish church of the prosperous medieval town. The Diocese of Chelmsford was established in 1914 from part of the Diocese of St Albans. It covers all of Essex and much of East London. Chelmsford is also situated in the Roman Catholic diocese of Brentwood. With the coming of the Reformation the Catholic community of Chelmsford was subjected to the anti-Catholic laws and Chelmsford was the site of the death of a Catholic martyr, Saint John Payne. In the 19th century native Catholics resurfaced and immigrants helped to build up the Catholic community. There are now three Catholic churches within Chelmsford along with a Norbertine canonry situated on New London Road; St. Philip's Priory. Other denominations are also represented, the United Reformed Church, Baptists and the Seventh-day Adventist Church all have places of worship. There also exists a mosque and a Jewish burial society, though as yet no synagogue.


Essex County Cricket Club is one of the 18 major county clubs which make up the English domestic Cricket structure, representing the county of Essex. The club is based at the County Ground in New Writtle Street.

Chelmsford City Football Club play in the Blue Square South Division. The Club's home ground is at the Chelmsford Sport & Athletics Centre, Melbourne Park where they share with Chelmsford Athletic Club. Chelmsford is one of the largest settlements in England without a Football League team.

Chelmsford Hockey Club is a Men's and Ladies' (field) hockey Club based in the County of Essex (England). It has over one hundred and fifty regular adult playing members, of all ages and abilities, as well as a thriving youth section. It fields eight Men's teams and five Ladies' teams every weekend, including two Men's Veterans' XI's. The Ladies' 1st XI compete in the English Hockey League Premier Division and the Men's 1st XI compete in the English Hockey League Division 1. The remaining Men's teams play in the East League while the other Ladies' XIs play in the East Premier League and Essex League. The Club is undoubtedly one of the most successful Hockey Clubs in the country.

The Chelmsford Chieftains are an Ice Hockey Team that are based at the Riverside Ice and Leisure Centre and play in the English National Ice Hockey League.

The Chelmsford Rugby Football Club was established in 1920 and for the last 40 years have been playing rugby at Coronation Park, Timpsons Lane, Chelmsford. At present there are around 330 members and the club fields up to five senior teams each week. Chelmsford currently (2008) play in London Division North East 3 division. In addition to the senior teams there are 150 Mini/Youth members providing teams from under 6’s to under 17’s.

For the last seven years a Ladies' team has been established, although owing to the lack of proper facilities they only play on an irregular basis.


Hylands Park hosts the annual V Festival every penultimate weekend in August since 1996. The 21st World Scout Jamboree 2007 was also held at Hylands Park from 27 July to 8 August 2007.

Chelmsford is home of Essex street diversions, East Anglia's largest festival of international street theatre and the 3 foot People Festival, the UK's only 4-day festival exclusively for under-5-year-olds.[citation needed]

Notable people born in Chelmsford

Statue of Sir Nicholas Conyngham Tindal, Tindal Square Chelmsford.

Nearest places

Twin towns

Chelmsford's official twin towns[54] are:

Further reading

  • Foreman, Stephen: Hylands — the story of an Essex country house and its owners (Ian Henry Publications, 1999)
  • Lee, Janet Olivia: Chelmsford — Birthplace of Radio (Chelmsford Borough Council, 2001)
  • Lowen, Ceri: Hylands House — a brief history and guide (Chelmsford Borough Council, 2005)
  • Wander, Tim: 2MT Writtle — The birth of British Broadcasting (Capella Publications, 1988)
  • Weller-Lewis, Hugh: Chelmsford Borough Guide (Macmillan, 1995)
  • Wickenden, Nick: A Celebration of Chelmsford (Chelmsford Borough Council, 1999)
  • a town, its people and its past (Chelmsford Record Office, 1988)
  • Grieve, Hilda: The Sleepers and the Shadows Volume 2 Chelmsford: a town, its people and its past (Chelmsford Record Office, 1994)
  • Begent, Andrew: Chelmsford At War (Ian Henry Publications Ltd, 1999)
  • Torry, Gilbert: Chelmsford through the ages (East Anglian Magazine Ltd, 1977)


