About Cheltonia

Cheltenham is a Regency-period spa town in Gloucestershire, south-west England. And this is a warts-and-all celebration of the town and its unique heritage. Cheltonia is an ongoing street-by-street history and biography. It’s illustrated with photographs I’ve taken over the last decade or so and some old maps I’ve lovingly hand-coloured. This site is not about the corporate Cheltenham, nor the touristy Cheltenham, but small focused vignettes of the town as it really is (or was in the past).

I worry that Cheltenham is suffering a slow and irreversable loss of character. Insensitive planning and get-rich-quick property speculation have taken their toll in the last few years. Even now the secluded lanes of Lansdown are alive with the clanking of lorries and the whine of angle-grinders as people defy the credit crunch for one more makeover spree. My pictures cover the last decade and a half but I wish I’d started my photographic efforts earlier, as so many beautiful things in the town have disappeared in the last 15 years … and more losses are happening all the time.

I’m not making Cheltenham out to be some heritage utopia which has to be preserved at all costs and in every detail. I’d just like to see the developers and councillors show a little respect for the town instead of shitting their profit-driven cram-’em-in development portfolios all over it, and destroying a heritage landscape for short-term economic gain. Of course historic Cheltenham was itself built by extravagant (and greedy) property speculators, often taking stupid risks – its finest landmarks are the legacy of people whose building schemes were so overblown they bankrupted themselves. But the things they left behind them are treasures, buildings of inspiring beauty and lasting craftsmanship. How proud will the next generation of Cheltonians feel about the monstrous multi-storey slab of “luxury” hamster-cage apartments splattered over the Waitrose site, a blighted area which until recently was the location of one of Cheltenham’s last working spas? It’s a mean-spirited legacy.

In 1795 Cheltenham became the home of Dr Jenner, an early pioneer of vaccination whose famous legacy is the discovery of the smallpox vaccine. The crusade which freed the entire human race from smallpox began in Cheltenham in the humble premises of Alpha House (formerly called the Pest House) in St George’s Road, an 18th century building where Jenner devoted his resources to giving free vaccinations to the poor – eventually saving millions of lives. In September 2011 this 200-year-old house was demolished. Why was it not protected?

I found in the far corner of Rodney Road car park a single remaining fragment of a very old garden wall from a house long since demolished, probably Wellington Cottage which is marked on some old maps. It wasn’t really a wall, just a ghost of one, a brick arch studded with moss standing precariously balanced by its own weight over the River Chelt. I didn’t have my camera with me so I made a mental note to go back and photograph it another time. When I went back a couple of months later it was gone.

I keep taking the photographs because I never know what’s going to disappear next.

Cheltonia is structured like a blog, but it isn’t a blog: it’s a collection of articles, slowly becoming a street-by-street and feature-by-feature biography of the town, indexed by area. It uses a blog template simply because WordPress is a very convenient platform for adding and organising content. My work on the site is often (by necessity) seasonal … so don’t worry if it looks like nothing has been posted for ages. I haven’t given up, I’m just more likely to post stuff in bursts of activity rather than with blogesque regularity.

Much of the information in the articles is founded on the research of others. This site would absolutely not be possible without the online historical gazetteer of Cheltenham freely provided by James Hodsdon and Ray Wilson of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society – it is a priceless resource. Also very helpful is the beautifully researched Gloucestershire Pubs site by Geoff Sandles, which has info on pretty much every known pub that ever existed in the town. Other useful websites can be found in the links sidebar.

I’ve also drawn on a number of useful books including:

The Book of Cheltenham by Steven Blake and Roger Beacham

A History of Cheltenham by Gwen Hart

Cheltenham’s Lost Heritage by Oliver Bradbury (thanks Simon for recommending it)

A Cheltenham Companion by Aylwin Sampson and Steven Blake

Cheltenham’s Ornamental Ironwork by Amina Chatwin

Cheltenham Betrayed by Timothy Mowl

The Story of Cheltenham by Robin Brooks

Cheltenham, A History by Sue Rowbotham and Jill Waller

The Story of Tivoli by Brian Torode

Cheltenham’s Churches and Chapels 773-1883 by Steven Blake

St George’s Place by the Cheltenham Spa Campaign

I’m grateful to everyone who takes the time to leave comments and feedback, especially the regulars – it is hugely appreciated. Deepest gratitude to those who have helped me out with their kindness and generosity, especially Maggie Rayner of Michael Rayner Books and Paul Slater at the University of Gloucestershire, and Daniel Staniforth for encouragement and support.

The main maps you’ll see on Cheltonia are Mitchell’s 1806 map, Cossens’ Post Office map of 1820 (pictured below), Merrett’s 1834 map and a 1927 map from Kelly’s Directory. Supplemented by others such as Bacon’s 1880 map and a large-scale 1921 OS map. All hand coloured in acrylic paints (on a photocopy not an original!) If you are in Cheltenham, there is a brilliant portfolio of historic maps in the reference section (upstairs) in Cheltenham Library. Alternatively a large-scale two-part 1920s map of the town is available from Alan Godfrey Maps.


So who is behind Cheltonia? Well, it doesn’t matter much, but if you’re curious I am a Cheltenham born (and resident) graphic designer, co-founder of the small Cheltenham-based publisher Skylight Press. Cheltonia is all the work of one person – flattered though I am by the occasional assumption that there’s a whole team of people behind it!

If you want to contact me directly, you can reach me at “spa.didah” at “gmail.com”. Apologies that in the last year or so I’ve been too busy with work commitments to be able to offer much direct assistance to people researching family history, but I always love to receive comments … and any additional historical detail which can be added to individual articles (from memories, house deeds etc) are always welcome, though please be patient with me if it takes me a while to add them to the site.

© Rebsie Fairholm 2008-2016. All text and photographs on this site are copyright. Please ask permission before using them elsewhere. Thanks.

123 responses

21 07 2008

Nice website! Love the banner, simple navigation etc.

12 12 2008

Great, informative website. More people should know about it!

12 12 2008

Great web site. Thanks for doing this it is really interesting. I have lots of stuff on the former Axiom Centre – photos etc if you want to put them in the Fairview section.

