A cathedral city, capital of its county which was built on a flat spot of land, Gloucester is situated on the River Severn and the Bristol and Birmingham Railway.
Gloucester was founded in AD 97 by the Romans under Emperor Nerva as Colonia Glevum Nervensis, and was granted its first charter in 1155 by King Henry II. Economically, the city is dominated by the service industries, and has a strong financial and business sector, being home to the bank Cheltenham & Gloucester and historically was prominent in the aerospace industry.
The origins of the name Gloucester can be traced to Caerloyw in the modern Welsh. There are various appellations in history such as Caer Glow, Gleawecastre, Gleucestre as an early British settlement is not confirmed by direct evidence. However, Gloucester was the Roman municipality of Colonia Nervia Glevensium, or Glevum, built in the reign of Nerva. Parts of the walls can be traced, and a number of remains and coins have been found, though inscriptions are scarce. In Historia Brittonum, a fabled account of the early rulers of Britain, Vortigern's grandfather, Gloiu (or Gloyw Wallt Hir: "Gloiu Long-hair"), is given as the founder of Gloucester. In the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Gloucester is shown as part of Wessex from the Battle of Deorham in 577 until 584, when it came under the control of Mercia. The name Gloucester derives from the Anglo-Saxon for fort (Old Englishceaster) preceded by the Roman stem Glev- (pronounced glaiw).Claudia Castra is mentioned in the 18th Century as possible Latin name related to the city..
Designed by William Blackburn, Gloucester opened as a County Gaol in 1791, and was substantially rebuilt in 1840 with flanking brick wings by Thomas Fuljames. A new young offenders wing was built at the prison in 1971. Further improvements were made in 1987, including a new gate, administration block and visits centre.
In April, 2003, Gloucester was named in a survey as "among the 20 most overcrowded jails" in the United Kingdom. The following day, the prison was the scene of a three-and-a-half hour siege when two prisoners protested over visiting rights by barricading themselves in a cell.
A Time Bank scheme was launched at Gloucester Prison in February 2006. Inmates who joined the scheme restored bicycles in the prison workshop, and this time was credited to their friends and families who could cash it in to get help from volunteers in the community. The scheme continued at the prison until its closure.
The Eastern Railroad built their Gloucester Branch in 1847, reaching Gloucester in December. The station was located in downtown Gloucester, at the intersection of Railroad and Maplewood Avenues. Gloucester was the end of the line until 1861, when the Rockport Railroad was built to extend the branch to Rockport station. Due to the new curve heading to Rockport, a new station was built to the west near Washington Street. The old depot, now on a short spur, was still used for freight service for several decades to come.
Initially, Rockport trains were operated by the Eastern Railroad and met Eastern mainline trains at Beverly. In 1864, trains began to be through-routed to Boston to increase frequencies on the inner part of the trunk line. The Eastern Railroad bought the Rockport Railroad in 1868, but the branch is still known as the Gloucester Branch. By the 1870s, regular commuter service was available. The Eastern was leased by the Boston and Maine Railroad in 1885 and merged into it in 1890. In 1911, the branch was doubled-tracked to Gloucester. (Today, the double track ends west of the station). Commuter service continued in the same fashion for decades, with 13 inbound round trips in 1906, 14 trips in 1950, and 11 trips in 1962.
Nearly three years after a $255 million state-funded marine terminal opened in GloucesterCounty, the Port of Paulsboro is still only bringing in steel from Russia and the effort to diversify and increase the cargo may be several years away.