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  2. ^ Chelmford Borough Council - Contact Us. Retrieved 24 December 2007.
  3. ^ Vision of Britain - Chelmsford hundred (historic map). Retrieved 24 December 2007.
  4. ^ a b Vision of Britain - Chelmsford MB (historic map). Retrieved 24 December 2007.
  5. ^ Fairtrade Foundation - [1]. Retrieved 18 February 2008.
  6. ^ Chelmsford Borough Council - Key Statistics About Chelmsford. Retrieved 24 December 2007.
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  9. ^ Project Wireless Consultation - Newsletter Issue 1: Winter 2006. Retrieved 24 December 2007.
  10. ^ a b "Seax Archeaology - Unlocking Essex's Past".,80. Retrieved 2009-08-30. 
  11. ^ Simons, R. & Sutherland, J., Forty Years of Marconi Radar from 1946 to 1986, GEC Review, (1998). Retrieved 24 December 2007.
  12. ^ "Chelmsford - Broomfield Road." Britvic. Retrieved on 29 August 2009.
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  17. ^ "Chelmsford Borough Council - Taxi Ranks". Retrieved 2009-08-30. 
  18. ^ a b "Chelmsford Borough Council - Hackney Carriages". Retrieved 2009-08-30. 
  19. ^ "Chelmsford Borough Council - Private Hire Vehicles". 2007-01-01. Retrieved 2009-08-30. 
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  21. ^ a b c "Cabinet Report Chelmsford NE Bypass". Essex County Council. Retrieved 2008-11-18. 
  22. ^ "Chelmsford NE Bypass consultation January 2008 – Board 9". Essex County Council. Retrieved 2008-11-18. 
  23. ^ "When will the bypass happen?". Essex County Council. Retrieved 2008-11-18. 
  24. ^ "Chelmsford North Action Group (NAG)". 
  25. ^ "Chelmer Valley Park and Ride". Essex County Council. Retrieved 2009-08-14. 
  26. ^ Cllr Chris Rycroft (August 27, 2008). "Give thought to park and ride to hospital". Retrieved 2009-10-05. 
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  29. ^ Essex Chronicle Archive 24 March 1843, Essex Record Office
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  31. ^ "Palace of Beaulieu - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia". Retrieved 2009-08-30. 
  32. ^ "Home". New Hall School. Retrieved 2009-08-30. 
  33. ^
  34. ^ Chelmsford Radio
  35. ^ "Najma Biography: Contemporary Musicians". Retrieved 2009-08-30. 
  36. ^ Dewhurst, Tony. "Big Interview: Liam Chilvers - Lancashire Evening Post". Retrieved 2009-08-30. 
  37. ^ "Saint Etienne - news, pictures, reviews, biography, videos, best songs, discography, books, DVDs, concerts, gossip, pictures and tour dates". 2009-07-17. Retrieved 2009-08-30. 
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  39. ^ "British Swimming & The ASA : James Gibson MBE". 1980-02-06.,8510,5157-182674-199892-43108-270651-custom-item,00.html. Retrieved 2009-08-30. 
  40. ^ "Halford happy to be Mr Versatile : Express & Star". 2009-07-15. Retrieved 2009-08-30. 
  41. ^ "A Cambridge Alumni Database". University of Cambridge. Retrieved 2009-10-06. 
  42. ^ "Sir Geoff Hurst - A Football Legend Profile". Retrieved 2009-08-30. 
  43. ^ "Drum 'n' bass is enjoying a resurgence - and the old names from the Nineties are back - Features, Music". The Independent. 2007-01-31. Retrieved 2009-08-30. 
  44. ^ Joe Muggs Published: 12:01AM GMT 04 Mar 2004 (2004-03-04). "Pushing the boundaries". Telegraph. Retrieved 2009-08-30. 
  45. ^ "Girls line up to meet McFly in Leigh (From Echo)". 2007-10-27. Retrieved 2009-08-30. 
  46. ^ "City of Calgary Archives". City of Calgary. Retrieved 2009-10-06. 
  47. ^ "Key historical individuals". Understanding Slavery. Retrieved 2009-10-06. 
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  49. ^ Rampton, James (2009-04-25). "On set - Best: His Mother's Son". Telegraph. Retrieved 2009-08-30. 
  50. ^ "Entertainment | Profile: Turner winner Grayson Perry". BBC News. 2003-12-08. Retrieved 2009-08-30. 
  51. ^ Swindells, Matt. "Spink's been there, done that". Wigan Today. Retrieved 2009-08-30. 
  52. ^
  53. ^ "Article: Harper snubs Ghana. | AccessMyLibrary - Promoting library advocacy". AccessMyLibrary. 2006-04-27. Retrieved 2009-08-30. 
  54. ^

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Charles Dickens article)

From Wikiquote

No one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of it to anyone else.

Charles John Huffam Dickens, FRSA (1812-02-071870-06-09) was the foremost English novelist of the Victorian era, as well as a vigorous social campaigner.


