The Parliamentary constituency of Chelmsford includes the county town of Essex. The constituency incorporates most of the town of Chelmsford itself including Springfield, Chelmer Village, Moulsham, Widford, Great Baddow and Galleywood. The town of Chelmsford is home to the headquarters of the Borough Council and Essex County Council, along with those of the county police and courts. It is an affluent town with a successful local economy and good educational provision. Chelmsford is also a prosperous retail, administrative and manufacturing centre.
The name Chelmsford is Saxon in origin. The town is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 as two settlements beside the River Can - later joined by a bridge. In 1199 King John granted the right to hold a weekly market in the town, and by 1250 Chelmsford was the county town of Essex. The Blackwater and Chelmer Canal opened in 1797, linking the town to the coast, and the railway came in 1845.
Central Park, Chelmsford
It is arguable that Chelmsford could claim that it was the birthplace of the electronics industry and it is certainly the birthplace of radio broadcasting. Guglielmo Marconi established the first radio factory in the world in 1899 in Hall Street.
Chelmsford Canal and Canoe Club
Despite the rural nature of the area, just over 1 per cent of industry comes from agriculture, hunting and forestry. In contrast, Chelmsford's wholesale and retail trade, repair of motor vehicles and construction account for a quarter of industry in the constituency. Notably, 11.37 per cent of the population are employed in financial services, more than twice as many as in the region generally and almost three times as many as the 4.73 per cent national average. In total, and according to figures from the national census of 2001, approximately 70 per cent of the population are involved in jobs in the service industry. Unemployment in Chelmsford is significantly lower than the national average. The area also has a higher than national average number of people employed in full-time as opposed to part-time jobs.
Chelmsford today boasts excellent shopping facilities with most main retailers and various independents represented in the town. Popular shopping areas include Moulsham Street - a specialist shopping area, the Meadows riverside complex and High Chelmer Shopping Centre which is right in the heart of the town.
Chelmsford County Cricket Club
Leisure facilities in Chelmsford include sports centres, two theatres, a modern multi-screen cinema, numerous restaurants, night clubs and the opportunity to see Essex County Cricket Club play on its home ground. Chelmsford and Essex Museum stands in Oaklands Park and Hylands House, just outside the constituency, a beautiful grade II listed building, surrounded by over 600 acres of Heritage landscape and parkland, is used for a variety of different functions and events throughout the year.
Recently Hollywood film producers discovered Hylands House as the perfect double of the White House for their 2004 Warner Bros film 'Chasing Liberty'. The 18th Century Essex mansion was chosen to substitute for the presidential home in the $23 million romantic comedy about a president's daughter.
Chelmsford High Street
Major events in the calendar include the annual V Music Festival, which is staged in Hylands Park. In contrast, just minutes out of town, villages and quiet countryside reflect a gentler pace of life.
The Anglia Ruskin University has new buildings in the town and offers a wide range of educational courses. Also, to the west of Chelmsford, there is the Writtle Agricultural College. Chelmsford falls neatly within the London commuter belt, and many people use the A12 or trains which run directly into Liverpool Street Station to get to work each day.