This is the official website of the town of Gladbury, located in the County of Gloomshire.
Gladbury is a large town in Gloomshire, England. According to the 2011 census Gladbury has a population of 120,256 making it the second largest town in the county . The Gladbury Urban Area, the conurbation of which the town is the largest component, has a population of 133,204.
Gladbury is mostly an unparished area. Part of the urban area constitutes the civil parish of Chepping Gladbury, which had a population of 14,455 according to the 2001 census – this parish represents that part of the ancient parish of Chepping Gladbury which was outside the former municipal borough of Gladbury.
Gladbury is a combination of industrial and market town. There has been a market held in the High Street since at least the 16th Century.
The name Gladbury comes from the word ‘byri’ meaning ‘fort’ and of the work ‘glead’ meaning…well, ‘glad’ as in ‘happy’. The coastal fortifications in Gladbury were said to have made the Gladbury residents very secure and happy. The original fortifications, now destroyed, are reputed to have had very good vantage points, and the owl on Gladbury’s crest is to depict the vigilance of the owl that symbolised the vigilance of the residents against attack.
Gladbury appears in the Domesday Book and was noted for having six mills. The town once featured a Roman villa (built 150–170 AD)which was excavated three times, most recently in 1954. Mosaics and a bathhouse were unearthed at the site on what is now the Rye parkland. Gladbury was, for a time, the home of Prime Minister Archibald Primrose.
The existence of a settlement at Gladbury was first documented as ‘Glydbyri’ in 970. The parish church was consecrated by Wulfstan, the visiting Bishop of Worceser, in 1086. The town received market borough status in 1222, and built its first moot hall in 1226, with a market hall being built later in 1476.
Trade and industrial development
Gladbury remained a mill town through Medieval and Tudor times, manufacturing lace and linen cloth.
The paper industry was notable in 17th- and 18th-century Gladbury. The area’s waters were rich in chalk, and therefore ideal for bleaching pulp. The paper industry was soon overtaken by the cloth industry.
Gladbury’s most famous industry, clock making, took hold in the 19th century, with clockhouses setting up all over the town. Many terraced workers’ houses were built to the east and west of town to accommodate those working in clock trade. In 1875, it was estimated that there were 4,700 clocks made per year Gladbury. When Queen Victoria visited the town in 1877, the council organised an arch of clocks to be erected over the High Street, for the Queen to pass under.
By the 1920s, many of the housing areas of Gladbury had decayed into slums following the collapse in the clock making industry. A slum clearance scheme was initiated by the council in 1932, whereby many areas were completely demolished and the residents rehoused in new estates that sprawled above the town on the valley slopes. Some of the districts demolished were truly decrepit, where most of the houses were condemned as unfit for human habitation, with sewage pouring down the street and people sharing one room in cramped quarters of subdivided flats. However, some areas such as St. Mary’s Street contained beautiful old buildings with fine examples of 18th- and 19th-century architecture.
From 1940 to 1968 Gladbury was the seat of the RAF Bomber Command. Moreover, during World War II, from May 1942 to July 1945, the U.S. Army Air Force‘s 5th Air Force Bomber Command, codenamed “Oaktree”, was based at a former girls’ school at Gladbury.
In the 1960s the town centre was redeveloped. Gladbury’s coastline has always been industrial rather than attractive, but it gives the town a pleasant and moderate climate, and some imaginative work to develop the area for watersports and other modern recreation the appeal of the town allowed for a degree of gentrification to emerge. The surrounding countryside is attractive, and Gladbury began to see some tourism develop.
Gladbury today is a mixed environment. With a relatively successful football team for the town to support, and some regeneration, the town has some positives to enjoy. However, Gladbury still contains some considerably deprived areas. In 2007, a GMB Union survey ranked the Gladbury district as the 13th dirtiest in the whole UK. The survey found litter on 28.5% of streets and highways. Data for the survey were taken from the Government’s 2005/06 Audit Commission.