Title: A History of Charlton Park


Charlton Park

Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England



Books are the traditional means of recording history. A book is fine, but once printed (barring a re-print) subsequent events are excluded. They are also costly to produce and to purchase and when sold-out, difficult to find a copy. More importantly, in the context of a book 'grown' in parkland - they usually result in trees being cut down, even if the word 'sustainable' is used in the forward. The electronic-age enables us to read a virtually free 'e-book' which is optional to print, amenable to updates and globally accessible. And these aren't the only plusses; in reading an online book, when you come across something you want to discover more about, you have the amazing power of internet search-engines at your fingertips, whilst needing to lift little more than an index finger to do so. 

In March 2008 this encouraged me to digitise some 35mm history slides of Charlton Park, put together in the 1980s, adding more recent pictures and text in the process. An application was made to Severn Trent Water Community Recovery Fund (recalling local flooding in July 2007) with the intention of financing a Charlton Park Residents Association website, to incorporate this 'History' section. The application was unsuccessful (July 08). Believing that local people might still be interested in the 'History of Charlton Park' it is currently on the author's web space, awaiting any future CPRA website. The History of Charlton Park is now something anyone can contribute to, offering those of you with suitable material an opportunity to submit facts, stories or pictures from Charlton Park's historic as well as its more recent past as a modern residential development. No longer is there a publication cut-off date, making it permanently accessible and up-datable. 

The final-stage web-development work was undertaken by Chris Bailey, (Webmaster and ex-St Edward's School) enabling you to read it here and my thanks goes to Chris. I accept that by putting such a package into cyberspace it may be picked to pieces or constructively expanded upon - or both! Either way, any brickbats should be directed towards the author and not the webmaster. To this end I wish to make it clear that when mistakes are identified and drawn to my attention I intend to correct them - preferably as a result of a helpful email, or failing that, at least a friendly letter from the lawyers! 

What follows includes details of a few things that happened around here and who made them happen. But history not only embraces things that occurred, it also records significant matters that almost did, and what prevented them. This account includes such an example; where one of Cheltenham's potentially most explosive post-war developments was planned to sit squarely within Charlton Park. Though less explosive than Luftwaffe bombs dropped on Cheltenham during World War II, the visual impact would have been longer-lasting, and for the first time ever, you are able to see for yourself the impact it would have had on Cheltenham. This is but a fraction of the history of this ancient parkland, there being so much more we may never know about.

New people continue to arrive in Charlton Park as individuals and as families or family additions, whilst others slip quietly away to pastures new. Whether you live here now or have done so in the past, you are already part of Charlton Park's history. Before moving on again why not make a difference by taking a little time to contribute something to this admission free, cyber-based record of as pleasant a location as most of us are likely to find in a lifetime. 


-- David Hanks, 2008 --

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