Top ten facts about Chelmsford

Untitled Page

How much do you know about Chelmsford? Here's a handful of well-publicised facts, and a few gems that you didn't know you didn't know.

Rosette with the word new

The UK's newest city

There are 69 cities in the UK and Chelmsford is proud to be one of the newest, having been granted city status in 2012 as part of The Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

Graphic of a radio
Birthplace of radio

Chelmsford is known as the birthplace of radio, thanks to its connection with Guglielmo Marconi who opened the world's first wireless factory here in 1899. We named the Marconi Building on our Chelmsford campus after him.

Graphic of a crown
Game of thrones

Chelmsford was once the capital of England for a few days when the seat of Government was temporarily moved here, 600 years ago. It's believed that Richard II stayed in a royal manor in Writtle and issued orders to suppress the peasants' revolt of 1381.

Graphic of a padlock
A safe place to live

In 2016, Chelmsford was ranked as the joint 14th safest place to live in the UK, based on residents' experiences of how friendly, welcoming and polite the city is. Our campus has also been officially recognised as a safe night out.

Graphic of a heart
In the best of health

According to a study by food supplement manufacturer Biocare, Chelmsford is the second healthiest place to live in the UK. Not surprising when you consider the amount of social sport happening on campus, and the raft of sports facilities around the city.

Graphic of a football
Home to a hat-trick legend

Our city is the home of West Ham legend Sir Geoff Hurst, the only man to ever score a hat-trick in the football World Cup final. Hats off to you, Sir Geoff.

Icon of a reel of film
Ready for my close-up…

Hylands House is a Grade II-listed villa in Hylands Park, on the western edge of Chelmsford. In the 2004 film Chasing Liberty, which followed the exploits of a fictional US First Daughter, it doubled as the White House.

Graphic of a crown
A house fit for a king

Henry VIII came a-courting in Chelmsford back in the 1520s. He stayed at the Palace of Beaulieu, formerly an estate belonging to Anne Boleyn’s family, where he conceived his plan to divorce Katherine of Aragon and marry Anne. Today, New Hall School stands on the same site.

Icon of comedy-tragedy masks
Comedy gold

Chelmsford was an important staging post on the old Roman road between Londinium (London) and Camulodunum (modern-day Colchester). The cult comedy series Chelmsford 123 followed the life of an exiled Roman governor, Aulus Paulinus, in the town in AD 123.

Icon of a vase
State of the art

Renowned artist Grayson Perry – creator of Turner Prize-winning ceramics and The Vanity of Small Differences tapestry series – was born in Chelmsford in 1960. The city is referenced in his biography, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Girl. In 2012, Anglia Ruskin awarded Grayson an Honorary Doctor of Arts.