12 12 2008

Rachel, Klara … thank you so much! I really love doing the research for this site but to know that others are enjoying it is the thing that really matters.

Info and pictures about the Axiom Centre would be useful … I’ll be in touch.

6 01 2009
Gillian Kelly

For an Australian part of whose family lived in this area of Cheltenham 1830 – 1850ish this is just magic! I love it! Please can someone tell me about building marked on the map on Winchcombe St just across Trinity lane from the Church – seems to be in an elegant garden?


7 01 2009

Thank you Gillian, I’m glad you find it useful. That house is proving to be a mystery so far. It appears on all my maps from 1820 onwards, but no name is listed. Its site is now occupied by a very dull modern building.

8 01 2009
Simon Galaxy

Absolutely fascinating website. You are doing a fantastic job documenting the best that Cheltenham architecture has to offer. Having lived in the town throughout the 70s, 80s and part of the 90s I’ve really enjoyed your articles. May I also highly recommend Oliver C Bradbury’s excellent book ‘Cheltenham’s Lost Heritage’ (2004).

20 01 2009

Thanks for your support Simon, it is appreciated. Somehow ‘Cheltenham’s Lost Heritage’ had slipped under my radar, but I’ve ordered a copy on your recommendation.

31 01 2009


I came upon the site looking for photos of Douro Rd where I lived for 3 years as a student (75 -78) and was pleased to find pictures of the road and the nearby Lansdown area. We lived in a flat in a villa opposite the dorms of the Ladies college at the North end. This was also near Christchurch which has a unique 4 pointed tower, all the other churches in the town having spires or towers without spikes. This was a good landmark in the early days when walking back from the art college across at Pitville. Douro Rd was amazing in April/May as are many similar Cheltenham roads because of the incredible cherry blossom.
It has been really nostalgic seeing the photos, how little it has changed compared to Sheffield for example which has been flattenened and rebuilt in that time. Students were so lucky in those days to be able to live in those beautiful buildings, they were all really run down then. Lansdown Cres etc were all full of student flats or squats. We were actually allowed to use the upper rooms of the Pittville pump rooms as studios in those days. I expect they are wrapped in cotton wool now, or a tourist attraction. I believe the Guinness Trust and other developers have since bought and refurbished the Lansdown Crescent taking it back into the gentrified end of the market that it was built for.
Unlike the Cavendish House food hall, with its expensive but irresisible aromas these attractive villas were within reach of the penniless student. Cheltenham was a weird place to be without much money, surrounded by so much (if faded) grandeur and the lavish living of the rich – but it was fun.
Is there still an open air pool (behind St Mark’s I think) where we used to go skinny dipping at night?

Heady days

Thanks for the memories

1 02 2009

Welcome Martin and thanks for sharing your Cheltenham memories here … it’s interesting and appreciated. I know what you mean about the strangeness of being poor and living in these once opulent Regency areas. In the early 90s when I was young and skint I went to look at a flat to rent in Lansdown Crescent. Gorgeous building, but behind the door with flaking paint was a dingy set of flats with 70s vinyl wallpaper and dusty carpets and depressingly small and dingy rooms. As the letting agent led me up the dimly lit stairs we passed a near-comatose junkie slumped in a doorway. I couldn’t get out of there fast enough! But now, of course, Lansdown Crescent is an expensive and exclusive place to live. My best friend at the time lived in Malvern Road – in a crummy flat in a Tudor Gothic mansion. The flat had a bath in the kitchen for some reason.

Would the skinny dipping pool be Sandford Lido, by any chance? Between St Luke’s and Sandford Park? If so it’s still going strong.

12 02 2009

What a fantastic little website! I’ve always had an interest in Cheltenham’s local history (having moved here 8 years ago). I find the smaller snippets of history about the less grand areas of Cheltenham fascinating. I’d love to know more about the Gas Green area of Cheltenham (Cleeveland St, Townsend St, Russell St/Pl etc). I believe the houses there were built around 1875 but know the church (Gas Green Baptist Church) was there from about 1820. So many of the houses, especially on Russell Street have such varying heights and styles I wonder how many are ‘original’. I presume most of the housing was for the workmen of the gas works (now Tescos). So many questions, and not so many answers!

12 02 2009

Thank you Andrew, very pleased you like it. Actually I have been collecting information about Gas Green and Dockem with intent to do a few posts about them – the area has a fascinating history, and I’ve ended up with so much material I’m still struggling to get my head round it all! Give me a week or two and I’ll see what I can do.

Most of the houses in Russell Street and environs are probably original in the sense that they were built around the same period, but were probably developed piecemeal by different builders, hence the mixture of styles and heights. Gas Green chapel was originally on the opposite side of the road on the Tesco site, but was moved in the mid C19th when the gas works expanded.

22 06 2009
Dr. A.G.Davison


I am researching a man who became schoolmaster in Cheltenham before 1824. One of his sons was transported to Australia, another built railways in Austria and Denmarkas well as New Zealand, a third went to South Africa. You seem to specialise in everything to do with Cheltenham – so I wonder if you could contact me for a chat ?

Kind regards

6 07 2009

Fantastic website! I grew up in Cheltenham and now live in a flat on Evesham Road in what was known as “Pittville Parade” according to an 1834 map. What’s interesting is the buildings haven’t been completed on the map. Wellington Lane goes down the back of the buildings.

It would be interesting to know if any of the well known local architects as mentioned in your “who’s who” section designed the flat that I rent. I purposely went for a Regency flat as I have a fascination of the history of this wonderful town.

7 10 2009
Kevin Nicholas


Just came across your website- it’s absolutely fantastic. We lived in Cheltenham for two years (2006 & 2007) and would move back in a second- had to leave for work and move to the US. Whilst I’m away, I made a little Cotswolds ‘fan’ page, as I miss the place. I’ll be sure to pop a link to your site on there!

Looking forward to reading more of your blog, and keep up the excellent work!



