Chelmsford is at the heart of social and economic life of Essex - and has been for 800 years. To this day Chelmsford is a thriving community and maintains its position as a premier commercial, retail and leisure location. One of the best shopping centres in Essex can be found in Chelmsford. Complementing the shopping facilities are numerous restaurants, as well as pubs, cafes, wine bars and a cinema.
Chelmsford can trace its history back to Roman times. The Roman settlement was given the name Caesaromagus (Caesar's Market Place), and it was the only town in Roman Britain given what was then the great honour of the Imperial prefix. The settlement declined after the Romans left, but grew again in the middle ages
, receiving its first market charter in 1199, then becoming
the assize town, and as early as 1218 was recognised as the county Town of Essex - a position it has maintained ever since. In the 19th century
Chelmsford became established as a centre of trade and industry. Guglielmo Marconi established the world's first radio factory in Chelmsford in 1899, and the town was also the birthplace of broadcasting, as the location for Dame Nellie Melba's pioneering radio recital in 1920.
The American Connection
Chelmsford has a long association with the United States of America. William Pynchon (1590-1662) who lived in Springfield in 1624 emigrated to the USA and named a small village after the hamlet he had left. It has now become one of the largest cities in the state of Massachusetts. Another Chelmsfordian Thomas Hooker (1586-1647) was founder of the state of Connecticut
in 1637. There is a commemorative plaque to him in Chelmsford Town centre. In World War II, a large military airfield was constructed at Boreham and occupied by the USAAF 9th Air Force. A memorial on the site, a porch and stained glass window in Chelmsford Cathedral, pay tribute to the airmen.
Sports and Recreation
Essex County Cricket Club play frequent matches during the season. The ground is close to the town centre, within easy walking distance of the bus and railway stations. The Borough has a variety of golf clubs for players of all standards. There are Rugby and Hockey clubs as well as the Riverside Ice and Leisure Centre, home of Wavetech Chieftains Ice Hockey team. There are indoor and outdoor pools, a 60-foot flume ride, diving area and an Ice Rink.
* Distances shown are in a direct line. Distances by road will be longer.