The United Kingdom the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, sometimes referred to as Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world; the Irish Sea lies between Great Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres, the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world, it is the 22nd-most populous country, with an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017. The UK is constitutional monarchy; the current monarch is Queen Elizabeth II, who has reigned since 1952, making her the longest-serving current head of state.
The United Kingdom's capital and largest city is London, a global city and financial centre with an urban area population of 10.3 million. Other major urban areas in the UK include Greater Manchester, the West Midlands and West Yorkshire conurbations, Greater Glasgow and the Liverpool Built-up Area; the United Kingdom consists of four constituent countries: England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Their capitals are London, Edinburgh and Belfast, respectively. Apart from England, the countries have their own devolved governments, each with varying powers, but such power is delegated by the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which may enact laws unilaterally altering or abolishing devolution; the nearby Isle of Man, Bailiwick of Guernsey and Bailiwick of Jersey are not part of the UK, being Crown dependencies with the British Government responsible for defence and international representation. The medieval conquest and subsequent annexation of Wales by the Kingdom of England, followed by the union between England and Scotland in 1707 to form the Kingdom of Great Britain, the union in 1801 of Great Britain with the Kingdom of Ireland created the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
Five-sixths of Ireland seceded from the UK in 1922, leaving the present formulation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. There are fourteen British Overseas Territories, the remnants of the British Empire which, at its height in the 1920s, encompassed a quarter of the world's land mass and was the largest empire in history. British influence can be observed in the language and political systems of many of its former colonies; the United Kingdom is a developed country and has the world's fifth-largest economy by nominal GDP and ninth-largest economy by purchasing power parity. It has a high-income economy and has a high Human Development Index rating, ranking 14th in the world, it was the world's first industrialised country and the world's foremost power during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The UK remains a great power, with considerable economic, military and political influence internationally, it is sixth in military expenditure in the world. It has been a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council since its first session in 1946.
It has been a leading member state of the European Union and its predecessor, the European Economic Community, since 1973. The United Kingdom is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the Council of Europe, the G7, the G20, NATO, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the World Trade Organization; the 1707 Acts of Union declared that the kingdoms of England and Scotland were "United into One Kingdom by the Name of Great Britain". The term "United Kingdom" has been used as a description for the former kingdom of Great Britain, although its official name from 1707 to 1800 was "Great Britain"; the Acts of Union 1800 united the kingdom of Great Britain and the kingdom of Ireland in 1801, forming the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Following the partition of Ireland and the independence of the Irish Free State in 1922, which left Northern Ireland as the only part of the island of Ireland within the United Kingdom, the name was changed to the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland".
Although the United Kingdom is a sovereign country, Scotland and Northern Ireland are widely referred to as countries. The UK Prime Minister's website has used the phrase "countries within a country" to describe the United Kingdom; some statistical summaries, such as those for the twelve NUTS 1 regions of the United Kingdom refer to Scotland and Northern Ireland as "regions". Northern Ireland is referred to as a "province". With regard to Northern Ireland, the descriptive name used "can be controversial, with the choice revealing one's political preferences"; the term "Great Britain" conventionally refers to the island of Great Britain, or politically to England and Wales in combination. However, it is sometimes used as a loose synonym for the United Kingdom as a whole; the term "Britain" is used both as a synonym for Great Britain, as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Usage is mixed, with the BBC preferring to use Britain as shorthand only for Great Britain and the UK Government, while accepting that both terms refer to the United K
Cycling infrastructure refers to all infrastructure which may be used by cyclists. This includes the same network of roads and streets used by motorists, except those roads from which cyclists have been banned, plus additional bikeways that are not available to motor vehicles, such as bike paths, bike lanes, cycle tracks and, where permitted, plus amenities like bike racks for parking and specialized traffic signs and signals. Cycling modal share is associated with the size of local cycling infrastructure; the manner in which the public road network is designed and managed can have a significant effect on the utility and safety of cycling. The cycling network may be able to provide the users with direct, convenient routes minimizing unnecessary delay and effort in reaching their destinations. Settlements with a dense road network of interconnected streets tend to be viable utility cycling environments; the history of cycling infrastructure starts from shortly after the bike boom of the 1880s when the first short stretches of dedicated bicycle infrastructure were built, through to the rise of the automobile from the mid-20th century onwards and the concomitant decline of cycling as a means of transport, to cycling's comeback from the 1970s onwards.