7 10 2009

Thank you Kevin, I’m really glad you’re enjoying it, and links are always much appreciated. My music partner is an Englishman living in the US too and he gets dreadfully homesick. The Cotswolds are very special. Anyway, welcome.

22 10 2009
Kevin Nicholas

Thank you! I recently started a Cotswolds Blog- http://cotswoldstravel.blogspot.com – helps with the homesickness! Would you consider linking? I’ll put a link to this blog up tonight.



6 11 2009

Thank you for a truly excellent article on the assemblage of architectural styles on display in Cheltenham. I found it informative, wonderfully illustrated with marvelous photographs, yet written in a manner that the lay-person can comprehend and enjoy. The article serves to delineate between the antiquitous and the more modern elements of local architecture, showing the would-be observer where to look and how to discern between these influences. The whole website is a credit to the town in that it serves to explicate its uniquely hybridized composition and history. I hope to visit and see these things for myself in the near future.

11 11 2009

Where is graffiti album 1?

11 11 2009

Graffiti album 1 is here – https://cheltonia.wordpress.com/2008/02/12/graffiti-gallery/

If you click the Index of Articles tab above, there are easy links to all the previous posts on this site.

20 11 2009
Brian Torode

Hi Cheltonia – what a super website. I’ve written the Tivoli Book; The Hebrew Congregation of Cheltenham Gloucester and Stroud, and just published John Middleton, Victorian Provincial Architect.
For some years I have been gathering info about Henry and Pearson Thompson and would love to get a biography of the latter comepleted.

Maybe we can keep in touch and share later what we have gathered.

21 11 2009

Thanks very much for your comment. I’ve found your Tivoli book very useful, and I’m interested in researching more about Henry and Pearson Thompson … I’ll be in touch!

28 12 2009
Adrian Phillips

We’ve just moved into Cheltenham (30 Painswick Road), and were delighted to find this great web site. Thank you so much for the huge amount of interesting material and fascinating insights that you have compiled here. We plan to research the history of our house (built c. 1845) and will tell you what we find. Rumour has it that it was once a brothel, but (sorry!) it’s a little more genteel these days.

I really like the section on architects and architectural styles, and the well chosen photos. Surely there is a book emeging here?

30 12 2009

Thank you very much Adrian. I would be interested in anything you find out about the history of your house and street. Painswick Road is on my to-do list … albeit along with most of the rest of the town. As for a book – yes – that’s kind of what I’m heading towards. I worked in publishing for 14 years and I have all the skills I need to put together a decent book … just waiting for the right ideas and offers to materialise.

9 03 2010
Gillian Kelly

It’s a year since I first found this site – and it was my introduction to Cheltenham. It inspires me to do the same for my own little Australian country town – still working around the idea Rebsie – but meant time this is growing and keeping my thirst for Cheltenham alive and well. I love it!

14 03 2010
Alan Gill

I’m very impressed with your site and find it very interesting and informative. I have a large collection of old Cheltenham postcards, dating back to 1898. A series called Cheltonia was issued in the 1930s. I don’t know who the publisher was. They are good quality sepia photographs and cover various parts of the town. I have 12 of them, but judging by the serial numbers there were more. On another subject, I am trying to discover where Bayshill Mansion was located. I know it was a detached house in Bayshill in the 1850s. Maybe its name was changed or else it was demolished. Have you come across it?

16 03 2010
Alan Gill

After sending my previous comment I realised that I had not quoted my e-mail address correctly. It should be asnow given. Sorry about that.

17 03 2010

Lovely to see you Gillian. I have some more photos for you, which I will drop into an email.

17 03 2010

Thank you Alan. Your postcard collection sounds fascinating. As for Bayshill Mansion, I assume this would be the original Bayshill House, also known as Fauconberg Lodge, where George III stayed when he visited Cheltenham in 1788. It was once the only building in Bayshill, before the present Victorian terraces were built, and was demolished in the 1850s. If this is the one you’re looking for, then it was right on the crest of the hill and its site is now occupied by Sidney Lodge, an 1860s red-brick house in Overton Road.

26 03 2010
Alan Gill

Thanks for your comments. I have now discovered where Bayshill Mansion was. It appears on the Old Town Survey of 1855. It was located at the top of Bayshill Road on the left hand corner, opposite what is now Kandinsky Hotel. It is not there any more, it was still there on a map of 1921, but other buildings now occupy the site.

11 06 2010
Kath Huitema

Loved the site, now I want to pick your brains. Where was or is St James’ Villa. Buchanan ancestors of mine lived there at time of 1861 Cheltenham Census.
Any help greatly appreciated.

4 07 2010
Adrian Phillips

Dear Kath
St James’s Villa is now 30 Painswick Road – our home. If you can send me your email adddress I will send you a) a short history of the house – still very incomplete; and b) a photo of it . Any details you have re Mr. Buchanan would be welcome. He must have been a tenant of Mr. Moore who owned the house in 1861. Maybe he lived in the veery room where I am typing this!

6 07 2010

Just love your site, having been born in cheltenham and never left just reading your site has answered so many of them burning questions.
One thing i’ve tried to research is pictures of the small paddling pool that was situated where the play area is in Sandford Park. Many years ago as a very small child, my mum used to take us there to play (nearly 40 years ago). Eventually as time went on it was filled in and replaced with a play area.


23 07 2010

My name is Frederick Doepkens and I’m trying to find out some information about Nazareth House in Cheltenham. I’m doing research about an artist who lived at Nazareth House on Bath Road in Cheltenham for a short time after World War II and died there at around the age of 82 on December 11, 1948.

Do you know anything about the Nazareth House that was located on Bath Road. I keep finding information about the ‘new’ Nazareth House on London Road.

I would like to get information about the House and if there are any photographs of the Nazareth House (on Bath Road) in your archives I would love to purchase a copy.

I’m looking forward in hearing from you.

Thank you so much for you time and I look forward in hearing from you soon.