See also


  • If any one were to ask me what in my opinion was the dullest and most stupid spot on the face of the Earth, I should decidedly say Chelmsford.
    • Letter to Thomas Beard (January 11, 1835), in Madeline House, et al., The Letters of Charles Dickens (1965), p. 53.
  • To conceal anything from those to whom I am attached, is not in my nature. I can never close my lips where I have opened my heart.
  • The bright old day now dawns again; the cry runs through the the land,
    In England there shall be dear bread—in Ireland, sword and brand;
    And poverty, and ignorance, shall swell the rich and grand,
    So, rally round the rulers with the gentle iron hand,
    Of the fine old English Tory days;
    Hail to the coming time!
    • The Fine Old English Gentleman (1841)
  • Wherever religion is resorted to as a strong drink, and as an escape from the dull, monotonous round of home, those of its ministers who pepper the highest will be the surest to please. They who strew the Eternal Path with the greatest amount of brimstone, and who most ruthlessly tread down the flowers and leaves that grow by the wayside, will be voted the most righteous; and they who enlarge with the greatest pertinacity on the difficulty of getting into heaven will be considered, by all true believers, certain of going there: though it would be hard to say by what process of reasoning this conclusion is arrived at.
    • American Notes (1842), ch. 3
  • I am quite serious when I say that I do not believe there are, on the whole earth besides, so many intensified bores as in these United States. No man can form an adequate idea of the real meaning of the word, without coming here.
    • Comment, March 1842, while on an American tour. Quoted in Hesketh Pearson's Dickens, ch. 8 (1949)
  • O let us love our occupations,
    Bless the squire and his relations,
    Live upon our daily rations,
    And always know our proper stations.
  • La difficulté d'écrire l'anglais m'est extrêmement ennuyeuse. Ah, mon Dieu ! si l'on pouvait toujours écrire cette belle langue de France!
    • Translation: The difficulty of writing English is most tiresome to me. My God! If only we could write this beautiful language of France at all times!
    • Letter to John Foster (1850-07-07)
  • It was a good thing to have a couple of thousand people all rigid and frozen together, in the palm of one's hand.
    • About having a book
    • Letter to Mrs. Richard Watson (1857-12-07)
  • I have known a vast quantity of nonsense talked about bad men not looking you in the face. Don't trust that conventional idea. Dishonesty will stare honesty out of countenance, any day in the week, if there is anything to be got by it.
  • Resisting the slow touch of a frozen finger tracing out my spine.

Sketches by Boz (1836-1837)

  • The dignity of his office is never impaired by the absence of efforts on his part to maintain it.
    • Our Parish, ch. 1
  • He is not, as he forcibly remarks, ‘one of those fortunate men who, if they were to dive under one side of a barge stark–naked, would come up on the other with a new suit of clothes on, and a ticket for soup in the waistcoat–pocket:’ neither is he one of those, whose spirit has been broken beyond redemption by misfortune and want. He is just one of the careless, good–for–nothing, happy fellows, who float, cork–like, on the surface, for the world to play at hockey with: knocked here, and there, and everywhere: now to the right, then to the left, again up in the air, and anon to the bottom, but always reappearing and bounding with the stream buoyantly and merrily along.
    • Our Parish, ch. 5
  • The civility which money will purchase, is rarely extended to those who have none.
    • Our Parish, ch. 5
  • I used to sit, think, think, thinking, till I felt as lonesome as a kitten in a wash–house copper with the lid on.
    • Our Parish, ch. 5
  • Reflect upon your present blessings — of which every man has many — not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.
    • Characters, ch. 2
  • Minerva House ... was "a finishing establishment for young ladies," where some twenty girls of the ages from thirteen to nineteen inclusive, acquired a smattering of everything and a knowledge of nothing.
    • Tales, ch. 3

The Old Curiosity Shop (1841)

