Displaying the first of 169 old photos of Chelmsford. View all Chelmsford photos
Historic maps of Chelmsford and the local area, hand-drawn by Ordnance Survey and Samuel Lewis. View all Chelmsford maps
Chelmsford area books
Displaying 1 of 20 books about Chelmsford and the local area. View all books for this area
Memories of Chelmsford
I was born in Chelmsford in 1937 and can remember going to the market every week and seeing all the farm animals such as cows, bulls, pigs, sheep, chickens, rabbits, etc. all there for sale. My favourite part, though, was where they sold dogs and puppies and my parents always said no to my plea to buy one every week. About 20 years later in the early 1960's I had two sons of my own and history repeated itself as I took them both in their pram to the market every Friday. It was the best day of the week and they loved to go around the pens up close to all the animals. We had walked from Westlands Estate and if the weather was fine we would have a picnic in the Rec (central park) next to the market. While I was growing up, my great-uncle Len Gifford was the Market Inspector, a tall upright man and well known around town, usually to be seen on his bicycle. He... Read more
Coffee Shop in Duke Street
The smell of coffee probably wafted out from the shop at No.10 Duke Street. Basil Harrison was the town centre's grocer for many years who specialised in coffee. His coffee grinding machine stood just behind the shop window from where he could watch the passers-by and the town's changing life. He left diaries of all the observations he had made over the decades. Many of his earliest memories were put together by his daughter, Prue James, in book form under the title of A Duke Street Childhood - growing up in Chelmsford, 1900 - 1918. This was published in 2001.
The Civic Suite
This photo was probably taken soon after the newly built Civic Suite was officially opened for use as public offices. The town's population was expanding rapidly as the local big industries attracted more and more workers from far and wide. Chelmsford Borough Council was incorporated in 1888 and in its early years the small number of employees worked in rented rooms or buildings. In the late 1920's the building to the left of the 1960's Civic Suite was built to accommodate both staff and a Public Library. In 1972 the Chelmsford Borough Council merged with the Chelmsford Rural District Council to become the Chelmsford District Council. This was changed back to Chelmsford Borough Council four years later. By 1988 new buildings had been erected at the rear of the Civic Suite and the Public Library and Reading Room was moved to the new County Hall building extension, in Market Road. The Civic Suite remains the office accommodation for the 21st century created Chelmsford City Council.
New Street 1950s
In the late fifties I went to the Cathedral School in Chelmsford and we lived in Rainsford Road then. Sometimes after school I would come home via New Street, and also later in the sixties when I went to the Grammar School. There was a junk shop with sweets on the ground floor. I wasn't interested in the sweets, I just headed up the stairs to a treasure land where there were old books, records and assorted odds and ends lying around. No one else ever went up there. I didn't often buy stuff but might still have one or two. I remember seeing a book of old German nudes and being shocked, and reading reminiscences of Rossini and Beethoven.
The Old Hawkes Sweet Factory in New Street, Chelmsford
Hi my name is Doug, when I left school at the age of 15 in 1955 I worked at the Hawkes sweet factory as a sugar boiler, amongst other things, and it was there that I met my first girl friend. Although she married someone else, as I did. I have kept in touch with her all my life, she, as I, have very fond and vivid memories of the place. I am writing one long letter to my grand children in Australia at the moment (there's forty lines to a page and it's one hundred pages long at the moment) of which I post them just 3 pages every ten days. It's not a book, but just a story of my life for them. I am very familiar with the factory but my main interest at the moment is, what was the place built for? Or, what was it before the sweet factory? I think that it may have been some sort of a 'coaching house' where horse riding... Read more
Waiting For The Bus 1953
Pictured is the spot in New London Road where I used to wait for the school bus to Moulsham Schools. On the left was the Slyths Monumental Showroom full of sample headstones. If it was raining I would shelter in there out of the rain. To the left of Slyths (out of shot) were the Congregational church schoolrooms. I believe that the Boys Brigade were located there and on Sundays they could be seen marching their band down New London Road towards the Congregational church.
Baptist Chapel, New London Road
To the left of the Chelmsford Infirmary and Dispensary (as it was known), stands the Ebenezer Strict Baptist Chapel which was built in 1848. This place of worship is still in regular use in the 21st century despite its congregation having to do so against the noise of the traffic from Parkway, which now crosses New London Road and past its east boundary wall.
I remember Chelmsford, my dad used to work on the Eastern National Buses for twenty eight years as a 'clippy' til 1973 when he died. We used to live in Waltham where he cycled down to the village to catch the bus, which was two miles away. Does anyone remember him? He was Gorden Redman.I remember when the Queen came to Chelmsford and have picture of her in a car on Broomfield Road.