Frederick H. Doepkens

4 08 2010

I work for a new childrens publishing company called Hometown World based in Bath and we are producing a local history book for children about Cheltenham. I wondered if you could get in touch with me regarding an image from your site that we wondered if we could use within the book?
I look forward to hearing from you
Kind regards
Kassia Gawronski

9 08 2010

Hello Kim, thanks for your nice comment. Interesting to hear about the paddling pool, which I didn’t know about. Appropriately placed on the Sandford Park floodplain!

Frederick, I can help a little bit. Nazareth House on Bath Road was built around 1819 and was used for many years as a home for orphans and elderly people, run by the Catholic church. It was a lovely Regency building faced with Cotswold stone, but unfortunately demolished in 1969 and replaced by a hideous Linotype-Hell office block. The office block is now also demolished and replaced by the equally ugly Century Court flats. I don’t personally have any archive photos but I have a book which contains a photo of part of Nazareth House. I will email you with more details.

Kassia – email on its way.

8 09 2010
David Cross

I’m interested in route of the dismantled Cheltenham to Banbury railway line and the 1921 map you use shows a bit but avoids the St James / High Street / Malvern Road stations.

Is it possible to get a bigger version of this map that allows me to trace this line through to Charlton Kings?

12 09 2010
Alan Brant

Well done, and thank you for all the hard work you have put in to produce both photos and descriptions.
I was born in Leighton road in 1928 and worked for Flowers Brewery (High Street and Selkirk Street). Later worked as a brewer, Cheltenham Brewery, later Whitbread & C0, for nearly 40 years. I have looked through this site to find any reference to ‘Tinklers’ which was demolished to build the entrance to the car park just below Henrietta St. Tinklers sold baskets, rope, twine etc and had a gorgeous smell of tar. The building must have been very old and been part of the town’s history. It would be good to meet the persons who gave permission to pull it down!
During the 1950’s there was an ironmonger named Lusty who had a shop in Lower High Street, but what I found fascinating was that he had van which was a joy to behold. He must have serviced local villages with, you name it! All over the van were wicker baskets, galvanised baths, string, paraffin, clothes pegs etc., etc., I lived then in Monson Avenue and bought things from him. Nice, pleasant man. I’ll go on trying to find a picture of the van! Thank you again for your efforts.

26 09 2010
Julian Parker

Well done, what a brilliant website. I connected by accident having gone on to Google to
search for Cheltonians and missed off the last two letters!.
However, if you look at the railways section you will notice that I have added some info on
the stations that Cheltenham had.
Keep the good work up.
Kind regards.

14 10 2010

Thank you Alan, that’s fantastic and fascinating information. Sorry I can’t help with the van – I don’t have any archive pictures, only ones I’ve taken myself in the last 10 or 15 years.

I have seen pictures of Tinklers … and what a shame about the ugly building which replaced it.

14 10 2010

Hello David, I suggest you have a look at http://www.old-maps.co.uk/index.html which is an amazing archive of searchable and zoomable historic maps. They sell printed versions too but you’ll probably find everything you need in the online version.

17 10 2010
Helen Johnson

What a fantastic website, you have just added a new “member.”

19 10 2010
Julian Parker

Hello Alan.
Ref the ironmonger you mentioned above, he was Albert Lusty.
We knew him as the “Pots and Pans man” and after we moved
to Rowanfield Estate we used to purchase our parafin from him.
The lorry he had if my memory serves me right was a Bedford which he kept next to his house near the bottom end of Roman Road on the left hand side going down. The coachhouse style archway which he drove his lorry through may still be there. I will have a look the next time I go along that road. Another thing you may not be aware of was that he had a shop at Westall Green. As you came along the Lansdown Road from the direction of Gloucester and turned right at the filling station in the middle of the roundabout but before you turned left into Andover Road his shop was located on the left hand side.

21 10 2010
Julian Parker

Hello David Cross.
Try using this link. Down the lefthand side there are links to various aspects of the M & S W J Railway.
There is a section on old maps of Cheltenham St. James to Leckhampton.


I hope this may be of some use to you.

9 11 2010

hiya, ive just spent the last 2 hours reading some of the very interesting stuff here, thanks for all the effert thats been put into this site,
im a collecter of cheltenham bottles and bricks! and love exploring abandoned buildings etc. if theres anything i can help you out with please let me know.
ive probably got a load of pics your be interested in too…
cheers ben

9 01 2011
Martin Horwood MP

Rebsie, what a wonderful website. A real treasure trove of photos and information – and justifiable anger about the way the town has been treated over the years. Please do keep up the good work. I hope you are in touch with others who share your fascination with Cheltenham’s heritage including the Cheltenham Local History Society and Cheltenham Connect, a voluntary network led by Wendy Ellyatt and others who are unearthing a wealth of information about South Town in particular. And if you ever find out the explanation for the name of the road near where I grew up – Kidnappers’ Lane – do get in touch. In gact, do get in touch anyway if you think I can be of any help. 224889.


7 04 2011

Wow! This is really cool. I’ve lived here since 2006 (well, I moved to Winchcombe after a year or so, but anyway) and never noticed half of this. I’ll look out for it now.


7 04 2011

Glad you like it Gareth. The most interesting things are always the things you walk by without noticing …

22 05 2011
julie courtenay

Hi Rebsie
I’ve also just discovered your website and was really impressed by the quality of the information and presentation. Have you thought about trying to preserve it for the future? I’m one of the archivists at Gloucestershire Archives – our main aim is to preserve and make accessible records that hold unique evidence about the development of the county and its communities. We can look after digital records like yours and make sure they are available for future generations to enjoy. Please get in touch if you’re interested.
Best wishes for your project

26 05 2011
ted Bury

I’ve just started putting together a then and now video of Cheltenham because I too wonder what is going to be wrecked next, so I will enjoy going through your notes and following up with some of my pictures

25 07 2011

Very best of luck with that Ted – it’s a great idea.

19 08 2011

I’m delighted to have found your site/blog – my husband and I have just bought a house on New Street, and have started renovation. I was fascinated (and excited!) to discover that a false wall in the cellar was hiding a fireplace much older than the current house (c. 1900 I think), and that it now appears our house is partly built on the lower walls and foundations of a much older house.

If you know of any info regarding the origins of New Street, or know anything yourself, it would be much appreciated!


