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
Chipping Sodbury is a market town in the unitary authority of South Gloucestershire, south-west England, founded in the 12th century by William Crassus. It is the principal settlement in the civil parish of Sodbury, which includes the village of Old Sodbury. Little Sodbury is a nearby but separate civil parish. Sodbury parish council has elected to be known as Sodbury Town Council. At the 2001 census the population of Chipping Sodbury was 5,066, but in the last decade the town has become part of a much larger built-up area due to the rapid expansion of nearby Yate, with which it is contiguous to the west. At the census the combined population of Yate and Chipping Sodbury was 26,855. An electoral ward in the same name exists; this ward stretches south to Dodington. The total population of the ward taken at the 2011 census was 6,834. East of the town is the Chipping Sodbury Tunnel, a railway tunnel under the Cotswolds 2 miles 924 yards long, opened by the Great Western Railway in 1902; the tunnel is notorious for flooding in wet weather leading to disruption of services on the main railway line to and from South Wales.
Chipping Sodbury had a railway station from 1903 to 1961. Yate station, on the Bristol to Birmingham main line, closed in January 1965 but reopened in May 1989. Chipping Sodbury hosts a twice yearly Mop Fair the last weekends of March and September; the town holds a Festival Week in early June, including a "Big Lunch" where the main road is closed and residents bring picnics to eat on the street. A Big Lunch is held in December to combat loneliness amongst elderly people at Christmas. There is a farmers' market twice a month, on the fourth Saturdays. A Victorian Day is held on the first Saturday in December; the event starts with school choirs performing in the street, followed by the arrival of Father Christmas with snow guaranteed. The streets are lined with stalls from local charities and organisations and old time amusements, including a Ferris wheel, Helter Skelter and two children's rides. Choirs sing, bands play, stalls bring a market feel. A Hog Roast is held; the town celebrated its 800th anniversary in August 2018 with a weekend of medieval activities including another Big Lunch.
A time capsule was buried containing photographs of local businesses and poems written by local schoolchildren. The capsule is to be dug up on the town's 900th anniversary in August 2118; the town is served by a community radio station, GLOSS FM which broadcasts 365 days a year on its webcasts and twice a year on 87.7 MHz FM. Chipping Sodbury has two government funded a secondary school. Chipping Sodbury School, the secondary school, caters for children aged 11 to 18 and describes itself as a'Specialist Technology School'; the School shares a sixth form, named Cotswold Edge, with both Brimsham Green School and Yate International Academy. Subjects taken by students are split between the three locations; the School obtained a'Satisfactory' status from Ofsted in 2011. St John's Mead Primary School is named after the local CoE church; the other Primary School is Junior schools. Within the parish boundary is Old Sodbury Primary School. Dodington Parish Hall, situated next to Raysfield Junior and Infant Schools, is the home of Raysfield pre-school.
The town's name is recorded in Old English as Soppanbyrig = "Soppa's fort". "Chipping" means. Edward Jenner, in the 18th century, started his medical training in Sodbury, observing people catching cowpox and not catching smallpox. RC "Jack" Russell: former England cricket wicket keeper and artist owns an art gallery in the town. Sir James Dyson, inventor of the Dual Cyclone bagless vacuum cleaner, lives at Dodington Park just outside Chipping Sodbury. J. K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter fantasy series, was born in 1965 at the Chipping Sodbury Maternity Hospital, on Station Road, Yate; until the age of four, she lived with her parents in Yate. David Verey, Gloucestershire: the Vale and the Forest of Dean, The Buildings of England edited by Nikolaus Pevsner, 2nd ed. ISBN 0-14-071041-8, pp. 155–157 Chipping Sodbury at Curlie
Conham is a suburb of the city of Bristol in England. It lies near Hanham on the north bank of the River Avon just outside the city boundaries in South Gloucestershire; the Conham Ferry is a small passenger ferry which operates across the river from Conham to Broomhill. The Conham River Park lies in a loop of the River Avon, forms part of the Avon Valley Woodlands. Conham at Streetmap.co.uk
Almondsbury is a large village near junction 16 of the M5 motorway, in South Gloucestershire, a civil parish which includes the villages of Hortham, Gaunt's Earthcott, Easter Compton, Compton Greenfield, Hallen. Almondsbury is in the South Gloucestershire unitary authority area; the electoral ward of Almondsbury covers the same area as the civil parish, stretching from Gaunt's Earthcott east of the M5 motorway south west to Hallen on the boundary with Bristol. The village is split by part of the escarpment overlooking the Severn floodplain. At the bottom of the hill is Lower Almondsbury where a pub and hotel, The Bowl Inn, is situated. South Wales, the Forest of Dean, the River Severn and both Severn Bridges are visible from the higher parts of the village; the place-name'Almondsbury' is first attested in the Domesday Book of 1086, where it appears as Almodesberie. The name means'Æthelmod's or Ealhmund's burgh or fortified place'; the pub takes its name from the bowl shape of the land surrounding the estuary.