  • What is the odds so long as the fire of soul is kindled at the taper of conwiviality, and the wing of friendship never moults a feather! What is the odds so long as the spirit is expanded by means of rosy wine, and the present moment is the least happiest of our existence!
    • Ch. 2
  • She's the ornament of her sex.
    • Ch. 5
  • Fan the sinking flame of hilarity with the wing of friendship; and pass the rosy wine.
    • Ch. 7
  • Send forth the child and childish man together, and blush for the pride that libels our own old happy state, and gives its title to an ugly and distorted image.
    • Ch. 12
  • The very dogs were all asleep, and the flies, drunk with moist sugar in the grocer’s shop, forgot their wings and briskness, and baked to death in dusty corners of the window.
    • Ch. 27
  • In mind, she was of a strong and vigorous turn, having from her earliest youth devoted herself with uncommon ardour to the study of the law; not wasting her speculations upon its eagle flights, which are rare, but tracing it attentively through all the slippery and eel-like crawlings in which it commonly pursues its way.
    • Ch. 33
  • Under an accumulation of staggerers, no man can be considered a free agent. No man knocks himself down; if his destiny knocks him down, his destiny must pick him up again.
    • Ch. 34
  • It was a maxim with Mr. Brass that the habit of paying compliments kept a man’s tongue oiled without any expense; and that, as that useful member ought never to grow rusty or creak in turning on its hinges in the case of a practitioner of the law, in whom it should be always glib and easy, he lost few opportunities of improving himself by the utterance of handsome speeches and eulogistic expressions.
    • Ch. 35
  • In love of home, the love of country has its rise.
    • Ch. 38
  • That vague kind of penitence which holidays awaken next morning.
    • Ch. 40
  • If there were no bad people, there would be no good lawyers.
    • Ch. 56
  • "Did you ever taste beer?" "I had a sip of it once," said the small servant. "Here's a state of things!" cried Mr Swiveller, raising his eyes to the ceiling. "She never tasted it — it can't be tasted in a sip!"
    • Ch. 57
  • You will not have forgotten that it was a maxim with Foxey — our revered father, gentlemen — "Always suspect everybody." That's the maxim to go through life with!
    • Ch. 66

Barnaby Rudge (1841)

  • And you'd find your father rather a tough customer in argeyment, Joe, if anybody was to try and tackle him.
    • Ch. 1
  • Mrs Varden was a lady of what is commonly called an uncertain temper — a phrase which being interpreted signifies a temper tolerably certain to make everybody more or less uncomfortable.
    • Ch. 7
  • Whether they were right or wrong in this conjecture, certain it is that minds, like bodies, will often fall into a pimpled ill-conditioned state from mere excess of comfort, and like them, are often successfully cured by remedies in themselves very nauseous and unpalatable.
    • Ch. 7
  • To be shelterless and alone in the open country, hearing the wind moan and watching for day through the whole long weary night; to listen to the falling rain, and crouch for warmth beneath the lee of some old barn or rick, or in the hollow of a tree; are dismal things—but not so dismal as the wandering up and down where shelter is, and beds and sleepers are by thousands; a houseless rejected creature.
    • Ch. 18
  • "There are strings," said Mr Tappertit, flourishing his bread-and- cheese knife in the air, "in the human heart that had better not be wibrated. That's what's the matter."
    • Ch. 22
  • The serjeant was describing a military life. It was all drinking, he said, except that there were frequent intervals of eating and love-making.
    • Ch. 31
  • Oh gracious, why wasn't I born old and ugly?
    • Ch. 70
  • The men who learn endurance, are they who call the whole world brother.
    • Ch. 79

Dombey and Son (1846-1848)

  • He’s tough, ma’am,—tough is J. B.; tough and devilish sly.
    • Ch. 7
  • "I want to know what it says," he answered, looking steadily in her face. "The sea Floy, what is it that it keeps on saying?"
    • Ch. 8
  • "Wal'r, my boy," replied the Captain, "in the Proverbs of Solomon you will find the following words, 'May we never want a friend in need, nor a bottle to give him!' When found, make a note of."
    • Ch. 15
  • Cows are my passion.
    • Ch. 21
  • The bearings of this observation lays in the application on it.
    • Ch. 23
  • If you could see my legs when I take my boots off, you'd form some idea of what unrequited affection is.
    • Ch. 48
  • …vices are sometimes only virtues carried to excess!
    • Ch. 48

Bleak House (1852-1853)