19 08 2011

Wow, what an exciting find! New Street, despite its name, is one of the older parts of town and has long been on my “to-do” list for a proper article – when I get time to research and write more articles for the site. The street was originally an old lane leading down to Upper Alstone Mill (approximately on the site of the Waitrose roundabout – the water drop beside the footbridge is all that’s left of it) and there was also once an ancient burial chamber off New Street called the knapp – hence nearby Knapp Road.

3 09 2011

I put a picture on Flickr (http://www.flickr.com/photos/langhorns/6108072697/) and went looking for info about the old Gas Offices when I came across your lovely site. Well done it’s so informative and entertaining!

You might like to know about another recent local publication – PITTVILLE GATES CHELTENHAM’S “GRAND ENTRANCE” written by James Hodsdon. We include a link to James on our Friends of Pittville website.

Best wishes,


3 09 2011

Nice to hear from you Terry! I’ve made use of some of the resources on the Friends of Pittville site in articles here and am grateful for the work you’re doing. The Gas Works is one of many things on my “to-do” list for future articles. Ah yes, James did tell me he was working on a Pittville Gates book – I will grab myself a copy.

29 10 2011
Borin Van Loon

Having been in touch with Rebsie previously (and borrowing invaluable detail of the ‘Corner Stone’ sign), I can now announce that I’ve added additional historic lettering examples from Cheltenham High Street at:
Cheltonia continues to be an invaluable resource and deserves some sort of government support for the excellent work. Bravo.
-Borin Van Loon (Ipswich illustrator and historic lettering enthusiast)

8 11 2011

We never value what is under our noses as much as when we are far away, living on the West Coast of Canada now I recall walking the streets and marveling at the beautiful buildings, and now so much is disappearing, thank you for caring enough to create this site.

18 01 2012
Mike Mellor

Interesting site!

A comment about the Makers of Cheltenham page, which says “Pearson Thompson – son of Henry, born around 1796 and only about 25 when he inherited his father’s estate”.

Pearson was born in 1794 (14 April), and his father Henry (born about 1748 – my ancestor) died in 1820, with probate granted in December that year, when Pearson would have been 26.

Hope this helps.

18 01 2012

That does help Mike, thank you. I had found several slightly different dates for Pearson in different sources and didn’t know which was correct. Any information you have about Henry or Pearson Thompson is very welcome; they are hugely important figures in Cheltenham’s history.

22 02 2012
The History of Cheltenham « "And sometimes he's so nameless"

[…] at this point that my favourite resource for the urban history of Cheltenham is the wonderful blog Cheltonia, which is extremely accessible, readable and fascinating. If you have never seen it then do […]

27 05 2012
Jenny Ketcham

What a great way to pay tribute to your home town! I found it trying to research the phrase “enacting a Cheltenham tragedy” found in some Regency novels. Thought it might be the home of a wildly overdramatic theatre group, back in the spa days…but this was so fun to look at. Thanks for sharing it!

8 07 2012
Joan Coates

I found this quite by accident, I’m returning to Cheltenham next year after 40 years and I can”t wait. I know so much has changed, but a lot has’nt and this a wonderful blog to find…thank you so much.

An Old Cheltonian whose coming home!

9 07 2012
Miss N J Grundy

The “Victorian House” you refer to in Lower Mill Lane: it was the Gas_Master’s Home. The poor guy had to live on site, amongst all that iron oxide effluvium.

17 08 2012
Roger Woodley

I’m leading a walk on Cheltenham Spas on 8 September 2012, as part of Heritage Open Days 2012. I found the material on this subject on your website indispensible – really excellent. I’ll be acknowledging this strongly when I take the group around. We start from the Tourist office at 11.30 – all welcome!

17 09 2012

Fantastic website Rebsie. I live in benhall and have a photograph of the original house which stood where Turkdean Road is now. I will scan it and send it to you. I am amazed that one person can put all this together. You have my deepest admiration! Thanks for all your work !

23 10 2012
Stephen Abrahall

Splendid website! Afraid I found it from seeking family information – my great grandmother (ne Priscilla Humphrys) was married at St John’s in 1888 and her address is given as ‘Berkeley Villa’. You seem a likely person to know the whereabouts of this building…?

31 12 2012
Duncan Jolly

Wow, what a super blog. Found by chance & best find for ages. As someone who grew up in Cheltenham but left in the late 70’s I have found it very nostalgic. I lived within GCHQ at Oakley,before moving to Hesters way and then Granley Rd. I had almost forgotten what a beautiful Town Cheltenham is.
Thanks for the memories.

23 01 2013
Joan Coates

Hi…nice to hear from someone who lived round Oakly and Hesters Way… I too left in the 70’s but I;m returning to the Fiddlers’s Green area at the end of the month…can’t wait it’s a lovely town..I have missed it…Greeting to all who knew Joan Coates and all the best for this lovely blog.

22 02 2013
Laura Mander

Hi, I live in Australia and am researching my family history in Cheltenham. My 3rd Great Grandfather lived at Whaddon Farm for at least 30 years until his death in1888 (John Mander). I was wondering if you have any photos of the farm etc. Do you know of any other sites I might be able to get information about him? Much appreciated and thank you, Laura

25 04 2013
Leona King

Hello, I’m a Canadian recent transplant to Cheltenham. Your site has been so brilliantly helpful to my curiosity about this wonderful place!

I’m having trouble finding details about a property I noticed this afternoon. Currently, it is The Vine at 47 High Street, near where High Street turns into London Road. I love the tile work around the entrance. Do you know anything about it?

30 06 2013
Anthea Jones

Hi Rebsie
You deserve all the praise for the website which you get. But I am surprised no one has commented on two things which struck me when I discovered it yesterday. The first is that you KNOW the places you write about, and obviously spend time walking up and down as well as researching. And the other is the really high quality of the photographs. Brilliant.

