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History frees, and history binds.
Gloucester in General
Member Name: Charlie Penguin
Gloucester in General
Date: 22/08/00, updated on 22/08/00 (56 review reads)
Advantages: Cathedral, History, Top class Rugby
Disadvantages: Poor shops, Scruffy Centre, Air of Glumness
Much is made of the Docks area of the city, with its huge old flour mills and small shopping and eating area. The mills are preserved in their original state and have been used as a location for a number of films. A few years ago they cleared away the entrance to the Docks in preparation for a new building. In any other city in Europe, this would have been the chance to construct something memorably artistic and interesting. To lead people into the basin of the Docks and make them feel they were entering an area of experience. A landmark which would stand unique and draw tourists to the city. But what happens? They decide to relocate the Courts there, and proceed to construct the most monstrous building in the whole of the South West. It's not awful because they tried something new and it backfired, it's awful because it is nothing more than a huge pile of standard sized bricks. Like a job lot from Fred Smith's the Builders. Who needs art when you can have bricks?
If you want shopping, you should go to Cheltenham, which has a far wider range of interesting shops, in a far more pleasant environment to shop. To be fair they have tried to liven up the centre with street theatre and bands but the overbearing glumness remains. A walk round the centre on a Sunday afternoon is likely to be interrupted by manic skateboarders, shouting 'couples' and dodgy characters who haven't washed since decimalisation.
There is no doubt that the Cathedral is a beautiful building
and shortly to become the setting for the Harry Potter film. But, not surprisingly, there are voices raised to stop this happening, with threats of picketing the filming. This is because they feel that the book embraces, and does not condemn witchcraft. Gloucester is so bound by its past, and its desire to leave things untouched, that it is slowly cutting off its own blood supply.
The football team is sinking faster than an Elephant in porridge and the cricket team 'Gloucestershire' avoids the city like the plague. The one sporting beacon for the city is the rugby team, which has gone from strength to strength since taking on Phillipe St Andre as coach. Finishing third in the Premiership last season was a remarkable achievement for a team that flirted with relegation in previous years. It is a shame that the team don't get the coverage in the national press that they deserve. To get a flavour of the Gloucester person, spend an afternoon in 'The Shed' with the true locals.
If you're interested in the Cathedral, history and being within easy access of the wonderful countryside of the Forest of Dean, then make Gloucester one of your destinations soon. If you're after shops, nightlife and easy style then you will find more for you in Cheltenham.
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