Parts of this whitewashed-stone inn were the three cottages erected in 1146 to house the monks building the adjacent church of St Mary the Virgin. The present building became a licensed inn in 1550. At the bottom of the hill is the local church, dedicated to Saint Mary the Virgin; the church and tower were built in 1140 AD. The lead-covered spire was added some time before 1619. In 1817, a woman purporting to be Princess Caraboo was found in the town, in what was to become one of the more elaborate deceptions of the period. Another pub, The Swan Inn, is located on the A38, in the upper part of the village opposite an open space known as Almondsbury Tump. In March 2009 a community shop was opened in the village by the not-for-profit Almondsbury Community Services Association, situated opposite the Old School Hall at 14 Church Road; the community shop is staffed by unpaid volunteers. The aim of the project goes beyond a village shop, being a service for the village, to support local suppliers wherever possible, to be another focal point where people in the village can meet.
A proportion of the surplus generated by the shop is returned to community projects and organisations in the village. In 2018, the village community purchased the premises from the church through a Community Share issue; the chairman of the shop committee is John Mclevy. The village has an ambulance station, a motorway police station, a garden centre, a restaurant/pub. A helicopter base is in development next to the Almondsbury Interchange as a new home for NPAS Filton and the Great Western Air Ambulance. Almondsbury is home to non-League football club Almondsbury UWE who play at Almondsbury Sports & Social Complex on Gloucester Road. Almondbury Cricket Club and Almondsbury Tennis club are based at the same site. Gloucestershire FA are based in Almondsbury at Oakland Park. North Bristol RFC play next door. Education is provided by Almondsbury Church of England Primary School; this is a state maintained school. The Ofsted report, dated April 2009, rated the school as good. For secondary education Almondsbury is served by Patchway Community College.
Almondsbury is the birthplace of the lead singer of Franz Ferdinand. The civil parish of Almondsbury is much larger than the village, it includes the villages of Hortham, Gaunt's Earthcott, Easter Compton, Compton Greenfield and Hallen. It includes Cribbs Causeway and the site of the village of Charlton, now the western end of Filton Airfield; when it was created in 1866 the civil parish included Patchway, but not Easter Compton, Compton Greenfield, Cribbs Causeway or Charlton, all of which were transferred from the parish of Henbury in 1935. The parish of Patchway was separated from Almondsbury in 1953. Almondsbury Church Almondsbury Community Services Organisation Almondsbury Parish Council website Almondsbury Shop Website Almondsbury in the Domesday Book
Avon and Somerset Constabulary
Avon and Somerset Constabulary is the territorial police force responsible for law enforcement in the county of Somerset and the now-defunct county of Avon, which includes the city and county of Bristol and the unitary authorities of Bath and North East Somerset, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire. As of September 2017 the force had a workforce of 2,630 police officers, 2,275 police staff, 315 police community support officers and 340 special constables; the constabulary provides service for over 1.6 million people and, in terms of geographic area of responsibility, is the 11th largest in England and Wales. The police area covered by Avon & Somerset Constabulary today can trace its policing heritage back to the start of the modern policing system; the Municipal Corporations Act 1835 created municipal boroughs across England and Wales, each with the power to create a borough police force. Prior to this time'policing' was unrecognisable from today's system with watchmen and parish constables providing variable levels of law enforcement, if any, driven by magistrates.
As a result of the Act the following borough police forces were created within the current Avon and Somerset Constabulary police area: Bath City Police, Bristol Constabulary, Bridgwater Borough Police, Wells City Police, Glastonbury Borough Police, Chard Borough Police, Yeovil Borough Police. However, outside of the new boroughs there was no modern police. Therefore, the government introduced the County Police Act 1839 which permitted county authorities to set up county forces to police areas outside of the boroughs. Following these Acts, Gloucestershire Constabulary was created in 1839 which covered what is now the north part of the current police area of Avon & Somerset Constabulary. There was still some opposition to the new model of policing however, rural Somerset had no police force until 1856; the County and Borough Police Act 1856 mandated. Somerset Constabulary commenced policing the county in 1856 with Wells City Police and Glastonbury Borough Police merging into the new county force immediately, with Yeovil Borough Police following a year later.
