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This is the story of the ancient city of Gloucester, which begins with the arrival of the Romans almost 2,000 years ago. Strategically placed at the lowest crossing point of the Severn, it is the furthest inland port in the country.
It was granted the title of Colonia, the highest status a city could have in the Roman empire, and was called Glevum. When the Romans left Britain, Gloucester gradually fell into ruin, yet in the 10th century it became an important town in the kingdom of Mercia. From that time on Gloucester featured prominently in history. In 1216, Henry III was crowned in the magnificent Abbey, the present day Cathedral, and Edward II was buried there just over a hundred years later.
Queen Elizabeth I granted the city Port status in 1580, enabling it to undertake foreign trade and eventually become one of the country’s busiest ports. The recently redeveloped Docks remain an evocative and atmospheric place today. The city grew and continued to prosper in the Industrial Age, helped by the coming of the Railways in the 1840s, and in more recent times the local workforce has manufactured such varied products as railway rolling stock, motorcycles and matches. Special attention is paid to the Gloster Aircraft Company, which peaked during the Second World War when it employed some 14,000 people. World-famous aeroplanes such as the Meteor, Javelin and Gladiator are commemorated in the Aviation Garden in the centre of the city.
As the tale unfolds, you will learn more about the Cross, at the heart of Gloucester, where the four main streets meet; the famous local legends of Dick Whittington and Doctor Foster; the New Inn, which has been described as the finest galleried inn in the country; how Gloucester inspired the renowned children’s author, Beatrix Potter; and the unplanned visit of C.S. Rolls, of Rolls-Royce fame.
With the help of some remarkable archive material, fascinating interviews and stunning modern film, the story is told by local historian and tour guide Chris Morgan, who has lived and worked in the Gloucester area all her life.