Scrumpy and Western
Scrumpy and Western refers humorously to music from England's West Country that fuses comical folk-style songs full of double entendre, with affectionate parodies of more mainstream musical genres, all delivered in the local accent/dialect. The name, taken from the title of the 1967 Scrumpy & Western EP by Adge Cutler and the Wurzels, refers to scrumpy alcoholic cider produced in the West Country. Exact styles vary by band or musician, few are known outside their native county; the main exceptions to this are the Wurzels, a Somerset group who had a number one hit in the UK with The Combine Harvester in 1976. This followed an earlier hit single with Drink Up Thy Zider, an unofficial West Country anthem among supporters of Bristol City Football Club; this gained notoriety when the BBC refused to play its B-side song, Twice Daily, due to concern about the unseemly subject matter. "Combine Harvester" itself was a reworded version of Melanie's Brand New Key and other songs borrowed the style and made fun of the themes of Country and Western and other US and British popular music.
Other artists whose music is Scrumpy and Western in flavour include The Yetties from the village of Yetminster in Dorset, The Golden Lion Light Orchestra from Worcestershire, Fred Wedlock, Who's Afear'd, the Skimmity Hitchers, the Surfin Turnips, Trevor Crozier, the Yokels, Shag Connors and the Carrot Crunchers, the Pigsty Hill Light Orchestra. West Country dialects
Tiverton is a town and civil parish in the English county of Devon and the main commercial and administrative centre of the Mid Devon district. It has become a dormitory town for commuters to Exeter and Taunton; the built-up area had a population of 19,544 in 2011 and the parish had 21,335. The town's name is conjectured to derive from "Twy-ford-ton" or "Twyverton", meaning "the town on two fords", was referred to as "Twyford"; the town stands at the confluence of the rivers Lowman. Human occupation in the area dates back with many flint tools found in the area. An Iron Age hill fort, Cranmore Castle stands at the top of Exeter Hill above the town, a Roman fort, or rather marching camp, was discovered on the hillside below Knightshayes Court near Bolham, just to the north of the town. Tiverton formed part of the inheritance of youngest son of King Alfred. Countess Gytha of Wessex controlled the town in 1066 and the Domesday Book indicates that William the Conqueror was its tenant-in-chief in 1086.
Tiverton was the seat of the court of the hundred of Tiverton. It was the strategic site chosen by Henry I for a Norman castle, Tiverton Castle first built in 1106 as a motte-and-bailey type and extensively remodelled in the 13th and 14th centuries. Tiverton has a medieval town leat, built for the town by Countess Isabella de Fortibus, the eldest daughter of Baldwin de Redvers, 6th Earl of Devon and grew up at Tidcombe Hall, close to Tiverton. Isabella controlled the Port of Topsham, through which much of Tiverton's woollen exports were transported to the Low Countries; every seven years there is a Perambulation of the Town Leat ceremony to clear the path of the leat and ensure it is kept running. The leat can be seen in Castle Street, where it runs down the centre of the road, at Coggan's Well, in Fore Street. Tiverton owes its early growth and prosperity to the wool trade, which caused the town to grow in the 16th and 17th centuries. Many wealthy wool merchants added to the town's heritage.
John Greenway, for example, added a chapel and porch to St Peter's parish church in 1517, a small chapel and almshouses in Gold Street which still stand – the Almshouse Trust still houses people today. Peter Blundell, another wealthy merchant, who died in 1601, bequeathed the funds and land for Blundell's School to educate local children, it was founded in Tiverton in 1604, relocated to its present location on the outskirts of town in 1882, where it functions now as an independent school. John Waldron founded Waldron's Almshouses, on Wellbrook Street, his elaborate chest tomb survives in St Peter's Church. In about 1600 there were two major fires in the town, the first in 1596 started in a frying pan, destroying most of the town; the second, in 1612, was known as the "dog-fight fire" because a dog fight had distracted people who were supposed to be looking after a furnace. During the English Civil War in 1645 Tiverton Castle, held by the Royalists, was the scene of a brief siege by Thomas Fairfax's Parliamentarian forces.