  • Jarndyce and Jarndyce drones on. This scarecrow of a suit, has, in course of time, become so complicated that no man alive knows what it means. The parties to it understand it least; but it has been observed that no two Chancery lawyers can talk about it for five minutes, without coming to total disagreement as to all the premises.
    • Ch. 1
  • This is the Court of Chancery, which has its decaying houses and its blighted lands in every shire, which has its worn-out lunatic in every madhouse and its dead in every churchyard, which has its ruined suitor with his slipshod heels and threadbare dress borrowing and begging through the round of every man's acquaintance, which gives to monied might the means abundantly of wearying out the right, which so exhausts finances, patience, courage, hope, so overthrows the brain and breaks the heart, that there is not an honourable man among its practitioners who would not give--who does not often give--the warning, "Suffer any wrong that can be done you rather than come here!"
    • Ch. 1
  • He is a gentleman of strict conscience, disdainful of all littleness and meanness and ready on the shortest notice to die any death you may please to mention rather than give occasion for the least impeachment of his integrity. He is an honourable, obstinate, truthful, high-spirited, intensely prejudiced, perfectly unreasonable man.
    • Ch. 2
  • "Oh, dear no, miss," he said. "This is a London particular." I had never heard of such a thing. "A fog, miss," said the young gentleman. "Oh, indeed!" said I.
    • Ch. 3
  • I only ask to be free. The butterflies are free. Mankind will surely not deny to Harold Skimpole what it concedes to the butterflies!
    • Ch. 6
  • Not to put too fine a point on it.
    • Ch. 11
  • He had a cane, he had an eye-glass, he had a snuff-box, he had rings, he had wristbands, he had everything but any touch of nature; he was not like youth, he was not like age, he was not like anything in the world but a model of deportment.
    • Ch. 14
  • Mr. Chadband is a large yellow man, with a fat smile, and a general appearance of having a good deal of train oil in his system.
    • Ch. 19
  • It’s my old girl that advises. She has the head. But I never own to it before her. Discipline must be maintained.
    • Ch. 22
  • 'Don't you be afraid of hurting the boy,' he says.
    • Ch. 27
  • It is a melancholy truth that even great men have their poor relations.
    • Ch. 28
  • Not to put too fine a point upon it.
    • Chapter 32.
  • Take care, while you are young, that you can think in those days, 'I never whitened a hair of her dear head, I never marked a sorrowful line in her face!' For of all the many things that you can think when you are a man, you had better have that by you, Woolwich!
    • Ch.34
  • Dead, your Majesty. Dead, my lords and gentlemen. Dead, Right Reverends and Wrong Reverends of every order. Dead, men and women, born with Heavenly compassion in your hearts. And dying thus around us every day.
    • Ch. 47

Hard Times (1854)

  • Now, what I want is, Facts. Teach these boys and girls nothing but Facts. Facts alone are wanted in life. Plant nothing else, and root out everything else. You can only form the minds of reasoning animals upon Facts: nothing else will ever be of any service to them. This is the principle on which I bring up my own children, and this is the principle on which I bring up these children. Stick to Facts, sir!
    • Bk. I, Ch. 1
  • Oh my friends, the down-trodden operatives of Coketown! Oh my friends and fellow-countrymen, the slaves of an ironhanded and a grinding despotism! Oh my friends and fellow-sufferers, and fellow-workmen, and fellow-men! I tell you that the hour is come, when we must rally round one another as One united power, and crumble into dust the oppressors that too long have battened upon the plunder of our families, upon the sweat of our brows, upon the labour of our hands, upon the strength of our sinews, upon the God-created glorious rights of Humanity, and upon the holy and eternal privileges of Brotherhood!
    • Bk. II, Ch. 4
  • There is a wisdom of the Head, and ... there is a wisdom of the Heart.
    • Bk. III, Ch. 1

Little Dorrit (1855-1857)

  • A prison taint was on everything there. The imprisoned air, the imprisoned light, the imprisoned damps, the imprisoned men, were all deteriorated by confinement. As the captive men were faded and haggard, so the iron was rusty, the stone was slimy, the wood was rotten, the air was faint, the light was dim. Like a well, like a vault, like a tomb, the prison had no knowledge of the brightness outside; and would have kept its polluted atmosphere intact, in one of the spice islands of the Indian Ocean.
    • Bk. I, Ch. 1
  • I am the only child of parents who weighed, measured, and priced everything; for whom what could not be weighed, measured, and priced, had no existence.
    • Bk. I, Ch. 2
  • The Circumlocution Office was (as everybody knows without being told) the most important Department under Government. No public business of any kind could possibly be done at any time without the acquiescence of the Circumlocution Office. Its finger was in the largest public pie, and in the smallest public tart. It was equally impossible to do the plainest right and to undo the plainest wrong without the express authority of the Circumlocution Office.
    • Bk. I, Ch. 10
  • Whatever was required to be done, the Circumlocution Office was beforehand with all the public departments in the art of perceiving — HOW NOT TO DO IT.
    • Bk. I, Ch. 10
  • The Barnacles were a very high family, and a very large family. They were dispersed all over the public offices, and held all sorts of public places. Either the nation was under a load of obligation to the Barnacles, or the Barnacles were under a load of obligation to the nation. It was not quite unanimously settled which; the Barnacles having their opinion, the nation theirs.
    • Bk. I, Ch. 10
  • A person who can't pay, gets another person who can't pay, to guarantee that he can pay. Like a person with two wooden legs getting another person with two wooden legs, to guarantee that he has got two natural legs. It don't make either of them able to do a walking match.
    • Bk. I, Ch. 23
  • I revere the memory of Mr. F. as an estimable man and most indulgent husband, only necessary to mention Asparagus and it appeared or to hint at any little delicate thing to drink and it came like magic in a pint bottle; it was not ecstasy but it was comfort.
    • Bk. I, Ch. 24
  • "Papa is a preferable mode of address," observed Mrs General. "Father is rather vulgar, my dear. The word Papa, besides, gives a pretty form to the lips. Papa, potatoes, poultry, prunes, and prism are all very good words for the lips: especially prunes and prism. You will find it serviceable, in the formation of a demeanour, if you sometimes say to yourself in company — on entering a room, for instance — Papa, potatoes, poultry, prunes and prism, prunes and prism.
    • Bk. II, Ch. 5
  • Whatever was required to be done, the Circumlocution Office was beforehand with all the public departments in the art of perceiving HOW NOT TO DO IT.
    • Bk. II, Ch. 10
  • Once a gentleman, and always a gentleman.
    • Bk. II, Ch. 28

