The last 100 years

The 20th-century town grew rapidly, becoming a centre for business and administration. Accessibility to the A40 trunk road, the main railway, the M5 and airport connections, encouraged major players to set up headquarters buildings in the town, including Chelsea Building Society, Dowty Aerospace, Smiths Aerospace, Eagle Star, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), and the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ).

Cheltenham also remained a tourist resort throughout the late 19th and 20th centuries. Since the Second World War, it has built on its existing attractions with its Festivals of Music and Literature, and National Hunt Racing festivals, employing some of the 6,000 people who work in the tourist industry. It offers a centre for tourists and foreign visitors with its high quality accommodation and speciality shopping. It remains a centre of educational excellence and continues in that tradition through a number of recently established language schools.

The Cheltenham Flyer

Between the years of 1932 and 1935 the Cheltenham Flyer was the world's fastest steam train. This aided the development of craft industries, in particular a number of firms producing high-quality work in wood, metal, stone and plaster. During the First World War one of those firms, H H Martyn & Co. began to manufacture aircraft components and later established the Gloster Aircraft Company, thereby beginning a long-standing connection between the town and aeronautical engineering.

The Beatles play Cheltenham

On 1 November 1963 Cheltenham famously played host to The Beatles. View some rare live footage from the day:

Floods - 2007

In the summer of 2007 Cheltenham suffered badly from flooding.