Cheltenham History

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Cheltenham History

History of Cheltenham

Cheltenham has grown from a small village beside the River Chelt to the outstanding, vibrant and cosmopolitan Gloucestershire town that it is today.

Most of the Cheltenham town centre lies within a conservation area of outstanding importance.

Cheltenham became a spa town in 1716. The first medicinal waters were believed to have been discovered when locals saw pigeons pecking at salty deposits which had formed around a spring. Cheltenham received Royal patronage in 1788 when King George III came to drink the waters.

This led to the rapid development of Cheltenham as a fashionable spa between 1790 and 1840 and The heritage of those times can be seen in the town's Regency architecture. Cheltenham is the most complete Regency town in England.

Cheltenham was patronised by noble and royal visitors including the Duke of Wellington and Princess Victoria (who later became Queen Victoria). Distinguished literary figures who also visited have included Lord Byron, Jane Austen and Charles Dickens.

Dickens and Daniel Defoe both commented favourably on Cheltenham, Dickens even went so far as to write, "Rarely have I seen such a place that so attracted my fancy."

Cheltenham is one of the few towns in England where traditional and contemporary architecture complement each other so perfectly. Some of the buildings are of great age. The Neo-Gothic styled Victorian school buildings of Cheltenham College date from 1843 and Cheltenham Ladies' College from 1873.

The Cheltenham Guide web site aims to provide up to date and accurate information on the Gloucestershire town of Cheltenham. If you are aware of any inaccuracies on the Cheltenham Guide web site, please email