Incidentally I discovered you because I was looking for Olio Lane – I didn’t believe the name was true and thought it was a mistake in our transcription. Following your blog I went out at once (I also subscribed!) and walked the lane. If only the dog-walkers carried poo bags. Anyway, have you come across http://www.glos1909survey.org.uk. ? There’s some Cheltenham material. Have lots of little things I could add and will try to do this, but the survey and other blogs etc are greedy of time. Never mind. Cheers for Rebsie.

24 08 2013
Pauline Roberts

I have only just discovered this site and I have to say it’s really amazing. I was very interested to read about Casino Place, where two of my family were born, the earliest in 1865. My family seemed to move house every year and that habit went on into a later generation also. My family were in Cheltenham from about 1825, and my gran was born in Fairview Street in 1895, but by 1901 both her parents had died, elder brothers working, younger brother in orphanage and gran was taken to Birmingham to be brought up by their aunt. As it happens, two of my grans daughters went to live in Prestbury when a company called Montal relocated from Birmingham, so once again I had family there. My one aunt and uncle ran The Salisbury Arms in Montpellier (now renamed I understand), later the club house on Cleeve Hill and the last one was the Sherborne Arms, which ten days ago, on a visit, I found in a shocking condition – the name had been removed, much to my horror! I know planning permission has been given for some flats, but surely the name should have remained? I can’t visit as often as I would like (I live in Staffordshire), but you have given me something to keep an eye on in the future, to see if other streets/buildings/houses feature. Well done Rebsie.

31 08 2013
David Scriven

Always enjoy browsing your website, Rebsie, but would you update the link to Cheltenham Local History Society please. It should be http://www.cheltlocalhist.btck.co.uk
Keep up the good work!

2 09 2013

About Olio Villa in Olio Lane

Looking for something else altogether (about St Luke’s Parish, if you must know!), your page featuring this and another link (below) both came up.


The link is to a 1920 aerial photgraph, which seems to me to confirm – if I have got the location correct – that the villa was not there at the time, so the 1921 catographers got it right. There are other images dated 1928 & 1935 shown at the side on the page, but I’m less confident about them.

3 10 2013

Fantastic website! Trying to research a house on Montpellier Parade that was run as Imperial Nursing home from about 1908 – would appreciate any thoughts people have about this property

17 10 2013

Does anyone have any information regarding Imperial House, Bath Road?

11 11 2013

I wanted to email you two maps that show: In 1885, there was Worchester Street between Waterloo Street and Malvern Street, however, I couldn’t find an email address on your site. Pitty. The maps show that Worchester Street seems to now be called Elm Street. I was wondering if you knew when the street changed names. I would have uploaded a pic of the map, but no ability to do that either. If you want to post this info to your lost places page, email me and I’ll send you the connections to the maps. ancestry@ripandrevmedia.ca.
The link I’m including here is to a webpage I made honouring the children who died in an accidental bomb blast on Easter Weekend in 1941.

28 11 2013

My father lived in Reagan house and showed me what looked like a manual pump room (Subterranean) or something like it just behind the house, it had partially burned candles in holders as if it was just left and abandoned one day and forgotten. email me if you want more detail.

22 09 2014
Philip Doyne

Hi. I hope your albums are going well … This appears to be a bit of a sideline. I wonder if you can help with something I am trying to find out. Two members of my family lived (and died in 1913) at “Loretto, Montpellier Drive, Cheltenham”. I can find no reference on internet searches to anything but numbers so on seeing your great site I thought I might chance that you visit Montpelier Drive (in order to plan your next gig?) and you might be able to shed some light on whether it still exists. Very grateful if you can offer any guidance.

Thanks very much

Philip Doyne

28 09 2014
Ryan Curtis

Wow.Some of your comments about modern architecture mirror closely the thoughts that pop into my head … I am currently interested in the houses that previously occupied the Cheltenham General Hospital site. Some of the old gateposts are still there bearing the names of old houses sadly now gone.

9 10 2014
Linda Hall

What a fabulous website – a total gem. Keep up the good work!

23 10 2014
Kenneth Watkins

Hi just looking at your take on chester walk, the pic taken from the churchyard looking toward c walk you say the ground that undulates is to do with former house, sorry not so under there are graves, which were grassed over I guess in the 70s don’t know if grave stones were removed or are still there. Also the now restaurant on the corner used to be a jewellers and pawnbrokers ‘Thorpe & Woodward’ there used yo be the three pawnbrokers balls over the front door, but pledge counter was round side in chester walk. Regards Ken Watkins

29 10 2014

Hi, great site and very interesting.
do you have any information about Park Street (off the lower high street or the “West End?”

regards, Justin

29 10 2014
David Smith

Absolutely love your website and what you are doing. Just my cup of tea. Found it by chance when idly looking to see if there was a sister building to Pillar House in Bath Road (my accountants)… still none the wiser. I vaguely remember seeing old photographs of two very similar buildings next to each other. Can you help? I have worked in Cheltenham since 1981 and remember it from living in Cirencester on and off from 1961.

16 01 2015

Hi Cheltonia,
This an absolutely fabulous website! As relative newbies to Cheltenham (a mere 5 years) there’s such a treasure trove of info that help you see and decipher what’s just under your nose, we’ve found it invaluable – keep up the good work!

All the best,


6 02 2015

Great website! Thanks for all the research. I stumbled across as I’m looking into the history of Portland Street as I work in 31-39 and it appears we might have a ghost.

8 02 2015

Great Site and useful research as I’m trying to establish my homes history in Saint Paul’s.

23 03 2015

Great site. I came across it looking for the “Prince of Wales” public house, next to which my GG grandfather lived with his family at the time of the 1851 Census. It was in Albion Street, not Portland Street, where the current Prince of Wales is. The family was in Princes Cottage in 1861 and what I think was the “Young Prince of Wales” in 1881 (though the latter is not easy to read in the Census), again both in Albion Street.
I do not know Cheltenham at all, though I will be visiting very shortly. I assume that Albion Street is where it was in the mid C19th, though substantially redeveloped, and that the two Prince of Wales were/are different hostelries.
Best regards

19 04 2015
Lynda White

Hi, I love this!! I was just wondering if you have any photos of Trafalgar House, which was situated roughly opposite the Black & White Coach Station? It faced into Oxford Passage and was demolished in 1965. It belonged to the Brewery and I lived there for five years – 1960 – 1965. I have never seen a photo of it and I would really love to!

