A Cheltenham Christmas

27 12 2009

What’s the best thing about Christmas in Cheltenham? Not the lights, not the shops. For me it’s this:

The Promenade on Christmas Day, blissfully deserted right the way up to the Queen’s Hotel.

It’s not just because I’m a reclusive curmudgeon that I like Cheltenham best when it’s deserted. It’s actually a very magical experience to hear the natural sounds of the town which are normally drowned out by traffic and bustle. Stand by a manhole cover in the Promenade in the empty stillness and hear the muffled rushing of the River Chelt passing unseen beneath the pavement.

The municipal offices, or rather the terrace of 1822-3 known as Harward’s Buildings, photographed on Christmas Day and almost unrecognisable in the absence of parked cars!

The High Street with not a soul in sight.

Deflated Santa, Lower High Street

Balls. Imperial Square

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7 responses

30 12 2009
Emilie

Lovely ! Never saw Cheltenham like that ! Thanks

30 12 2009
cheltonia

It’s beautiful isn’t it? Glad you like it.

8 01 2010
Chris Jensen Romer

Definitely the best way to see Cheltenham, but to see the High Street up there deserted with not a soul in sight really surprises me – even at 5am I don’t think I have ever seen it so empty as that! Maybe the fact we all like Cheltenham without people is why we are writing blogs though, rather than out clubbing or whatever young folks do these days? :)

12 10 2010
elvisdutton

amazing site, must apologise, I’ll now be clogging up the view next Christmas, as I enjoy the view of the town being so empty.

14 10 2010
Rebsie

Excellent! If you see someone wandering around with a camera it’s probably me.

19 03 2013
Kevin Brewer

I want to ask why colonial families-I am talking about the mid to late 19th century-moved from Australia or in 2 instances Java, to Cheltenham to retire and die, An example from The Argus (Melbourne, Vic.) Monday 17 June 1878 p.8.:

IN the SUPREME COURT of the COLONY of VICTORIA In its Probate Jurisdiction-In the Estate of WILLIAM DONALD, formerly of Saint Kilda, In the Colony of Victoria, but late of Lisle House, Cheltenham, in the County of Gloucester, In England, Esquire, Deceased -Notice is hereby given, that after the expiration of fourteen days from the publication of this notice application will be made to the Supreme Court of the colony of Victoria, in its Probate jurisdiction, that LETTERS of ADMINISTRATION, with the will and codicil annexed, of the estate of the above named William Donald, deceased, be granted and issued to John Matheson, banker, and Albert Le Souef, esquire, both of Melbourne, in the colony of Victoria, the attorneys under power of attorney of Mary Anne Donald, of Lisle House, Cheltenham aforesaid, widow, and Archibald M’Lachlan, of Hatherley hall, Cheltenham aforesaid, esquire, two of the executors and trustees named in the said will and codicil, with reservation, nevertheless, to revoke such letters of administration, with the said will and codicil annexed, and to grant probate of the said will to the executors therein named when they shall duly appear and sue forth such probate

Dated this fourteenth day of June, 1878

MOULE and SEDDON, Market-street, Melbourne, proctors for the said John Matheson and Albert Le Souef.
This notice ties up fortunes made in Java with those made in colonial Victoria, The families named are Scots,related by marriage. McLachlan’s sister Mary Ann married Donald, her sister Emily Ross McLachlan, who died at 1 Imperial Sq Cheltenham in 1864, married Charles HB Le Souef in Melbourne in 1840.

4 04 2015
Giles Forrest

Kevin – did you ever make the connection with Cheltenham? My ancestors were one such family who followed such a path – I’m told it was the Spa waters and the reputation of Cheltenham College…

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