Great Expectations (1860-1861)

  • Now, I ain't alone, as you may think I am. There's a young man hid with me, in comparison with which young man I am a angel. That young man hears the words I speak. That young man has a secret way pecooliar to himself of getting at a boy, and at his heart, and at his liver. It is in wain for a boy to attempt to hide himself from that young man. A boy may lock his door, may be warm in bed, may tuck himself up, may draw the clothes over his head, may think himself comfortable and safe, but that young man will softly creep and creep his way to him and tear him open.
    • Ch. 1
  • Mrs. Joe was a very clean housekeeper, but had an exquisite art of making her cleanliness more uncomfortable and unacceptable than the dirt itself. Cleanliness is next to Godliness, and some people do the same by religion.
    • Ch. 4
  • I had been to see Macbeth at the theatre a night or two before and she reminded me of the faces rising out of the witches' cauldron.
    • Ch. 5; Pip describes Molly, Mr. Jaggers' housekeeper
  • In the little world in which children have their existence whosoever brings them up, there is nothing so finely perceived and so finely felt, as injustice. It may be only small injustice that the child can be exposed to; but the child is small, and its world is small, and its rocking-horse stands as many hands high, according to scale, as a big-boned Irish hunter.
    • Ch. 9
  • That was a memorable day to me, for it made great changes in me. But, it is the same with any life. Imagine one selected day struck out of it, and think how different it's course would have been. Pause you who read this, and think for the moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation of the first link on one memorable day.
    • Ch. 9
  • My guiding star always is, Get hold of portable property.
    • Ch. 24
  • Throughout life, our worst weaknesses and meannesses are usually committed for the sake of the people we most despise.
    • Ch. 27
  • Pip, dear old chap, life is made of ever so many partings welded together...
    • Ch. 27
  • All the truth of my position came flashing on me; and its disappointments, dangers, disgraces, consequences of all kinds, rushed in in such a multitude that I was borne down by them and had to struggle for every breath I drew.
    • Ch. 39
  • Take nothing on its looks; take everything on evidence. There's no better rule.
    • Ch. 40
  • Compeyson's business was the swindling, hand writing forging, stolen bank-note passing, and such-like. All sorts of traps as Compeyson could set with his head, and keep his own legs out of and get the profits from and let another man in for, was Compeyson's business. He'd no more heart than a iron file he was as cold as death, and he had the head of the Devil afore mentioned.
    • Ch. 42

Our Mutual Friend (1864-1865)

  • Money and goods are certainly the best of references.
    • Bk. I, Ch. 4
  • Professionally he declines and falls, and as a friend he drops into poetry.
    • Bk. I, Ch. 5
  • I want to be something so much worthier than the doll in the doll's house.
    • Bk. I, Ch. 55
  • I don't care whether I am a Minx or a Sphinx.
    • Bk. II, Ch. 8
  • "And if it's proud to have a heart that never hardens, and a temper that never tires, and a touch that never hurts," Miss Jenny struck in, flushed, "she is proud."
    • Bk. III, Ch. 2
  • That's the state to live and die in!...R-r-rich!
    • Bk. III, Ch. 5
  • We must scrunch or be scrunched.
    • Bk. III, Ch. 5
  • 'No one is useless in this world,' retorted the Secretary, 'who lightens the burden of it for any one else.'
    • Bk. III, Ch. 9


  • "Well, every one for himself, and Providence for us all--as the elephant said when he danced among the chickens."

