Tivoli walk

6 Oct

A (mostly) bright autumn day, and a chance to walk with a knowledgeable guide through one of the many interesting and distinctive Cheltenham neighborhoods you might miss if you blinked while driving by.

Origin of the name?  Not known.  Although it is an area of tidy homes now, apparently when first established Tivoli was a dire slum.  Exciting!

The narrow roads are crooked — laid out according to the paths once taken by the hedges which encircled the agricultural fields here.  The blocks of fields became blocks of houses; the massive hedges because small off-grid roads.

My favorite thing about Tivoli is the pop of colors.

The archways added to simple doors.

The subtle detail of house numerals adding decorative quality to the street.

The persistence of so many Victorian elements, like these colorful entry tiles.

Or this former water fountain and seating bench, where legend says boys from a local orphanage would sit and wait to be given errands — and small tips.

It’s now a street lamp.

The variety of front gardens make these small spaces look amazing.

We were told that although this area was the smallest parish in Cheltenham, it used to have the highest ratio of pubs to population.

Some are still here!  This one celebrating the royal union — no, not William and Kate, but the union of Scotland and England under Queen Anne in 1707.

And here’s something fun:  one of the oldest roads in Cheltenham, a former pack road for folks walking, carrying handcarts, or riding in from Shurdington and points generally westerly.  Stand here in the small “Tivoli Green” and see the path going one direction out of town …

… and continuing as a foot path through town all the way to the Royal Well and the Parish Church of St. Mary.  (A post for another day and a fascinating piece of Cheltenham history.)

Tivoli was once a neighborhood filled with small home businesses (along with all the pubs), with a variety of commercial enterprises along the outer borders.  It is now very residential, but there are still small local shops, like Tivoli Butchers.  (Go there to grab some local honey!)  What fun to visit in a town where local historians are so excited about where they live.  For more information about this area of Cheltenham, check out the flyer put out by an area residents’ association: http://www.cheltenhamsouthtown.org/uploads/4/1/0/9/4109231/cheltenham_tramroad_walking_trail.pdf

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2 Responses to “Tivoli walk”

  1. Sally October 8, 2012 at 8:05 am #

    I’m going to check out that walking tour when I’m next in my home town. I never knew about the pack road. Have you ever visited this useful site http://cheltonia.wordpress.com/ ?

    • Monique October 8, 2012 at 12:43 pm #

      WOW! Sally, Rebsie’s site is amazing, thank you!

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