A bikeway is a lane, way or path which in some manner is designed and /or designated for bicycle travel. Bike lanes demarcated by a painted marking are quite common in many cities. Cycle tracks demarcated by barriers, bollards or boulevards are quite common in some European countries such as the Netherlands and Germany, they are increasingly common in other major cities such as New York City, Ottawa and San Francisco. Montreal and Davis, which have had segregated cycling facilities with barriers for several decades, are among the earliest examples in North American cities. Various guides exist to define the different types of bikeway infrastructure, including UK Department for Transport manual The Geometric Design of Pedestrian and Equestrian Routes, Sustrans Design Manual, UK Department of Transport Local Transport Note 2/08: Cycle infrastructure design the Danish Road Authority guide Registration and classification of paths, the Dutch CROW, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials Guide to Bikeway Facilities, the Federal Highway Administration Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, the US National Association of City Transportation Officials Urban Bikeway Design Guide.
In the Netherlands, most one way cycle paths are at least 2.5 metres wide. The Netherlands has protected intersection to cyclists crossing roads; some bikeways are separated from motor traffic by physical constraints —bicycle trail, cycle track—but others are separated only by painted markings—bike lane, buffered bike lane, contraflow bike lane. Some share the roadway with motor vehicles—bicycle boulevard, advisory bike lane—or shared with pedestrians—greenway, shared use path; the term bikeway is used in North America to describe all routes that have been designed or updated to encourage more cycling or make cycling safer. In some jurisdictions such as the United Kingdom, segregated cycling facility is sometimes preferred to describe cycling infrastructure which has varying degrees of separation from motorized traffic, or which has excluded pedestrian traffic in the case of exclusive bike paths. There is no single usage of segregation. Thus, it includes bike lanes with solid painted lines but not lanes with dotted lines and advisory bike lanes where motor vehicles are allowed to encroach on the lane.
It includes cycle tracks as physically distinct from the sidewalk. And it includes bike paths in their own right of way exclusive to cycling. Paths which are shared with pedestrians and other non-motorized traffic are not considered segregated and are called shared use path, multi-use path in North America and shared-use footway in the UK. There have been a lot of studies on the safety of all types of bikeways. Proponents say that segregation of cyclists from fast or frequent motorized traffic is necessary to provide a safe and welcoming cycling environment. Opponents point out the increased risk from various types of infrastructure including shared use paths. Different countries have different ways to define and enforce bikeways; some detractors argue that one must be careful in interpreting the operation of dedicated or segregated bikeways/cycle facilities across different designs and contexts. Proponents point out that cycling infrastructure including dedicated bike lanes has been implemented in many cities.
Jurisdictions have guidelines around the selection of the right bikeway treatments in order make routes more comfortable and safer for cycling. Bikeways can fall into these main categories: separated in-roadway bikeways such as bike lanes and buffered bike lanes; the exact categorization changes depending on the jurisdiction and organization, while many just list the types by their used names Bike lanes, or cycle lanes, are on-road lanes
Tewkesbury is a town and civil parish in Gloucestershire, England. It stands at the confluence of the River Severn and the River Avon, minor tributaries the Swilgate and Carrant Brook, it gives its name to the Borough of Tewkesbury. It lies in the far north of the county; the name Tewkesbury comes from Theoc, the name of a Saxon who founded a hermitage there in the 7th century, in the Old English language was called Theocsbury. An erroneous derivation from Theotokos enjoyed currency in the monastic period of the town's history; the Battle of Tewkesbury, which took place on 4 May 1471, was one of the decisive battles of the Wars of the Roses. Bredon Bishop's Cleeve Cheltenham Evesham Gloucester Pershore Malvern Upton upon Severn Cotswolds Forest of Dean Malvern Hills Winchcombe Gretton At the 2011 UK census the Tewkesbury parish had a population of 10,704. If the neighbouring parishes of Wheatpieces and Ashchurch Rural are added, the figure rises to 20,318; the Tewkesbury urban area is divided in two by the north-south running M5 motorway, opened in February 1971.