18 07 2015
Carole Jones Woodruff

Hi just found your site and it is fascinating! I lived in Cheltenham from 1947 to 1952 with my parents and my sister who was born there. We lived across from the spa rooms and our apartment backed onto the Ladies College. In 1948 we moved to Rowanfield Estate and then emigrated to the west coast of Canada. I remember going to school on Alston Lane. Was there a school there and was there a small Chapel or Church near by at that time? Looking at the photos of the gardens down High street brings back happy memories of smelling wall flowers when I was very young! Thanks so much for your research. Please keep up the good work!

10 12 2015

I found a pic of the Sulphur Spa from 1830 [can’t remember the site, but a Search will turn it up for you]. It was between Parabola and Bayshill Road. About where that little traffic island is now.

9 01 2016
Jerry Janes

Can you help me? I’m looking at the history of Russell Street because my mother’s family lived at number 27 for more than 30 years in the first half of the 20th Century. Could you advise me where I might find any information about ownership and when the houses were first built? I’m sorry if this is out of line. Best wishes, Jerry.

9 01 2016

Hi Jerry. The houses in Russell Street are thought to have been built in the 1840s. I can’t give much help regarding ownership as that kind of info is not readily available to historians. You could try the Land Registry, as they hold all the official records of land ownership.

7 02 2016

Hi I am trying to track down what factory/builders yard/workshops would have been in winders street area in 1980s any ideas?

2 05 2016
Katie Oliver

Just a quick note to say how fantastic your website is. I have recently moved to Cheltenham and live along Lansdown Terrace, it’s fascinating to read about the history of the buildings and surrounding area. Really interesting, thank you!

9 05 2016

Having just moved into Cheltenham, I was so delighted to find your site. Fascinating! You also write wonderfully, which so helps. Thank you.

I live in a group of Cottages (Beaufort Cottages) on Columbia Street in Fairview. There were 6 cottages and these 6 have been transformed into 3. They are built in brick, side on to the street. From your site I’m guessing 1840’s – can you possibly advise? Any idea of the provenance of these? I have the original paving slabs outside my cottage (upon which I’m soon to break an ankle) and am trying to decide on what to do with them. Everywhere else is grim broken concrete. If you’ve seen any sympathetic treatments of old paving slabs around Cheltenham I’d love to know. Also there’s a strange metal disc sunk into one of the paving stones. It is about the size of a tea plate and is sunk at the ‘entrance’ to the cottages. Maybe a gate post? Or a post for a gas light? Ideas and information would be hugely welcome.
Thank you again for sharing your Cheltonia.
Best wishes,

13 07 2016
Carl Jukes

Hello everbody, I am doing a little research around St. James’s Square and I am trying to find some information about the Burton Brewery Inn. Would anyone have any information, when it was built, the brewery that owned it. I have the firdt licensee listed in 1894. Any information gratefully received and would be acknowledged.

1 09 2016

Great site. A wonderful resource!

5 03 2017
Geoff Gibbons

Note to Ian (03/10/13). All I now about Imperial Nursing Home is that I was born there in 1958. I’m afraid I don’t remember much. Would be very interested to know what you have about the place

25 03 2017
Vera Byrne

Great site. Wonderful information which I use to open my eyes as I walk round Cheltenham. I have returned after twenty six years to be totally horrified by what they have done in the name of so called progress.. I wondered if you knew anything about 1 Gloucester Place which was built in 1810 and the road was then known as Gloucester road before being changed. We need more people like you. I am just beginning to do some research on the house and will pass on anything I find out. Cheers Vera

14 06 2017
Ben Cripps

Hallo – your website is absolutely fantastic. I came to it by a strange process: my dear mum died a few weeks ago (she lived at 1 Queens Parade which is pictured, with its dentil cornice, in your section on the Corinthian Order – you can just see the rounded top of one of the windows of her ground floor living room) and we have been clearing out her flat. Among her huge library of books I found some interesting architectural volumes, including a wonderful 1840s glossary with the most amazing engraved illustrations, AND two fantastic fairly slim Batsford volumes from 60 or so years ago: how to study an old church, and Cheltenham by B Little. This awakened a hidden dormant interest in Cheltenham’s Regency architecture, just when my connection with the town is about to lessen (my sister still works in the town, in the parade of shops opposite the side of the Queens Hotel). Then – I found your website when googling to find more information, and became completely hooked! My interest will continue, and I am delighted that my mum lived in a building of sufficient distinction to be featured on your site. There is a balcony goddess on the first floor balcony – lit up at night with outdoor LED lights; a little vulgar perhaps, but hey, why not highlight the architectural distinction of the town! Thank you again, Ben

1 09 2017
Steven Robb

I’m researching the Inch housing estate in Edinburgh for a talk in October. It was designed by a Gloucester architect, David Stratton Davis in 1946 – He was an expert in, and obviously influenced by, Regency Cheltenham in his designs. He introduced the Regency porch to the estate. Be interested in discussing.


16 04 2018

Hello.. I would be very interested to know what date “Gydes Terrace” was renamed “Grosvenor Street” in Cheltenham.. Being a new member I am hoping that this is the right page to ask this question . .

17 04 2018

Does any one know what date “Gydes Terrace” was renamed “Grosvenor Street”?.. Chris

18 04 2018

Hello Chris. According to the info I have, the name seems to have changed some time around 1845 (though these sorts of changes didn’t always happen instantly, so you may find references to the old name after that date). William Gyde was a local greengrocer and property speculator, and it’s likely that the name Grosvenor was chosen because it was more upmarket.

18 04 2018

Dear Rebsie..

Thank you very much for this very interesting piece of information.. I think that the change of name could well be down to up-marketing reasons..

Another piece of information which may help to confirm this theory is that the view (looking up Grosvenor Street to Albion Street) does offer a very nice view of “Cleeve Hill”.. Also (as I’m sure you are aware) “Grosvenor” is a French word and means, (grand, or great view)..