The Parliamentarian forces entered Tiverton under Major General Massey on 15 October, the town's defenders fleeing before him towards Exeter. They left a defending force in the church. Fairfax arrived from Cullompton on 17 October, set up his artillery and bombarded the castle for two days, ceasing fire for the sabbath in the afternoon of Saturday 18 October. On Sunday Fairfax had "several great pieces" of artillery brought up, ready for a renewed barrage on Monday, which commenced at 7 a. m. The siege was ended when a lucky shot broke one of the drawbridge chains and an alert squad of Roundheads gained swift entry. Fairfax set up his winter quarters in Tiverton due to the inclement weather, requisitioning Blundell's School as his headquarters, he was joined there in December 1645 by Oliver Cromwell. They left to lay siege to Exeter in January 1646; the town enjoyed prosperity from the wool trade in the early 18th century. However, a period of decline followed during the early Industrial Revolution.
There were occasional riots, societies of woolcombers and weavers were formed in an effort to protect jobs and wages. By the end of the century, due to imports of cotton and the expansion of industrialization elsewhere, along with the effect of the Napoleonic Wars on exports, the town's woollen industry was in terminal decline. In June 1731 another fire destroyed 298 houses in the town. After this, the streets were widened. In May 1738, riots broke out in the town; the industrialist John Heathcoat bought an old woollen mill on the river Exe in 1815, following the destruction of his machinery at Loughborough by former Luddites who were thought to have been in the pay of the lacemakers of Nottingham, he moved his entire lace-making operation to Tiverton. The factory turned the fortunes of Tiverton once again, it became an early industrial centre in the South West. Trade was aided when a branch of the Grand Western Canal from Tiverton to Lowdwells was opened in 1814, with an extension to Taunton in 1838.
This was followed by a branch of the Great Western Railway in 1848. Although small, Tiverton had two members of Parliament; as one of the "rotten boroughs" it was targeted by those seeking electoral reform. Lord Palmerston, or "Pam" as he was known locally, was an MP for Tiverton for a large part of the 19th century. In 1847, the Chartists, a radical group seeking to change the electoral system, stood one of their leaders, George Julian Harney, against Palmerston, he is reported as having gained no votes – but in fact he won the "popular vote", withdrew when Palmerston called a ballot, aware that he woul
Cornwall is a county in South West England in the United Kingdom. The county is bordered to the north and west by the Celtic Sea, to the south by the English Channel, to the east by the county of Devon, over the River Tamar which forms most of the border between them. Cornwall forms the westernmost part of the South West Peninsula of the island of Great Britain; the furthest southwestern point of Great Britain is Land's End. Cornwall has a population of 563,600 and covers an area of 3,563 km2; the county has been administered since 2009 by Cornwall Council. The ceremonial county of Cornwall includes the Isles of Scilly, which are administered separately; the administrative centre of Cornwall, its only city, is Truro. Cornwall is the homeland of the Cornish people and the cultural and ethnic origin of the Cornish diaspora, it retains a distinct cultural identity that reflects its history, is recognised as one of the Celtic nations. It was a Brythonic kingdom and subsequently a royal duchy; the Cornish nationalist movement contests the present constitutional status of Cornwall and seeks greater autonomy within the United Kingdom in the form of a devolved legislative Cornish Assembly with powers similar to those in Wales and Scotland.
In 2014, Cornish people were granted minority status under the European Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, giving them recognition as a distinct ethnic group. First inhabited in the Palaeolithic and Mesolithic periods, Cornwall continued to be occupied by Neolithic and Bronze Age peoples, by Brythons with strong ethnic, linguistic and cultural links to Wales and Brittany the latter of, settled by Britons from the region. Mining in Cornwall and Devon in the south-west of England began in the early Bronze Age. Few Roman remains have been found in Cornwall, there is little evidence that the Romans settled or had much military presence there. After the collapse of the Roman Empire, Cornwall was a part of the Brittonic kingdom of Dumnonia, ruled by chieftains of the Cornovii who may have included figures regarded as semi-historical or legendary, such as King Mark of Cornwall and King Arthur, evidenced by folklore traditions derived from the Historia Regum Britanniae.
