For other uses, see Chelmsford (disambiguation).
OS Grid Reference:Template:Gbmappingsmall
Region:East of England
Ceremonial County:Essex
Traditional County:Essex
Post Office and Telephone
Dialling Code:01245

Template:GBdot Chelmsford is a town in the county of Essex, in the United Kingdom. It lies 31 miles (50 km) northeast of London, approximately halfway between there and Colchester. It is almost exactly in the centre of the county and it is the county town of Essex, although it is neither the largest nor the oldest town in the county. It is also the seat of the borough of Chelmsford, which covers a wider area than the town.

Chelmsford is home to the Diocese of Chelmsford, and has the smallest cathedral in England, built in the 15th and early 16th century when it was the the parish church of the prosperous medieval town. John Dee, responsible for the English translation of Euclid, was educated at the Cathedral school in the sixteenth century. Chelmsford is also home to part of the Anglia Polytechnic University and to King Edward VI Grammar School founded in 1551 by charter of Kind Edward VI on the site on an earlier educational foundation.



Arms of Chelmsford Borough Council
Arms of Chelmsford Borough Council

The population of the area covered by the district council is 156,000 (2001), approximately one third of that number living within the area of the town itself.


About 10,000 commuters travel to London daily, making Chelmsford the busiest through railway station in England (the busiest overall being Clapham Junction).

The A12 road from London, originally built by the Romans to connect London and Colchester, used to pass through the town, but is now diverted around the east.


Chelmsford has been an important centre for industry since the 19th century. It became home to the UK's first electrical engineering works (in 1878), and its first ball bearing factory (in 1898).

In 1898, Guglielmo Marconi, the "father of radio" opened the World's first "wireless" factory in Hall Street, employing around 50 people. For this reason, Chelmsford is credited as the "birthplace of radio", and this phrase can be seen on administrative signs on major roads entering the town. In 1920 the factory was also the location of the first officially publicised sound broadcasts in the UK, one of them featuring Dame Nellie Melba. In 1922 the World's first regular wireless broadcasts for entertainment commenced from the Marconi Research Centre at Writtle near Chelmsford; station '2LO'.

Places of Interest

Places of interest within the district include Writtle, one of the possible birthplaces of Robert the Bruce, King of Scotland, and Pleshey, where stand the ruins of a once important castle mentioned in William Shakespeare's play Richard II.

Hylands House and Park just to the west of the town is a former country house saved from dereliction and now owned by the local council. It is open to the public and has in recent years been the site of popular annual music festivals, such as the V Festival and the Chelmsford Spectacular. It has been chosen as the site for the 21st International Scout Jamboree in 2007. Hylands House also doubled as the US White House in the 2004 film Chasing Liberty.

The former Palace of Beaulieu is also nearby.


In 1199 the Bishop of London granted a Royal Charter for the town to hold a market. However there have been settlements nearby since ancient times. A Neolithic and a late Bronze Age settlement have both been found in the Springfield suburb, and the town was occupied by the Romans. The remains of an octagonal temple are located beneath the Odeon roundabout.

During World War II Chelmsford, as an important centre of light engineering war production, was attacked from the air on several occasions, both by aircraft of the Luftwaffe and by missile. The worst single loss of life took place on Tuesday December 19, 1944, when the 367th V2 to hit England fell on a residential area near the Hoffmans' ball bearing factory and not far from the Marconi electronics factory which may also have been the target. 39 people were killed and 138 injured, 47 of them seriously, while several dwellings were destroyed and hundreds more damaged.

On January 6, 2005, Chelmsford was granted Fairtrade Town status.


From over 600,000 years ago, during the Pleistocene ice age, until the Anglian glaciation around 475,000 years ago, the early River Thames flowed through the area where Chelmsford now stands, from Harlow to Colchester, before crossing what is now the North Sea to become a tributary of the Rhine. Consequently gravel deposits are frequently found in the area, and current and former gravel pits are relatively common in the area.

Twin towns

Chelmsford is twinned with the following towns:

People born in Chelmsford

Nearby places

External links

See also

de:Chelmsford no:Chelmsford, England simple:Chelmsford pl:Chelmsford


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