In the 19th century the Local Government Act 1888 required that all boroughs with populations of less than 10,000 amalgamate their police force with the adjoining county constabulary. This signalled the end of Chard Borough Police who merged into Somerset Constabulary on 1 April 1888. In 1940, Bridgwater Borough Police voluntarily became part of Somerset constabulary, the small force having a 101-year history, with the 20 officers of the borough police becoming Somerset County officers upon merger. During the 20th century the number of individual police forces across the United Kingdom was reduced across the country on grounds of efficiency; the Police Act 1964 gave the Home Secretary the power to enforce amalgamations but this was not required when Somerset Constabulary and Bath City Police voluntarily agreed to merge forming the Somerset and Bath Constabulary on 1 January 1967. This resulted in 3 police forces left covering the geographic area, now the responsibility of Avon & Somerset Constabulary.
This situation ended 7 years on 1 April 1974 following the implementation the Local Government Act 1972 which created Avon and Somerset Constabulary following the amalgamation of Somerset and Bath Constabulary with Bristol Constabulary and the southern part of Gloucestershire Constabulary. **First Chief Constable of Avon & Somerset Constabulary upon its formation. Had been Chief Constable of one of the preceding forces – Somerset and Bath Constabulary from 1967, prior to, Chief Constable of Somerset Constabulary from 1955. Colin Port served as the Chief Constable of the Constabulary since January 2005, however after the Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens announced on 22 November 2012 that she would invite applications for the role rather than extending his contract, Port decided not to re-apply for the position and retired in March 2013. In January 2013, Port took the PCC to court to seek an injunction to block the interviews of candidates for the post of Chief Constable, however the case did not succeed.
Nick Gargan was appointed as the next Chief Constable in March 2013, however just over a year in mid-May 2014, Gargan was suspended by Commissioner Mountstevens following allegations of'inappropriate behaviour towards female officers and staff'. The enquiry into the allegations was referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission. Gargan is reported by the Commissioner to have denied the allegations. During the first part of Gargan's suspension, the force was run by Deputy Chief Constable, John Long. Long stood down as acting Chief Constable at the end of August 2015, where he was replaced by Gareth Morgan, serving as Deputy Chief Constable for Long. Gargan resigned from the position in October 2015. Morgan continued serving as acting Chief Constable after Gargan's resignation until Commissioner Mountstevens appointed Andy Marsh, the former Chief Constable of the Hampshire Constabulary, as the new Chief Constable of the Constabulary in February 2016; the constabulary is overseen by the Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner, a new elected position which replaced the Avon and Somerset Police Authority in November 2012.
The police and crime commissioner is scrutinised by the Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Panel, consisting of elected councillors from the police area. The first police and crime commissioner, elected on 15 November 2012 and took
Bradley Stoke is a town in South Gloucestershire, situated on the north side of the City of Bristol. Bradley Stoke is Europe's largest new town built with private investment; the town was planned in the 1970s and building began in 1987 and was named after the local Bradley Brook and Stoke Brook streams. Bradley Stoke is not far from the Severn estuary of the Bristol Channel; the town Bradley Stoke is bordered by three motorways on three sides. The M5 Motorway to the north, the M4 Motorway to the east and the M32 Motorway to the south; the Willow Brook Centre, Bradley Stoke's town centre and shopping hub, attracts more than six million visitors every year. The town is predominantly residential but was planned on a self-standing basis with retail and commercial areas in the North and Central areas, various business parks on the outskirts of the town; the area, now Bradley Stoke was once a farmland north of the village of Stoke Gifford near Bristol city. The land was divided between the civil parishes of Stoke Almondsbury.
The area consisted of a number of farms, Bailey's Court and Watch Elm Farm in the south, Bowsland Farm and Manor Farm in the north and Webb's Farm in the middle. Some of the lands were used as pasture. A number of woods existed, Sherbourne's Brake, Webb's Wood and the large Savage's Wood have all been preserved. Fiddlers Wood, the name of which lives on in Fiddlers Wood Lane was all but obliterated by the M4 Motorway. Baileys Court Farmhouse is the only original building that exists and was used as offices by the towns developers before becoming the Bailey's Court Inn. Watch Elm Farm was named after the Watch Elm, an elm of a legendary size that blew down in the mid 18th century; the Stoke Brook flows through the middle of Bradley Stoke. During its development, the new settlement faced some problems in the wake of a national recession. At the time, Bradley Stoke was reputed to be one of Europe's largest private housing developments and did struggle to develop at first to establish itself as an identifiable town unlike other earlier new towns which were supported by a New Town Development Corporation, as the settlement relied principally on private investment within a restricted statutory framework of the local authority Northavon District Council within the Avon County Council area.