The Cornovii division of the Dumnonii tribe were separated from their fellow Brythons of Wales after the Battle of Deorham in 577 AD, came into conflict with the expanding English kingdom of Wessex. The regions of Dumnonia outside of Cornwall had been annexed by the English by 838 AD. King Athelstan in 936 AD set the boundary between the English and Cornish at the high water mark of the eastern bank of the River Tamar. From the early Middle Ages and culture were shared by Brythons trading across both sides of the Channel, resulting in the corresponding high medieval Breton kingdoms of Domnonée and Cornouaille and the Celtic Christianity common to both areas. Tin mining was important in the Cornish economy. In the mid-19th century, the tin and copper mines entered a period of decline. Subsequently, china clay extraction became more important, metal mining had ended by the 1990s. Traditionally and agriculture were the other important sectors of the economy. Railways led to a growth of tourism in the 20th century.
Cornwall is noted for coastal scenery. A large part of the Cornubian batholith is within Cornwall; the north coast has many cliffs. The area is noted for its wild moorland landscapes, its long and varied coastline, its attractive villages, its many place-names derived from the Cornish language, its mild climate. Extensive stretches of Cornwall's coastline, Bodmin Moor, are protected as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty; the modern English name Cornwall is a compound of two ancient demonyms coming from two different language groups: Corn- originates from the Brythonic tribe, the Cornovii. The Celtic word "kernou" is cognate with the English word "horn". -wall derives from the Old English exonym walh, meaning "foreigner" or "Roman". In the Cornish language, Cornwall is known as Kernow which stems from a similar linguistic background; the present human history of Cornwall begins with the reoccupation of Britain after the last Ice Age. The area now known as Cornwall was first inhabited in the Mesolithic periods.
It continued to be occupied by Neolithic and Bronze Age people. According to John T. Koch and others, Cornwall in the Late Bronze Age was part of a maritime trading-networked culture called the Atlantic Bronze Age, in modern-day Ireland, Wales, France and Portugal. During the British Iron Age, like all of Britain, was inhabited by a Celtic people known as the Britons with distinctive cultural relations to neighbouring Brittany; the Common Brittonic spoken at the time developed into several distinct tongues, including Cornish, Breton and Pictish. The first account of Cornwall comes from the 1st-century BC Sicilian Greek historian Diodorus Siculus quoting or paraphrasing the 4th-century BCE geographer P
Dorset is a county in South West England on the English Channel coast. The ceremonial county comprises the unitary authority areas of Bournemouth and Poole and Dorset. Covering an area of 2,653 square kilometres, Dorset borders Devon to the west, Somerset to the north-west, Wiltshire to the north-east, Hampshire to the east; the county town is Dorchester, in the south. After the reorganisation of local government in 1974 the county's border was extended eastward to incorporate the Hampshire towns of Bournemouth and Christchurch. Around half of the population lives in the South East Dorset conurbation, while the rest of the county is rural with a low population density; the county has a long history of human settlement stretching back to the Neolithic era. The Romans conquered Dorset's indigenous Celtic tribe, during the early Middle Ages, the Saxons settled the area and made Dorset a shire in the 7th century; the first recorded Viking raid on the British Isles occurred in Dorset during the eighth century, the Black Death entered England at Melcombe Regis in 1348.
Dorset has seen much civil unrest: in the English Civil War, an uprising of vigilantes was crushed by Oliver Cromwell's forces in a pitched battle near Shaftesbury. During the Second World War, Dorset was involved in the preparations for the invasion of Normandy, the large harbours of Portland and Poole were two of the main embarkation points; the former was the sailing venue in the 2012 Summer Olympics, both have clubs or hire venues for sailing, Cornish pilot gig rowing, sea kayaking and powerboating. Dorset has a varied landscape featuring broad elevated chalk downs, steep limestone ridges and low-lying clay valleys. Over half the county is designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Three-quarters of its coastline is part of the Jurassic Coast Natural World Heritage Site due to its geological and palaeontologic significance, it features notable landforms such as Lulworth Cove, the Isle of Portland, Chesil Beach and Durdle Door. Agriculture was traditionally the major industry of Dorset but is now in decline and tourism has become important to the economy.
