So, Chelmsford has finally been announced as the winner of the National competition to win city status in celebration of the Diamond Jubilee, along with Perth in Perthshire and St Ataph in Denbighshire. Receiving this accolade does not technically confer any specific rights, but is a prestigious and welcome award. Once taken to mean towns containing a cathedral, this criteria has long been relaxed, and competition for the title this time was hard fought.
After undergoing substantial redevelopment in recent years, Chelmsford’s status has been vastly improved, with even C4’s Location, Location, Location voting it into the top ten most pleasant places to live in the UK. Chelmsford currently has a population of around 160,000 people, and is the county town of Essex. Its history is rich and diverse, dating back to the Roman period. King John granted the town a royal charter in 1199, and was even the temporary capital of the country for a brief spell in 1381 while Kind Richard II made efforts to still the Peasants Revolt.
Famous during the WWII period for light and military engineering, Chelmsford suffered various air attacks by the Luftwaffe, and was also home to a PoW camp during this period. The closure of some of these industries, notably Marconi, has affected the town, however it’s proximity to London and Stansted airport; as well as status at the centre of Essex, means that Chelmsford has continued to thrive, and is home to some of the UK’s leading international organisations.
Some of Chelmsford’s most notable natives have gone on to become national and internationally recognised household names, including Grayson Perry, winner of the Turner Prize, actor Tom Payne and even Harry Judd of McFly fame!
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