Cheltenham in the Olden Days

cheltenham history old photos and film

Take a step back in time with these archive films and old home movie clips, showing the Gloucestershire town of Cheltenham in the past.

Edwardian Cheltenham

This is fascinating footage of Cheltenham at a time when the earliest cars are outnumbered by bicycles and pedestrians, and the long skirts of ladies are above their ankles for the first time in recorded history.

1910s Cheltenham Promenade and Spa, UK Archive Footage: Thekinolibrary

Enjoy sights of bicycles and early cars in streets dominated by pedestrians. 

There’s also the Municipal Offices and Council chamber, the Promenade Fountain,and the arrival of visitors by steam train at the former Cheltenham St James’ station. 

Then we see terraces and gardens of the Promenade, where horses and carts have yet to be replaced by cars. 

People take the waters at the Central Spa. The Cheltenham Spa medical baths appear in the final scenes.

Princess Elizabeth Way in the 1950s

Cine film showing the new housing development at Princess Elizabeth Way in the 1950s. Also includes images of children coming out of the school and playing in the school grounds. Then we see St Aiden’s temporary church, before moving to Shakespeare Road. We see children playing on a construction area, before the final scene looks across to the hills.

Princess Elizabeth Way, Cheltenham development footage 1950’s: Nik Thomas

Buses in 1950

Colourful 1950s buses.

Cheltenham Coach Station, 1950s – Film 61053: HuntleyFilmArchives

Fire at the Council Offices

A recording of the BBC radio news on Boxing Day in 1960.

“The council offices at Cheltenham and two hotels in the New Forest were damaged by fire today. The four storey Regency building on the promenade at Cheltenham was badly damaged, but the paintings and other valuables in the building were carried to safety. No one was hurt there or in the two fires in the New Forest”.

BBC Light Programme News 1960: PhilipArkell

Late 1970s

Lots of different locations across Gloucester and Cheltenham. Recorded in the late 1970s, probably 1979.

Gloucester and Cheltenham winter c1979: Steve Thomas

Cheltenham in 1980

This home video starts with a view of the town from the hillside above. Then there’s an astonishing range of locations, events and activities.

Lots of people, businesses, homes and cars appear.

Cheltenham Footage 1980: Nik Thomas

Cheltenham Locations in 2011 

S James made this film in 2011, to film places he remembered fondly. Of course time moves on quickly, so it’s already a record of the way things were a decade ago.

Each location is clearly and helpfully titled, so you always know where you are.

Cheltenham, My Cheltenham: S James