There are no motorways in Dorset but a network of A roads cross the county and two railway main lines connect to London. Dorset has ports at Poole and Portland, an international airport; the county has a variety of museums and festivals, is host to the Great Dorset Steam Fair, one of the biggest events of its kind in Europe. It is the birthplace of Thomas Hardy, who used the county as the principal setting of his novels, William Barnes, whose poetry celebrates the ancient Dorset dialect. Dorset derives its name from the county town of Dorchester; the Romans established the settlement in the 1st century and named it Durnovaria, a Latinised version of a Common Brittonic word meaning "place with fist-sized pebbles". The Saxons named the town Dornwaraceaster and Dornsæte came into use as the name for the inhabitants of the area from "Dorn"—a reduced form of Dornwaraceaster—and the Old English word "sæte" meaning people, it is first mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle in AD 845 and in the 10th century the county's archaic name, "Dorseteschyre", was first recorded.
The first human visitors to Dorset were Mesolithic hunters, from around 8000 BC. The first permanent Neolithic settlers appeared around 3000 BC and were responsible for the creation of the Dorset Cursus, a 10.5-kilometre monument for ritual or ceremonial purposes. From 2800 BC onwards Bronze Age farmers cleared Dorset's woodlands for agricultural use and Dorset's high chalk hills provided a location for numerous round barrows. During the Iron Age, the British tribe known as the Durotriges established a series of hill forts across the county—most notably Maiden Castle, one of the largest in Europe; the Romans arrived in Dorset during their conquest of Britain in AD 43. Maiden Castle was captured by a Roman legion under the command of Vespasian, the Roman settlement of Durnovaria was established nearby. Bokerley Dyke, a large defensive ditch built by the county's post-Roman inhabitants near the border with modern-day Hampshire, delayed the advance of the Saxons into Dorset for 150 years. However, by the end of the 7th century Dorset had fallen under Saxon control and been incorporated into the Kingdom of Wessex.
The Saxons established a diocese at Sherborne and Dorset was made a shire—an administrative district of Wessex and predecessor to the English county system—with borders that have changed little since. In 789 the first recorded Viking attack on the British Isles took place in Dorset on the Portland coast, they continued to raid into the county for the next two centuries. After the Norman Conquest in 1066, feudal rule was established in Dorset and the bulk of the land was divided between the Crown and ecclesiastical institutions; the Normans consolidated their control over the area by constructing castles at Corfe and Dorchester in the early part of the 12th century. Over the next 200 years Dorset's population grew and additional land was enclosed for farming to provide the extra food required; the wool trade, the quarrying of Purbeck Marble and the busy ports of Weymouth, Melcombe Regis, Lyme Regis and Bridport brought prosperity to the county. However, Dorset was devastated by the bubonic plague in 1348 which arrived in Melcombe Regis on a ship from Gascony.
The disease, more known as the Black Death, created an epidemic that spread a
West Midlands (region)
The West Midlands is one of nine official regions of England at the first level of NUTS for statistical purposes. It covers the western half of the area traditionally known as the Midlands, it contains Birmingham and the larger West Midlands conurbation, the third most populous in the United Kingdom. The City of Coventry is located within the West Midlands county, but is separated from the conurbation to the west by several miles of green belt; the region contains 6 shire counties which stretch from the Welsh Border to the East Midlands. The region is geographically diverse, from the urban central areas of the conurbation to the rural western counties of Shropshire and Herefordshire which border Wales; the longest river in the UK, the River Severn, traverses the region southeastwards, flowing through the county towns of Shrewsbury and Worcester, the Ironbridge Gorge, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Staffordshire is home to the industrialised Potteries conurbation, including the city of Stoke-on-Trent, the Staffordshire Moorlands area, which borders the southeastern Peak District National Park near Leek.
