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|District of Chelmsford|
shown within Essex
Chelmsford (population 100,000) is a town and an administrative district in the county of Essex, in the United Kingdom. It lies 30 miles 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.
Chelmsford is home to the Diocese of Chelmsford, and has the smallest cathedral in England. 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 King Edward VI Grammar School.
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).
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. 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.
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. 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 was attacked on several occasions. The worst single loss of life took place on Tuesday December 19, 1944, when the 367th V2 to hit England fell near the Hoffmans' ball bearing factory. 39 people were killed and 138 injured, 47 of them seriously, while several buildings were destroyed and hundreds more damaged.