However, the town is considered as the built-up area to the immediate east and west of the M5 at junction 9, with the town centre and old town situated to the west. The close proximity of large areas of land that are prone to flooding, as evidenced by the severe floods that struck the region in July 2007, would make further expansion difficult. However, the present Borough of Tewkesbury, created on 1 April 1974 contains a large portion of rural north Gloucestershire, extending as far as the edges of Gloucester itself and Cheltenham, has a present population of 81,943; the town features many notable Medieval, Tudor buildings, but its major claim to fame is Tewkesbury Abbey, a fine Norman abbey church part of a monastery, saved from the Dissolution of the Monasteries by King Henry VIII after being bought by the townspeople for the price of the lead on the roof to use as their parish church. Most of the monastery buildings, as well as the vineyards, were destroyed during this time; the Abbey Mill however still remains, resting upon the Mill Avon, a channel built by the monks.
This channel represents one of the biggest projects in Tewkesbury's history, though the present weir dates only from the 1990s, replacing two sluice gates installed in the 1930s. The Abbey Mill is sometimes known as "Abel Fletcher's Mill", but this is the name given to it in Dinah Craik's novel John Halifax, whose setting Norton Bury is based on Tewkesbury; the abbey is thought to be the site of the place. The great Romanesque arch on the west front is striking, the stained glass window at that end has been restored; the monastery was founded by the Despensers as a family mausoleum, the Despenser and Neville tombs are fine examples of small-scale late medieval stonework. The tower is believed to be the largest Norman tower still in existence; the tower once had a wooden spire which may have taken the total height of the building to as much as 260 feet, but this was blown off in a heavy storm on Easter Monday 1559. The height to the top of the pinnacles is 148 feet; the abbey is thought to be the third largest church in Britain, not a cathedral.
From end to end it measures 331 feet, though prior to the destruction of the original Lady Chapel, the total length was 375 feet. The abbey is a parish church, still used for daily services, is believed to be the second-largest parish church in England, after Beverley Minster. Tewkesbury claims Gloucestershire's oldest public house, the Black Bear, dating from 1308, although this is closed and for sale with its future as a pub in doubt. Other notable buildings are the Royal Hop Pole Hotel in Church Street, mentioned in Charles Dickens' The Pickwick Papers, the Bell Hotel, a large half-timbered structure opposite the Abbey gateway, the House of the Nodding Gables in the High Street; the Abbey Cottages, adjacent to Tewkesbury Abbey, were built between 1410 and 1412. They were restored 1967 to 1972 by a building preservation charity, they house residential homes and commercial offices. The John Moore Museum was established in 1980 in memory of John Moore; the museum consists of three buildings: the main John Moore Museum, home to an extensive Natural History collection.
The Old Baptist Chapel, located off Church Street, is a timber-framed building, formally a medieval hall house dating to the 1480s. Sometime in the 17th century, it was converted for use as a Nonconformist meeting house. Including the original baptistery and pastor's room, the building is of significant historic interest; the building was restored to its 1720 appearance in the 1970s by Tewkesbury Borough Council. It was further renovated and interpreted in 2015 by the Abbey Lawn Trust and is used as a venue for a variety of cultural events. Behind the chapel is a small cemetery for those who were members of the congregation; this includes the grave of
Victoria County History
The Victoria History of the Counties of England known as the Victoria County History or the VCH, is an English history project which began in 1899 and was dedicated to Queen Victoria with the aim of creating an encyclopaedic history of each of the historic counties of England. In 2012 the project was rededicated to Queen Elizabeth II in celebration of her Diamond Jubilee year. Since 1933 the project has been coordinated by the Institute of Historical Research in the University of London; the history of the VCH falls into three main phases, defined by different funding regimes: an early phase, 1899–1914, when the project was conceived as a commercial enterprise, progress was rapid. These phases have been characterised by changing attitudes towards the proper scope of English local history; the early volumes were planned on the model of traditional English county histories, with a strong emphasis on manorial descents, the advowsons of parish churches, the local landed gentry: a prospectus of c. 1904 stated that "there is no Englishman to whom does not in some one or other of its features make a direct appeal".