The region encompasses five Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Wye Valley, Shropshire Hills, Cannock Chase, Malvern Hills, parts of the Cotswolds. Warwickshire is home to the towns of Stratford upon Avon, birthplace of writer William Shakespeare, the birthplace of Rugby football and Nuneaton, birthplace to author George Eliot; the official region contains the ceremonial counties of Herefordshire, Staffordshire, West Midlands and Worcestershire. There is some confusion in the use of the term "West Midlands", as the name is used for the much smaller West Midlands county and conurbation, in the central belt of the Midlands and on the eastern side of the West Midlands Region, it is still used by various organisations within that area, such as West Midlands Police and West Midlands Fire Service. The highest point in the region is Black Mountain, at 703 metres in west Herefordshire on the border with Powys, Wales; the region contains five Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, including the Shropshire Hills, Malvern Hills and Cannock Chase, parts of the Wye Valley and Cotswolds.
The Peak District national park stretches into the northern corner of Staffordshire. Served by many lines in the urban areas such as the West Coast Main Line and branches; the Welsh Marches Line and the Cotswold Line transect the region as well as the Cross Country Route and Chiltern Line. There are plans to reopen the Honeybourne Line. Numerous notable roads pass with most converging around the central conurbation; the M5, which connects South West England to the region, passes through Worcestershire, near to Worcester, through the West Midlands county, past West Bromwich, with its northern terminus at its junction with the M6 just south of Walsall. The M6, which has its southern terminus just outside the southeast of the region at its junction with the M1, which connects the region to North West England, passes Rugby and Nuneaton in Warwickshire and Birmingham, Stafford and Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire; the M6 toll provides an alternative route to the M6 between Coleshill and Cannock, passing north of Sutton Coldfield and just south of Lichfield.
The M40 connects the region through South East England to London, with its northern terminus at its junction with the M42. The M42 connects the M5 at Bromsgrove, passing around the south and east of Birmingham, joining the M40 and M6, passing Solihull and Castle Bromwich, to Tamworth, northeast of Birmingham; the M50 connects the M5 from near Tewkesbury to Ross-on-Wye in the southwest. The M54 connects Wellington in the west, to the M6 near Cannock; the A5 road traverses the region northwest-southeast, passing through Shrewsbury, Cannock and Nuneaton. The longest elevated road viaduct in the UK is the 3 miles section from Gravelly Hill to Castle Bromwich on the M6, opened on 24 May 1972; the section of the A45 in Coventry from Willenhall to Allesley in 1939 was one of the UK's first large planned road schemes. Princes Square in Wolverhampton had Britain's first automatic traffic lights on 5 November 1927. On 13 January 2012, 34-year-old Ben Westwood of Wednesfield, was caught by the police, when speeding at 180 mph, in an Audi RS5 with a Lamborghini engine, from Wolverhampton up to Stafford on the M6, back again.
He was travelling so fast that he was outpacing the Central Counties Air Operations Unit Eurocopter helicopter. He and the vehicle had been in fifteen smash and grab raids and he was jailed for nine years at Wolverhampton Crown Court in August 2012; as part of the transport planning system, the Regional Assembly is under statutory requirement to produce a regional transport strategy to provide long term planning for transport in the region. This involves region wide transport schemes such as those carried out by Highways England and Network Rail. Within the region, the local transport authorities carry out transport planning through the use of a local transport plan which outlines their strategies and implementation programme; the most recent LTP is that for the period 2006–11. In the West Midlands region, the following transport authorities have published their LTP online: Herefordshire, Shropshire U. A. Staffordshire and Wrekin U. A. Warwickshire, West Midlands and Worcestershire; the transport authority of Stoke-on-Trent U.
A. publishes a joint local transport plan in partnership with
South West England
South West England is one of nine official regions of England. It is the largest in area, covering 9,200 square miles, consists of the counties of Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Dorset and Cornwall, as well as the Isles of Scilly. Five million people live in South West England; the region includes much of the ancient kingdom of Wessex. The largest city is Bristol. Other major urban centres include Plymouth, Gloucester, Exeter, Bath and the South East Dorset conurbation which includes Bournemouth and Christchurch. There are eight cities: Salisbury, Wells, Gloucester, Exeter and Truro, it includes two entire national parks and Exmoor. The northern part of Gloucestershire, near Chipping Campden, is as close to the Scottish border as it is to the tip of Cornwall; the region has by far the longest coastline of any English region. The region is at the first level of NUTS for Eurostat purposes. Key data and facts about the region are produced by the South West Observatory. Following the abolition of the South West Regional Assembly and Government Office, local government co-ordination across the region is now undertaken by South West Councils.
