Freddie Gick, Neela Mann & Andrew Booton, and right, Freddie Gick holds a restored WW1 battlefield wooden cross
On Tuesday 7 May at Parmoor House, Freddie Gick and local historian Neela Mann gave a fascinating and yet moving talk and presentation about the World War 1 battlefield crosses brought back to Cheltenham after the war. Found rotting in the Bouncers Lane Cemetery, 22 crosses were rescued and conserved in a project initiated by Freddie Gick.
With the help of a grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the project led by Freddie, was successfully completed with the dedication and commitment of a team that included local historian Neela Mann, 14 pupils of Pittville School and their teacher, Hannah Taylor and the work of Stephen Umpleby's Artefacts Conservation Services.
A brochure and exhibition of the project will be on display at Parmoor House during this year's Heritage Open Days 13 - 22 September.
Civic Society Chair, Andrew Booton, George Ferguson and Mayor, Cllr Bernard Fisher
Set in the excellent Chapel Arts building, Civic Society Chair, Andrew Booton introduced the 2019 Cheltenham Civic Awards. The biennial Civic Awards are mananged by the Civic Society on behalf of the Borough Council. Awards Convenor, Bruce Buchanan assisted the Mayor, Cllr Bernard Fisher to present the Awards and Commendations to the winners. This year, Bruce and his panel of 12, considered 33 submissions from which 10 were finally selected.
The winning projects are:-
New Building: Award
Tilley Mews, Swindon Road
51 The Park
One Bayshill Road
Building Restoration: Award
Formal House, St George's Place
Axiom Apartments, Winchcombe Street
A full list of Awards and Commendations, clients, architects and contractors can be seen in the 2019 Awards Brochure.
After the fractious Council meeting in January, where public debate was stifled, the meeting arranged jointly by St Paul's Road Area Residents Association and Cheltenham Civic Society was most effective in allowing a full cross-section of views to be heard and debated. Civic Society Chair, Andrew Booton chaired a panel of Robert Duncan, Executive member of Cheltenham Chamber of Commerce; Cllr Steve Jordan, Leader of CBC; Cllr Nigel Moor, Glos CC; Jeremy Williamson, MD CBC Cheltenham Task Force; Adam Lillywhite, Chair of Cheltenham Hospitality Association, and Rupert Cox, MD of Stagecoach.
Whilst some of the panel presented a rosy view of Cheltenham's economic success, the meeting was brought firmly back to reality by Adam Lillywhite's review of decreasing hotel and restaurant activity attributed to the effects of the Boots Corner closure.
After much comment and debate, it is clear that many problems have arisen as a result of the Boots Corner closure. A broad consensus might suggest that whilst many would like to see Boots Corner become a fully pedestrianised space, many feel that the closure trial has proceeded without proper pre-planning. There appears to be inadequate before and after traffic and pollution monitoring in the many streets now affected, and no planning of alternative traffic routes.
We must hope that lessons learnt from the trial will lead to the radical thinking necessary to improve Cheltenham's
Mr & Mrs Andrew Ellis, owners of 60 London Road
New plaque honours VC war hero
On Thursday 11 April, Cheltenham Mayor Cllr Bernard Fisher unveiled a commemorative blue plaque at 60 London Road, the Cheltenham home of WWI war hero Lt-Col James Forbes-Robertson. This was the anniversary of the valiant 1918 action in France for which Forbes-Robertson was awarded the Victoria Cross.
Forbes-Robertson was educated at Cheltenham College, and is buried at the cemetery in Bouncer’s Lane, but until now has not been publicly honoured in the town. He was awarded the VC for his ‘most conspicuous bravery whilst commanding his battalion’ during action at Vieux-Berquin, in northern France, on 11 and 12 April 1918.Cheltenham can boast four VCs, and all four now blue plaques.
Igniting the Urban Regeneration Fuse
In his trade-mark red trousers, the first elected Mayor of Bristol, architect and RIBA past-president, George Ferguson gave a superlative, passionate and thought-provoking lecture on urban regeneration. Illustrated by excellent examples of many Bristol initiatives, including his own acquisition of the redundant Victorian red-brick W D & H O Wills tobacco factory to save it from demolition. Now housing a theatre and restaurants, it kick-started the regeneration of the local neighbourhood. As Bristol Mayor, George used his position to introduce many small-scale projects to reclaim the streets and encourage individual neighbourhoods to make a difference.
The final image admirably summed up the important message of his much applauded talk:
store the car
fight the Philistines
liberate the streets
free range the kids
get on your bikes
Regency Cheltenham Tour & Tea with Captain Henry Skillicorne
Applications discussed at the
15 April Planning Forum