Thank you very for being so prompt in your reply.. Your efforts (I am certain) are appreciated by a good number people..

Your very faithfully.. Chris . .

17 10 2018
Julian Cox

Hi, this is such an fascinating site and source of much interesting information and history of our town. Is there any information on the magnificent Winter Gardens which were demolished quite a while ago for some reason?

Best wishes, Julian

10 04 2019

This is a great website! Could anyone give me some information with regards to the gas works (currently big tescos) and the central iron works (Alstone Lane trading estate)? I’ve been looking into a relative that worked in the gasworks around 1911 as an engine driver and his brother was a signalman. However on the 1884 ordinance map theres no tracks leading into the gasworks but Thier is through the central works. Any infomation would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

20 07 2019
Rose Baynham

Great site. We are looking into the history of Grasmere 16 Tryes Road as unfortunately there no title deeds for the property. We know the house was built 1939 but who has lived in and would be very useful to know. Thank you.

31 08 2019

Thank you for such an amazing website. Such a wealth of information and its inspired me to discover new places that I have walked by all of my life. I am doing a series of geocaches inspired by your walk along the river Chelt. I have referred peopled to your webpage too so they can share the interesting history for themselves. Thank you! Felicity

31 08 2019

Thank you Felicity for your nice comment. I’m an avid geocacher myself (under the name Sulis Manoeuvre) so I’m very excited to hear you’re placing some caches.

15 01 2020
Callum, of course

Hi there,
Brilliant website.
i think i sent you a message via a different website.
I own a house on Gloucester Road built around 1880, although due to its location and the position of the railway, i can see its location on maps from the 18th century. I am very interested in obtaining copies of any Cheltenham map that has the location on. i would like to hang them on my walls!
The ones you use here look spot on.
I am having difficulty doing this and have rummaged in the library but they only seem to have tatty photocopies of photocopies, and only an A4 photocopier. The librarian was very unhelpful. I know I can buy OS maps, but I’d like the interesting hand drawn ones too! I have a friend at the Bodlean who suggested the local archives, but the archives point to the library.
I ask politely if you have any better ideas?

I’m a gardener, by the way, and am currently head of mowing at Vittoria (Hygeia) House…one of Thompsons, and has the pumping gear in the cellar for the spa water.

…and Sandy Denny thought I was a cute baby!


22 01 2020
Rob Dewsall

Re ‘The Pilgrim’, Rutland Street. Originally The Bell from circa 1812 until August 1857 when the name was changed – Licencing renewal report states – “At the annual license renewal session in August 1857, Mr Pruen, a local solicitor, applied to change the sign of “the notorious Bell Inn” to ‘The Pilgrim Inn’ and said the object for doing so was also to change the character of the house, and to conduct it in a very different manner. The Bench simply replied “ A consummation devoutly to be wished” before agreeing to the change.”

The new name changed nothing, if anything it got worse!

The building no longer exists but stoo under part of the old Matalan car park opposite today’s numbers 14 & 16 Brunswick Street.

19 02 2020
Richard Hartland

Thank you for the detailed information
My Great Great Grandfather lived worked and Murdered in his High Street home circa 1894
And tracing his foot steps of that horrendous night, your detailed street and pub names of the time was eye opening

2 02 2021

I loved your website. Thank you for share.
I´m from Argentina and in the middle of the pampa humeda ther is al old piece of land (Estancia) called “Cheltonia”.
The owner of this estancia were from Chetelham and called this land on its honor.
Whats does Cheltonia means? I can´t find the meaning

2 02 2021

That is interesting about the name of the estancia! Cheltonia is really a made-up name. Boys who attend Cheltenham College are traditionally called Cheltonians, and sometimes the word Cheltonian is also used to describe anyone who comes from Cheltenham. I used the variant ‘Cheltonia’ to avoid confusion with the College, and because it sounds like a feminine version of ‘Cheltonian’!

26 02 2021

I didn’t know about the link with Cheltenham College. I have always described myself as a Cheltonian, having been born here but I never attended the College!

26 02 2021

Me too, I think the word has long since been adopted by the town and all its people. But as far as I know it originated with the College.

27 03 2021

Thanks for your wonderful blog. I live in Evelyn Court in Lansdown and look down on Lansdown Terrace Lane. Loved learning more about the history of my home and the local area. I have shared the link to your site with all the residents in Evelyn Court and also in Lansdown Terrace. Everyone really enjoyed it so thanks again for helping to preserve and record Cheltenham’s history and architecture.

27 03 2021

Thank you for your lovely comment Debra, I’m glad you and your neighbours enjoyed reading about it. Evelyn Court/Lansdown Terrace is one of my favourite terraces in the whole of Cheltenham and has a lot of good memories for me.

9 06 2021
Jeanne Riecke

My childhood friends, Joan and Lynda Sandstrom, are descended from the Griffiths at Elm Lodge on Landsdowne Road. Their grandmother Vera Griffiths Verity moved to Canada after her grandparents Henry and Jane Griffiths passed away. Vera’s mother, Bertha Griffiths Verity passed away earlier from TB. After marrying and having three daughters, she divorced her husband James Maitland Fethersonthaugh in Kelowna, British Columbia and continued on into the United States settling in the Bay Area. Bertha Griffiths was an accomplished singer for various music festivals. Her brothers were all physicians in Cheltenham and in the UK military.

30 12 2021
Caroline Sherwood

Who is Hewlett Road named after?

2 01 2022
Derek Patience

This is such a brilliant website! My great great grandfather, John Patience, lived in Cheltenham in the 1840s and 1850s. He was a coaching and lived in various streets during this time – Promenade, Grosvenor Terrace, Woodbine Cottage Duke Street, and Vernon place, the latter two places featuring in your special articles, which have helped me greatly in piecing together his and his family’s lives. If anyone has any information on one Francis Garrett, of Vernon House, Vernon Place, who I believe was his employer, I would be grateful. According to the 1851 census he was a coachmaker.

Once again many thanks for your wonderfully informative blog. Keep up the good work

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