The region is known for its rich folklore, including the legend of King Arthur and Glastonbury Tor, as well as its traditions and customs. Cornwall has its own language and some regard it as a Celtic nation; the South West is known for Cheddar cheese. It is home to the Eden Project, Aardman Animations, the Glastonbury Festival, the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, trip hop music and Cornwall's surfing beaches; the region has been home to some of Britain's most renowned writers, including Daphne du Maurier and Agatha Christie, both of whom set many of their works here, the South West is the location of Thomas Hardy's Wessex, the setting for many of his best-known novels. Most of the region is located on the South West Peninsula, between the English Channel and Bristol Channel, it has the longest coastline of all the English regions, totalling over 700 miles. Much of the coast is now protected from further substantial development because of its environmental importance, which contributes to the region's attractiveness to tourists and residents.
Geologically the region is divided into the igneous and metamorphic west and sedimentary east, the dividing line to the west of the River Exe. Cornwall and West Devon's landscape is of rocky coastline and high moorland, notably at Bodmin Moor and Dartmoor; these are due to the slate that underlie the area. The highest point of the region is High Willhays, at 2,038 feet, on Dartmoor. In North Devon the slates of the west and limestones of the east meet at Exmoor National Park; the variety of rocks of similar ages seen here have led to the county's name being lent to that of the Devonian period. The east of the region is characterised by limestone downland; the vales, with good irrigation, are home to the region's dairy agriculture. The Blackmore Vale was Thomas Hardy's "Vale of the Little Dairies"; the Southern England Chalk Formation extends into the region, creating a series of high, sparsely populated and archaeologically rich downs, most famously Salisbury Plain, but Cranborne Chase, the Dorset Downs and the Purbeck Hills.
These downs are the principal area of arable agriculture in the region. Limestone is found in the region, at the Cotswolds, Quantock Hills and Mendip Hills, where they support sheep farming. All of the principal rock types can be seen on the Jurassic Coast of Dorset and East Devon, where they document the entire Mesozoic era from west to east; the climate of South West England is classed as oceanic according to the Köppen climate classification. The oceanic climate experiences cool winters with warmer summers and precipitation all year round, with more experienced in winter. Annual rainfall is up to 2,000 millimetres on higher ground. Summer maxima averages range from 18 °C to 22 °C and winter minimum averages range from 1 °C to 4 °C across the south-west, it is the second windiest area of the United Kingdom, the majority of winds coming from the south-west and north-east. Government organisations predict the region to rise in temperature and become the hottest region in the United Kingdom. Inland areas of low altitude experience the least amount of precipitation.
They experience the highest summer maxima temperatures. Snowfalls are less so in comparison to higher ground, it experiences the lowest wind speeds and sunshine total in between that of the moors. The climate of inland areas is more noticeable the further north-east into the region. In comparison to inland areas, the coast experiences high minimum temperatures in winter, it experiences lower maximum temperatures during the summer. Rainfall is the lowest at the coast and snowfall is rarer than the rest of the region. Coastal areas are the windiest parts of the peninsula and they receive the most sunshine; the general coastal climate is more typical the further south-west into the region. Areas of moorland inland such as: Bodmin Moor and Exmoor experience lower temperatures and more precipitation than the rest of the south west (approxima
Cheltenham is a regency spa town and borough on the edge of the Cotswolds in Gloucestershire, England. Cheltenham has been a health and holiday spa town resort since the discovery of mineral springs in 1716 and has a number of internationally renowned and historic schools; the town hosts several festivals of culture featuring nationally and internationally famous contributors and attendees, including the Cheltenham Literature Festival, the Cheltenham Jazz Festival, the Cheltenham Science Festival, the Cheltenham Music Festival, the Cheltenham Cricket Festival, the Cheltenham Food & Drink Festival. In steeplechase horse racing, the Gold Cup is the main event of the Cheltenham Festival, held every March. Cheltenham stands on the small River Chelt, which rises nearby at Dowdeswell and runs through the town on its way to the Severn, it was first recorded as Celtan hom. As a royal manor, it features in the earliest pages of the Gloucestershire section of Domesday Book where it is named Chintenha.
