Gloucester: History and Harry Potter

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I will never get over the amazement I feel when I realize that I am living in an area with centuries of history literally staring me in the face. I think it’s the Canadian-ness in me that is constantly wowed. Sure, we have history under our belt, but the evidence of former civilizations didn’t remain as obviously in tact as it does here.

Back in the day, and I’m talking the days of the Romans conquering the heck out of everything, Gloucester was called Glevum. Nowadays, the word Glevum is used by every plumber, contractor or any skill trades worker with his/her own business. I live about 7 minutes away from Ermin Street, an ancient Roman road that linked what are now two modern day towns. A short distance away, you’ll find the remains of what was once a Roman villa.

Living in a quiet suburban neighbourhood, it continually weirds me out that a short distance away you can find thousands of years of history. You’re literally walking on top of it. I guess if you’ve lived here all your life, that stuff doesn’t phase you, which is a shame. It’s kind of neat to stand on a grassy slope amidst some crumbling old brick and wonder just who the heck used to live there and how they even found such a beautiful spot for a home.

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Gloucester city center, on the other hand, can be a little rough around the edges. It’s a former industrial city that’s still trying to find its identity. It’s not the prettiest place in England, but it’s got a sexy cathedral that I just can’t stop taking photos of. It also helps that I’m a Harry Potter nerd and love the fact that some of the Hogwarts scenes were filmed there. Every time I walk through the cloisters, I can hear the theme music in my head (um, and see the message written in blood on the walls–what?!). This is a tourist hotspot and the grounds are well taken care of with their lovely gardens and quiet walking paths. I certainly feel spoiled that I live so close to such a beautiful place.

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Another area that the city has made an effort to spruce up are the Gloucester Docks. Not only is this site used as a college campus (it would be so cool to go to school near a place like this), but the area has transformed into a neighbourhood of sorts with apartments and cool restaurants and cafes. It’s just a great place to walk around and watch the canal boats or marvel over the refurbished brick warehouses (with a glimpse of new builds in the background).

Yep, this is where I live. Sure, I miss my drives down to the beach, Stanley Park and being able to go skiing on an actual mountain (NOT inside some building), but Gloucester and the surrounding area have been fun to explore. Even though I’ve visited many times before actually moving here, I’m still discovering new places and becoming more familiar with everything.

Truthfully, though…I’m actually kind of tempted to try indoor skiing.

Photo credit (top image):
Alex Drennan

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