More recent volumes – those published since the 1950s – have been more wide-ranging in their approach, have included systematic coverage of social and economic history, industrial history, population history, educational history, landscape history, religious nonconformity, so on: individual parish histories have grown in length and complexity. From 1902 the joint general editors were William Page. Doubleday resigned in 1904, leaving Page as sole general editor until his death in 1934. In 1932 Page bought the rights to the ailing project for a nominal sum, donating it to the Institute of Historical Research the following year. Page was succeeded as general editor by L. F. Salzman, who remained in post until 1949; the early volumes depended on the efforts of a large number of young research workers female, fresh from degree courses at Oxford, London or the Scottish universities, for whom other employment opportunities were limited: the VCH of this period has been described as "a history for gentlemen researched by ladies".
From 1909 until 1931 Frederick Smith 2nd Viscount Hambleden, was the VCH's major sponsor. In February 2005 the Heritage Lottery Fund awarded the VCH £3,374,000 to fund the England's Past for Everyone project, which ran from September that year until February 2010; the first VCH volume was published in 1901, publication continued throughout the 20th century, although in some counties it has come to a halt during the First World War and again in the 1970s. Some inactive counties have been reactivated. There are now more than 230 VCH volumes, with around three new volumes published per year; each is published with a red cover, they are therefore sometimes known as "the big red books". When the Institute of Historical Research published a short history of the project to mark the 75th anniversary of taking it over, it was titled The Little Big Red Book. A special edition Jubilee book was published in 2012, A Diamond Jubilee Celebration 1899-2012. A map showing the publication status appears on the VCH website.
From its inception, responsibility for writing the volumes was delegated to local editors for each individual county. The county editors traditionally worked under the direction of a general editor, following a uniform format and style. In general, the histories begin with one or more volumes of general studies of the county as a whole, including major themes, such as religious history, industries, an introduction to and translation of the relevant section of Domesday Book; these volumes are followed by others consisting of detailed historical surveys of each Hundred and Ward, parish by parish. At first, ancient ecclesiastical parishes formed the unit of investigation, but "since the mid-1950s the VCH parish is the civil parish, the modern successor of the ancient parishes or of townships within them. Large towns are dealt with as a whole, since the 1960s, built-up areas of adjoining rural parishes. Under the original plan, each county, in addition to its general and topographical volumes, was to have a genealogical volume containing the pedigrees of county families.
Genealogical volumes were published in a large folio format for Northamptonshire and Hertfordshire, but the research costs were found to be excessive, this side of the project was discontinued. Some of the county histories have been completed. For each of these, the number of volumes published and the date of completion is as follows: Bedfordshire 1914 Berkshire 1927 Buckinghamshire 1928 Cambridgeshire 2002 Hampshire 1914 Hertfordshire 1923 Huntingdonshire 1938 Lancashire 1914 Rutland 1936 Surrey 1914 Warwickshire 1969 Worcestershire 1926 Yorkshire 1925 Yorkshire 1925 For each uncompleted county history on which work is continuing, the number of volumes published and the dates of
In England, a civil parish is a type of administrative parish used for local government, they are a territorial designation, the lowest tier of local government below districts and counties, or their combined form, the unitary authority. Civil parishes can trace their origin to the ancient system of ecclesiastical parishes which played a role in both civil and ecclesiastical administration; the unit rolled out across England in the 1860s. A civil parish can range in size from a large town with a population of about 75,000 to a single village with fewer than a hundred inhabitants. Eight parishes have city status. A civil parish may be known as and confirmed as a town, neighbourhood or community by resolution of its parish council, a right reserved not conferred on other units of English local government. 35% of the English population live in a civil parish. As of 31 December 2015 there were 10,449 parishes in England; the most populous is Weston super Mare and those with cathedral city status are Chichester, Hereford, Ripon, Salisbury and Wells.