About Charles Dickens

  • The soul of Hogarth has migrated into the body of Dickens.
  • There is no contemporary English writer whose works are read so generally through the whole house, who can give pleasure to the servants as well as to the mistress, to the children as well as to the master.
  • He describes London like a special correspondent for posterity.
  • The greatest of superficial novelists... It were, in our opinion, an offense against humanity to place Mr Dickens among the greatest novelists.
  • He had a large loving mind and the strongest sympathy with the poorer classes. He felt sure a better feeling, and much greater union of classes, would take place in time. And I pray earnestly it may.
  • Dickens was a pure modernist — a leader of the steam-whistle party par excellence — and he had no understanding of any power of antiquity except a sort of jackdaw sentiment for cathedral towers. He knew nothing of the nobler power of superstition — was essentially a stage manager, and used everything for effect on the pit. His Christmas meant mistletoe and pudding — neither resurrection from dead, nor rising of new stars, nor teaching of wise men, nor shepherds. His hero is essentially the ironmaster.
  • The art of Dickens was the most exquisite of arts: it was the art of enjoying everybody. Dickens, being a very human writer, had to be a very human being; he had his faults and sensibilities in a strong degree; and I do not for a moment maintain that he enjoyed everybody in his daily life. But he enjoyed everybody in his books: and everybody has enjoyed everybody in his books even till to-day. His books are full of baffled villains stalking out or cowardly bullies kicked downstairs. But the villains and cowards are such delightful people that the reader always hopes the villain will put his head through a side window and make a last remark; or that the bully will say one more thing, even from the bottom of the stairs. The reader really hopes this; and he cannot get rid of the fancy that the author hopes so too.
    • G. K. Chesterton, The Victorian Age in Literature (1913) [University of Notre Dame Press, 1963], Ch. II: The Great Victorian Novelists (p. 60)
  • Dickens did not merely believe in the brotherhood of man in the weak modern way; he was the brotherhood of man, and knew it was a brotherhood in sin as well as in aspiration.
    • G.K. Chesterton, The Victorian Age in Literature (1913), Ch. II: The Great Victorian Novelists (p. 62)
  • There is a heartlessness behind his sentimentally overflowing style.
  • When people say Dickens exaggerates, it seems to me they can have no eyes and no ears. They probably have only notions of what things and people are: they accept them conventionally at their diplomatic value. Their minds run on in the region of discourse, where there are masks only, and no faces; ideas and no facts; they have little sense for those living grimaces that play from moment to moment on the countenance of the world.
    • George Santayana, "Dickens," Soliloquies in England and Later Soliloquies (1922)
  • His eye brings in almost too rich a harvest for him to deal with, and gives him an aloofness and a hardness which freeze his sentimentalism and make it seem a concession to the public, a veil thrown over the penetrating glance which left to itself pierced to the bone. With such a power at his command Dickens made his books blaze up, not by tightening the plot or sharpening the wit, but by throwing another handful of people on the fire.
    • Virginia Woolf, "David Copperfield" (1925), The Moment and Other Essays (1947)
  • It does not matter that Dicken's world is not lifelike; it is alive.
  • Dickens attacked English institutions with a ferocity that has never since been approached. Yet he managed to do it without making himself hated, and, more than this, the very people he attacked have swallowed him so completely that he has become a national institution himself.
  • Of all the Victorian novelists, he was probably the most antagonistic to the Victorian age itself.
  • My own experience in reading to be bounced between violent admiration and violent distaste almost every couple of paragraphs, and this is too uncomfortable a condition to be much alleviated by an inward recital of one's duty not to be fastidious, to gulp the stuff down in gobbets like a man.

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Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

There is more than one place called Chelmsford:


  • Chelmsford (Ontario) - A town in Ontario.

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

CHELMSFORD, a market town and municipal borough, and the county town of Essex, England, in the Chelmsford parliamentary division, 30 m. E.N.E. from London by the Great Eastern railway. Pop. (1901) 12,580. It is situated in the valley of the Chelmer, at the confluence of the Cann, and has communication by the river with Maldon and the Blackwater estuary r r m. east. Besides the parish church of St Mary, a graceful Perpendicular edifice, largely rebuilt, the town has a grammar school founded by Edward VI., an endowed charity school and a museum. It is the seat of the county assizes and quarter sessions, and has a handsome shire hall; the county gaol is near the town. Its corn and cattle markets are among the largest in the county; for the first a fine exchange is provided. In the centre of the square in which the corn exchange is situated stands a bronze statue of Lord Chief-Justice Tindal (1776-1846), a native of the parish. There are agricultural implement and iron foundries, large electric light and engineering works, breweries, tanneries, maltings and extensive corn mills. There is a race-course 2 m. south of the town. The borough is under a mayor, 6 aldermen and 18 councillors. Area 2308 acres.