The town was awarded a market charter in 1226. Though little remains of its pre-spa history, Cheltenham has been a health and holiday spa town resort since the discovery of mineral springs there in 1716. Captain Henry Skillicorne, is credited with being the first entrepreneur to recognise the opportunity to exploit the mineral springs; the retired "master mariner" became co-owner of the property containing Cheltenham's first mineral spring upon his 1732 marriage to Elizabeth Mason. Her father, William Mason, had done little in his lifetime to promote the healing properties of the mineral water apart from limited advertising and building a small enclosure over the spring. Skillicorne's wide travels as a merchant had prepared him to see the potential lying dormant on this inherited property. After moving to Cheltenham in 1738, he began improvements intended to attract visitors to his spa, he built a pump to regulate the flow of water and erected an elaborate well-house complete with a ballroom and upstairs billiard room to entertain his customers.
The beginnings of Cheltenham's tree-lined promenades and the gardens surrounding its spas were first designed by Captain Skillicorne with the help of "wealthy and traveled" friends who understood the value of relaxing avenues. The area's walks and gardens had views of the countryside, soon the gentry and nobility from across the county were enticed to come and investigate the beneficial waters of Cheltenham's market town spa; the visit of George III with the queen and royal princesses in 1788 set a stamp of fashion on the spa. The spa waters can still be sampled at the Pittville Pump Room, built for this purpose and completed in 1830. Cheltenham's success as a spa town is reflected in the railway station, still called Cheltenham Spa, spa facilities in other towns that were inspired by or named after it. Alice Liddell and Lewis Carroll were regular visitors to a house in Cudnall Street, Charlton Kings – a suburb of Cheltenham; this house was owned by Alice Liddell's grandparents, still contains the mirror, or looking glass, purportedly the inspiration for Lewis Carroll's novel Through the Looking-Glass, published in 1871.
Horse racing began in Cheltenham in 1815, became a major national attraction after the establishment of the Festival in 1902. Whilst the volume of tourists visiting the spa has declined, the racecourse attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors to each day of the festival each year, with such large numbers of visitors having a significant impact on the town. In the Second World War, the United States Army Service of Supply, European Theatre of Operations established its primary headquarters at Cheltenham under the direction of Lt. Gen. John C. H. Lee, with the flats of the Cheltenham Racecourse becoming a giant storage depot for countless trucks, jeeps and artillery pieces. Most of this materiel was reshipped to the continent after the D-Day invasion. Lee and his primary staff took residence at Thirlestaine Hall in Cheltenham. On 1 April 1974, under the Local Government Act 1972, the borough of Cheltenham was merged with Charlton Kings urban district to form the non-metropolitan district of Cheltenham.
Four parishes—Swindon Village, Up Hatherley and Prestbury—were added to the borough of Cheltenham from the borough of Tewkesbury in 1991. The first British jet aircraft prototype, the Gloster E.28/39, was manufactured in Cheltenham. Manufacturing started in Hucclecote near Gloucester, but was moved to Regent Motors in Cheltenham High Street, considered a location safer from bombing during the Second World War. Cheltenham is on the edge of the Cotswolds, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the South-West region of England; the small River Chelt flows through the town. Cleeve Hill overlooks the town and is the highest point in the county of Gloucestershire at 1,083 feet; the town is near the northeastern edge of the South West of England region being 88 miles west-northwest of London, 38 miles northeast of Bristol and 41 miles south of Birmingham. The districts of Cheltenham include: Arle, Charlton Kings, Fiddler's Green, Hesters Way, Leckhampton, Montpellier, Pittville, the Reddings, Rowanfield, St Luke's, St Mark's, St Paul's, St Peter's, Swindon Village, Tivoli, Up Hatherley, Whaddon an