A combination of private house builder led the development and with only limited input from commercial businesses and the consequent recession resulted in the new town gaining a reputation for being a soulless housing estate with only limited facilities and no town centre, with the exception of a Tesco supermarket. High-interest rates during the early 1990s soon led to the collapse of the property market in the area with many new homes falling into negative equity; this led to the branding of the new town as named,'Sadly Broke' until property values and the development market began to recover. Bradley Stoke has a Town Council made up of 15 Councillors elected from seven wards to administer the local issues; the Town Council is assisted by the Deputy Town Mayor. The three standing committees of the Town Council acts as deliberative wings of the Council. Decisions of the Council are carried out by officers and staff employed by the Council headed by the Town Clerk. Bradley Stoke is one of the wealthiest local councils in South West England.
Bradley Stoke is part of the South Gloucestershire County Council which acts as its Unitary Authority. Bradley Stoke Town is represented in the South Gloucestershire Council by six Councillors elected from four electoral wards. Bradley Stoke occupies the central part of the Filton and Bradley Stoke Parliamentary constituency, which elects one Member of Parliament. Bradley Stoke is twinned with France located in the Paris suburbs. Many of the facilities in the town were to be funded by the housing developers from housing sales, via'Section 106' planning agreements; when house building and sales slowed for a time in the late 80s, there was a significant slowdown in facility completion. This included the late provision of the road joining the North and South sides of the town, the completion of the doctors' surgery; the town centre, Willow Brook Centre, opened on 13 October 2008. Stores at Willow Brook Shopping Centre include Tesco Extra, Boots, Card Factory, Costa Coffee, Domino's Pizza, Dorothy Perkins, EE, F&F, Giant Bicycles, Harvester, Holland & Barrett, KFC, Ladbrokes, O2, Pets at Home, Reflections, Shoe Zone, Subway, Tanning Shop, The Food Warehouse by Iceland, The Works, Vision Express.
Services at the Willow Brook Shopping Centre include Anytime Fitness, Aspirations, BT, CJ Hole, Explore Learning, Leading Edge, Logical, My Dentist, Reed, Waves car wash and Willow Clinic. The new town centre was named by an anonymous resident as part of a competition run by Bradley Stoke Town Council in partnership with Tesco; the centre is situated on the original Tesco supermarket site, the redevelopment was approved by South Gloucestershire Council on 13 November 2006. The Bradley Stoke Town Council operates three activity centres located at The Bradley Stoke Jubilee Centre on Savages Wood Road, Baileys Court Activity Centre on Baileys Court Road and Brook Way Activity Centre on Brook Way; each activity centre offers rooms and facilities to hire, the provision of sports activities such as bowls, football pitches and hardball courts. To the North of the town there are a number of other facilities on Pear Tree
Charfield is a village and civil parish in Gloucestershire, south-west of Wotton-under-Edge near the Little Avon River and the villages of Falfield and Cromhall. Charfield is a medium-sized village of about 2,500 residents with three pubs, the Pear Tree, Railway Tavern and The Plough Inn, a convenience store with Post Office and two churches. There are Farm Lees, Longs View, Manor Lane and Woodlands; the school has around 250 students. An electoral ward with the same name exists; this ward starts in the east in Charfield and stretches west to Falfield. The ward's population at the 2011 census was 4,678; the parish council has responsibility for local issues, including setting an annual precept to cover the council's operating costs and producing annual accounts for public scrutiny. The parish council evaluates local planning applications and works with the local police, district council officers, neighbourhood watch groups on matters of crime and traffic; the parish council's role includes initiating projects for the maintenance and repair of parish facilities, such as the Memorial Hall and playing field and playground, as well as consulting with the district council on the maintenance and improvement of highways, footpaths, public transport, street cleaning.
Conservation matters and environmental issues are of interest to the council. The parish council is a burial authority, has its own burial ground in nearby Churchend; the Bristol-Birmingham main railway line runs through the village. Charfield railway station closed in January 1965 but still stands, discussions continue about the viability of re-opening it; the costs of re-opening would be shared between Gloucestershire and South Gloucestershire Councils since, although the station would be in South Gloucestershire, the nearby Gloucestershire town of Wotton-under-Edge would be a principal beneficiary. The railway line marks the division of the village between two different telephone areas; the village is on the outer limits of both areas. The village has now been fibre-enabled; the Charfield railway disaster was a fatal train crash which occurred on 13 October 1928. The Leeds to Bristol LMS night mail train crashed under a road bridge near Charfield railway station, killing 15 and injuring 23. Amongst the dead were two children.
Charfield Memorial Hall and Playing Field is in the centre of Charfield. The Hall has been refurbished and the play area upgraded with new equipment. St James' Church, Charfield Charfield Community Website Charfield Parish Council Web Site Charfield Burial Ground