On 1 April 2014, Queen's Park became the first civil parish in Greater London. Before 2008 their creation was not permitted within a London borough. Wales was divided into civil parishes until 1974, when they were replaced by communities, which are similar to English parishes in the way they operate. Civil parishes in Scotland were abolished for local government purposes by the Local Government Act 1929, the Scottish equivalent of English civil parishes are community council areas, which were established by the Local Government Act 1973; the Parish system in Europe was established between the 8th and 12th centuries and in England was old by the time of the Conquest. These areas were based on the territory of one or more manors, areas which in some cases derived their bounds from Roman or Iron Age estates. Parish boundaries were conservative, changing little, after 1180'froze' so that boundaries could no longer be changed at all, despite changes to manorial landholdings - though there were some examples of sub-division.
The consistency of these boundaries, up until the 19th century is useful to historians, is of cultural significance in terms of shaping local identities, a factor reinforced by the adoption of parish boundaries unchanged, by successor local government units. There was huge variation in size between parishes, for instance Writtle in Essex was 13,568 acres while neighbouring Shellow Bowells was just 469 acres, Chignall Smealy 476 acres; until the break with Rome, parishes managed ecclesiastical matters, while the manor was the principal unit of local administration and justice. The church replaced the manor court as the rural administrative centre, levied a local tax on produce known as a tithe. In the medieval period, responsibilities such as relief of the poor passed from the Lord of the Manor to the parish's rector, who in practice would delegate tasks among his vestry or the monasteries. After the dissolution of the monasteries, the power to levy a rate to fund relief of the poor was conferred on the parish authorities by the Act for the Relief of the Poor 1601.
Both before and after this optional social change, local charities are well-documented. The parish authorities were consisted of all the ratepayers of the parish; as the number of ratepayers of some parishes grew, it became difficult to convene meetings as an open vestry. In some built up, areas the select vestry took over responsibility from the entire body of ratepayers; this innovation allowed governance by a self-perpetuating elite. The administration of the parish system relied on the monopoly of the established English Church, which for a few years after Henry VIII alternated between the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of England, before settling on the latter on the accession of Elizabeth I in 1558. By the 18th century, religious membership was becoming more fractured in some places, due for instance to the progress of Methodism; the legitimacy of the parish vestry came into question and the perceived inefficiency and corruption inherent in the system became a source for concern in some places.
For this reason, during the early 19th century the parish progressively lost its powers to ad hoc boards and other organisations, for example the loss of responsibility for poor relief through the Poor Law Amendment Act 1834. Sanitary districts covered England in Ireland three years later; the replacement boards were each entitled to levy their own rate in the parish. The church rate ceased to be levied in many parishes and became voluntary from 1868; the ancient parishes diverged into two distinct, nearly overlapping, systems of parishes during the 19th century. The Poor Law Amendment Act 1866 declared all areas that levied a separate rate: C of E ecclesiastical parishes, extra-parochial areas and their analogue, chapelries, to be "civil parishes". To have collected rates this means these beforehand had their own vestries, boards or equivalent bodies; the Church of England parishes, which cover more than 99% of England, became termed "ecclesiastical parishes" and the boundaries of these soon diverged from those of the Ancient Parishes in order to reflect modern circumstances.
After 1921 each ecclesiastical parish has been the responsibility of the parochial church councils. In the late 19th century, most of the ancient irregularities inheri
Birmingham and Gloucester Railway
The Birmingham and Gloucester Railway was a railway route linking the cities in its name. It linked with the Bristol and Gloucester Railway in Gloucester, but at first that company's line was broad gauge, Gloucester was the scene of chaotic transhipment of goods into wagons of the 4 ft 8 1⁄2 in other gauge; the Birmingham and Gloucester Railway main line incorporated the Lickey Incline, a 2-mile stretch of track climbing a 1-in-37 gradient in the northbound direction. This was a serious challenge throughout the period of steam traction. In 1846 the Birmingham and Gloucester Railway was acquired by the Midland Railway. Nearly all of the original main line remains in-situ at the present day, forming part of an important trunk route; the idea for a railway line between Bristol and Birmingham was put forward during the construction of the Stockton and Darlington Railway. 78,000 tons of goods were conveyed from Birmingham to Bristol annually, a journey that took nearly a week, the cost of the journey was high.
