🇬🇧 Chelmsford is a city and the county town of Essex, in the East of England. It is located in the London, 🇬🇧 commuter belt, approximately 30 miles (50 kilometres) north-east of the centre of London and approximately 22 miles (35 kilometres) from Colchester.
The main conurbation of Chelmsford incorporates all or part of the former parishes of Broomfield, Newland Spring, Great Leighs, The Walthams, Great Baddow, Little Baddow, Galleywood, Howe Green, Margaretting, Pleshey, Stock, Roxwell, Danbury, Bicknacre, Writtle, Moulsham, Rettendon, The Hanningfields, The Chignals, Widford and Springfield, including Springfield Barnes, now known as Chelmer Village.
The communities of Chelmsford, Massachusetts, Chelmsford, Ontario and Chelmsford, New Brunswick are named after the city. Chelmsford's population consists of a large number of City and Docklands commuters, attracted by the 30–35-minute journey into Central London via the Great Eastern Main Line railway. The same journey takes at least 60 minutes by road, via the A12.
Business and commerce Originally an agricultural and market town, Chelmsford has been an important centre for industry since the 19th century. Following the opening of the Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation in 1797, cheaper transportation and raw materials made milling and malting the main industries until the 1850s, when increasing prosperity created a local market for agricultural machinery.
Foundries and engineering works followed including Fell Christy at his Factory (In later years known as Christy Norris Ltd) on the corner of Kings Road and Broomfield Road opened 1858, closed 1985, Coleman and Moreton, Thomas Clarkson (Steam Omnibus manufacturer and Founder of the Eastern National Bus Company) and Eddington and Stevenson (makers of traction engines). The Company Christy Norris still survives, trading as Christy Turner Ltd based in Ipswich. A residential street close to the old Factory was named "Fell Christy" in his honour.
As well as the headquarters of Essex Police, Essex County and Chelmsford City Councils, the modern city is home to a range of national and international companies including M&G Group, Teledyne e2v and ebm-papst. The continuing importance of Chelmsford as an employment centre is demonstrated by the fact that the number of "in" commuters (mostly from other parts of Essex) almost exactly balances the number of workers commuting into London.
Chelmsford is largely a commercial city which employs around 80,000 people. There are three medium-sized shopping centres, Bond Street, High Chelmer and The Meadows. Chelmsford has six retail parks, Riverside, Chelmer Village, Clocktower Retail Park, The Army & Navy, Moulsham Lodge Retail Park and the smaller Homelands Retail Park housing a Flagship B&Q Store, Wyvale Garden Centre (part of the Garden centre Group) and Pets Corner. The High Street is full of independent and chain stores. As well as the leading High Street names, there is also a wide variety of specialist retailers, especially in Baddow Road and Moulsham Street which are located at the end of the pedestrianised High Street. On 29 September 2016 a new retail development opened anchored by John Lewis. On 6 January 2005, Chelmsford was granted Fairtrade Town status.
Sizeable businesses are now based in the Chelmsford Business Park at Boreham housing companies such as the Anderson Group and Global Marine Systems. The city also has a low unemployment rate (1.6% in 2002) and a well-educated workforce, with 9% holding a degree or above.
Chelmsford has a vibrant nightlife scene with many pubs, late night bars and restaurant establishments in the city centre area. Its central Essex location and good public transport links make the city ideal for revellers, commuters and tourists to visit from surrounding areas.
Chelmsford has a population of over 111,500 people. Chelmsford also forms part of the wider Chelmsford metropolitan area which has a population of over 168,310 people.
Twin Towns – Sister Cities Chelmsford's official twin towns are: 🇫🇷 Annonay, Ardèche, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France; 🇩🇪 Backnang, Baden-Württemberg, Germany. The city also has a sister city: 🇨🇳 Wuxi, China.