A place of settlement since Palaeolithic times, Chelmsford (Chilmersford, Chelmeresford, Chelmesford) owed its importance to its position on the road from London to Colchester. It consisted of two manors: that of Moulsham, which remained in the possession of Westminster Abbey from Saxon times till the reign of Henry VIII., when it was granted to Thomas Mildmay; and that of Bishop's Hall, which was held by the bishops of London from the reign of Edward the Confessor to 1545, when it passed to the crown and was granted to Thomas Mildmay in 1563. The medieval history of Chelmsford centred round the manor of Bishop's Hall. Early in the 12th century Bishop Maurice built the bridge over the Chelmer which brought the road from London directly through the town, thus making it an important stoppingplace. The town was not incorporated until 1888. In 1225 Chelmsford was made the centre for the collection of fifteenths from the county of Essex, and in 1227 it became the regular seat of assizes and quarter-sessions. Edward I. confirmed Bishop Richard de Gravesend in his rights of frank pledge in Chelmsford in 1290, and in 1395 Richard II. granted the return of writs to Bishop Robert de Braybroke. In 1377 writs were issued for the return of representatives from Chelmsford to parliament, but no return of members has been found. In 1199 the bishop obtained the grant of a weekly market at the yearly rent of one palfrey, and in 1201 that of an annual fair, now discontinued, for four days from the feast of St Philip and St James.

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Chelsea, England >>


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary


Wikipedia has an article on:


Proper noun


  1. The county town of Essex, England

Simple English


Chelmsford shown within Essex
Population 157,072[1]
OS grid reference TL713070
District Chelmsford
Shire county Essex
Region East
Constituent country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district CM1, CM2
Dialling code 01245
Police Essex
Fire Essex
Ambulance East of England
UK Parliament West Chelmsford
Maldon and East Chelmsford
European Parliament East of England
List of places: UKEngland • Essex
Coordinates: 51°44′10″N 0°28′47″E / 51.7361°N 0.4798°E / 51.7361; 0.4798

Chelmsford is a town in the county of Essex, England. It is 30 miles northeast of London, about halfway to Colchester. It is nearly in the centre of the county and it is the county town of Essex, but it is not the biggest or the oldest town in the county. It is also the centre of the borough of Chelmsford, which is a bigger place than the town. (A borough is a town with some extra powers.)

Chelmsford has the smallest cathedral in England. John Dee, who wrote the English version of Euclid, went to the Cathedral school in the sixteenth century. Chelmsford is also home to some of the Anglia Polytechnic University.



The number of people in and around the town is 156,000 (2001); about one third of that number live in the town.


About 10,000 people from Chelmsford travel to London every day. This makes Chelmsford the busiest "ordinary" railway station in England (not including junctions and terminuses). (The busiest of all is Clapham Junction railway station).

The A12 road from London, which the Romans first built between London and Colchester, went through the town, but now goes around the east, so the number of cars in the town is smaller.


Chelmsford has been an important centre for industry since the 19th century. It became home to the UK's first electrical engineering works (in 1878), and its first ball bearing factory (in 1898).

In 1898, Guglielmo Marconi, the "father of radio" opened the World's first radio factory in Hall Street, with about 50 workers. In 1920 the factory was also the home of the first official sound (radio) broadcasts (radio people could listen to from a long way) in the UK. In 1922 the world's first regular radio broadcasts started at the Marconi Research Centre at Writtle near Chelmsford.

Places of Interest

Places of interest in and near Chelmsford are for example Writtle, where Robert I of Scotland was perhaps born, and Pleshey, where the ruins of a castle in William Shakespeare's play Richard II are.

Hylands House and Park, west of the town, is an old country house. People can visit it, and in the last years it has been the place for a popular yearly music festival.

The old Palace of Beaulieu is also nearby.


In 1199 the Bishop of London gave a Royal Charter (a special paper) for the town to have a market. But there have been people living here since pre-historic times. The Romans also lived in Chelmsford. An octagonal temple is under the Odeon roundabout.

In World War II bombs hit Chelmsford a number of times. The worst single loss of life happened on Tuesday December 19, 1944. The 367th V-2 rocket which hit England fell near the Hoffmans' ball bearing factory. 39 people were killed and 138 hurt, 47 of them badly. A lot of buildings were destroyed and hundreds more were damaged.


From over 600,000 years ago, the early River Thames went through the place where Chelmsford is now, from Harlow to Colchester. Then it went over today's North Sea and went into the Rhine.

Twin towns

Chelmsford is twinned with these:

People from Chelmsford

  • Anne Knight, 1786
  • Squarepusher

Nearby places

  • Great Baddow


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