At a meeting in Bristol on 13 December 1824 subscriptions were taken for a proposed Bristol and Western Railway. There was considerable enthusiasm for the scheme and before the meeting closed, all the 16,000 shares allocated to Bristol were taken up. A further 9,000 shares were allocated to other locations, the total amounted to £1 1⁄4 million. A survey was carried out in 1825 but there was a financial crisis in 1826, the investors asked for the project to be suspended, nothing more came of it. In 1832 a further scheme was put forward, Isambard Kingdom Brunel was asked to survey a cheap route between Birmingham and Gloucester, he avoided the barrier of the Lickey Hills and his maximum gradient would have been 1 in 300. This scheme too failed to make progress due to lack of funds; the idea was revived. There was disquiet from the by-passed towns, Cheltenham was vocal. Moorsom modified his intended route to provide a Cheltenham station, but, not considered convenient for the centre of the town, a branch line was proposed.
When the B&GR promoters refused to contemplate the expense of that, Pearson Thompson, a prominent Cheltenham resident and a member of the Gloucester Committee of the B&GR, offered to build it himself at his own expense. At Birmingham the situation was happier; as well as giving a direct connection to London, over the Grand Junction Railway to the north west of England, this avoided the expense of constructing a new terminus in the city. Moorsom estimated the cost of construction to be £920,000. Moorsom's route did climb the Lickey Ridge directly; this was divided into two sections: 1 1⁄4 miles at 1 in 54 worked by a 96 hp stationary engine, 1 1⁄4 miles at 1 in 36 worked by a 121 hp machine. There was to be an inclined plane at Gloucester to reach a goods depot at the canal, another at the connecting line to the L&BR in Birmingham, at 1 in 84. In the 1836 session of Parliament, the Cheltenham and Great Western Union Railway was being considered, between Gloucester and Cheltenham the two companies proposed identical routing.
They came to an arrangement. The line between Gloucester and Cheltenham was to be divided, the Cheltenham end being built by the Birmingham company and the Gloucester end by the C&GWUR; each would build one of the stations and both would have freedom to run over the whole line and use both the stations. The means of dealing with the complexity of the different gauges was not specified at first. There was a plateway tramroad between Gloucester and Cheltenham; the Gloucester and Cheltenham Tramroad had opened in 1810. As well as connecting the two places, it had an important branch to quarries at Leckhampton, in the hills south of Cheltenham. Stone for house building was in demand at the time. Acquisition of the tramroad was sought by both the B&GR and the C&GWUR; the collaborative approach to building the new main line extended to the issue of acquiring the tramroad, it was agreed to do so jointly, for the sum of £35,000. At this stage the line was conceived as a toll railway, in which independent carriers would provide the trains, paying the B&GR a toll for the privilege.
The Birmingham and Gloucester Railway was given the Royal Assent on 22 April 1836. With authorised capital of £950,000. Public opinion in Worcester was hostile to the company because of the route to be taken by the main line, far from the city; because of the fear of competing railways companies providing that need, the B&GR agreed to provide a branch line to Worcester, from Abbotswood. Tewkesbury had to be pacified, with a branch line from Ashchurch; these were authorised the following year, by Act of 15 May 1837. for extensions to Worcester and Tewkesbury. Construction had been delayed due to high prices and the difficulty of obtaining access to the land on the route, but in April 1837 it was started in earnest; however a group of shareholders cast doubt on Moorsom's ability and it was agreed that there would be a six week delay while an eminent engineer reviewed the technical aspects of the proposed line. This was done by Joseph Locke, his report on the technica