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Coordinates: 51°44′10″N 0°28′47″E / 51.7361°N 0.4798°E / 51.7361; 0.4798
Shire Hall
Chelmsford is located in Essex
 Chelmsford shown within Essex
Population 168,310[1]
OS grid reference TL713070
District City of Chelmsford
Shire county Essex
Region East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district CM1, CM2, CM3
Dialling code 01245
Police Essex
Fire Essex
Ambulance East of England
EU Parliament East of England
UK Parliament Chelmsford
List of places

Chelmsford is a city in the county of Essex, England. It is 30 miles northeast of London, about halfway to Colchester. It is nearly in the centre of the county and it is the county town of Essex, but it is not the biggest or the oldest town in the county. It is also the centre of the borough of Chelmsford, which is a bigger place than the town.

Chelmsford has the smallest cathedral in England. John Dee, who wrote the English version of Euclid, went to the Cathedral school in the sixteenth century. Chelmsford is also home to some of the Anglia Ruskin University campuses.


The number of people in and around the town is 156,000 (2001); about one third of that number live in the town.


About 10,000 people from Chelmsford travel to London every day. This makes Chelmsford the busiest "ordinary" railway station in England (not including junctions and terminuses). (The busiest of all is Clapham Junction railway station).

The A12 road from London, which the Romans first built between London and Colchester, went through the town, but now goes around the east, so the number of cars in the town is smaller.


Chelmsford has been an important centre for industry since the 19th century. It became home to the UK's first electrical engineering works (in 1878), and its first ball bearing factory (in 1898).

In 1898, Guglielmo Marconi, the "father of radio" opened the World's first radio factory in Hall Street, with about 50 workers. In 1920 the factory was also the home of the first official sound (radio) broadcasts (radio people could listen to from a long way) in the UK. In 1922 the world's first regular radio broadcasts started at the Marconi Research Centre at Writtle near Chelmsford.

Places of Interest

Places of interest in and near Chelmsford are for example Writtle, where Robert I of Scotland was perhaps born, and Pleshey, where the ruins of a castle in William Shakespeare's play Richard II are.

Hylands House and Park, west of the town, is an old country house. People can visit it, and in the last years it has been the place for a popular yearly music festival, the V Festival.

The old Palace of Beaulieu is also nearby.


In 1199 the Bishop of London gave a Royal Charter (a special paper) for the town to have a market. But there have been people living here since pre-historic times. The Romans also lived in Chelmsford. An octagonal temple is under the Odeon roundabout.

In World War II bombs hit Chelmsford a number of times. The worst single loss of life happened on Tuesday December 19, 1944. The 367th V-2 rocket which hit England fell near the Hoffmans' ball bearing factory. 39 people were killed and 138 hurt, 47 of them badly. A lot of buildings were destroyed and hundreds more were damaged.


From over 600,000 years ago, the early River Thames went through the place where Chelmsford is now, from Harlow to Colchester. Then it went over today's North Sea and went into the Rhine.

Twin towns

Chelmsford is twinned with these:

People from Chelmsford

  • Anne Knight (born 1786), anti-slavery campaigner and pioneer of feminism

Nearby places

  • Great Baddow


  1. "ONS - 2011 Census, Key Statistics for Local Authorities in England and Wales".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

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