Emperor Nerva Statue
If you are interested in the history of the city, do look out for the recently erected Emperor Nerva Statue, halfway along Southgate Street, near the Tourist Information office.
This statue, apparently the first statue of a Roman emperor on horseback to be set up in Britain in modern times, is of Marcus Nerva, the Roman emperor who, in AD 97, made Gloucester a self-governing city called Colonia Nerviana Glevensis, one of only four coloniae in Britain, less than a century after a Roman fortress had been established in the area, at Kingsholm. The location was probably selected because Gloucester was a point at which the River Severn could be crossed without difficulty and the Romans hoped to advance from here into Wales. The city was run by an elected council who in turn elected four magistrates to organise finance for building the new city.
Marcus Nerva had been a successful lawyer and was proclaimed Roman Emperor, aged over 60, in AD 96, dying only two years later, following a tolerant reign, during which he developed and implemented many important social and administrative measures to improve the Empire.
The statue, commissioned by Gloucester Civic Trust from the sculptor Professor Anthony Stone who is renowned for his statues of eminent figures, stands just outside the Southgate Street entrance to the Eastgate Shopping Centre, exactly where pieces of an ancient bronze equestrian statue were discovered in 1968. A time capsule, buried under the plinth, is filled with many local items relating to life in Gloucester at the beginning of the 21st century, including a Gloucester rugby shirt.
The statue was raised onto the plinth on the 23rd June 2002 and a troupe dressed as Roman centurions marched along Southgate street for the official unveiling on the nineteenth of October the same year.
The lightship now called Sula was originally stationed off Spurn Head at the mouth of the Humber estuary it was decommissioning in 1985 and since then has served as the headquarters of a yacht club as well as a tourist attraction in various different locations.
It has undergone three years of restoration and fitting out at the Sharpness Shipyard and it's owners Jan and Agnes van der Elsen have had the crew’s quarters and engine room adapted to provide three treatment rooms with a teaching area and a shop.
The original light and fog-horn have been retained and the lightship renamed Sula which means peace, the ship was then was towed up the canal to Gloucester on 2 Oct 2010.
They now offer high quality complementary health care and training under the name Lightship Therapies.
"The History of Gloucester"
Gloucester began as a Roman town. It lies at the first point where the river Severn can be easily crossed so it was a natural place to build a town. About 49 AD the Romans built a fort to guard the river crossing at Kingsholm. In 64 AD they built a new fort on the site of Gloucester town centre. About ten years after that the Roman soldiers moved on but the site of the fort was turned into a town for retired soldiers. They called the New town Glevum. Roman Gloucester was laid out in a grid pattern. In the centre of the town was a forum. This was a market place lined with shops and public buildings.
Since the creation of the town, in the 9th Century the Saxons founded a Monastery there. In 909 AD the remains of St Oswald were brought to Gloucester. In those days people would go on long journeys called pilgrimages to visit the remains of saints. Many people came to Gloucester to visit the remains of St Oswald and they spent money in the town. In 1153 the church which housed St Oswald's shrine was turned into a priory (a small abbey).
In 1327 the body of king Edward II was buried at St Peters Abbey. Afterwards there was a stream of visitors to his tomb, which added to the prosperity of Gloucester.
In 1541 Gloucester was given a bishop and the Abbey Church was made the new cathedral. Henry VIII 1509-47 and his son Edward 1547-53 introduced religious changes to England. However Henry's daughter Mary, tried to undo the changes. She burned many Protestants. One of them was John Hooper, Bishop of Gloucester, who was burned for heresy in St Marys Square in 1555.
In 1805 William the Conqueror came to Gloucester and while he was there he ordered that the Domesday Book be written.
In 1819 a dry dock was built where vessels could be repaired. Another followed it in 1853. In 1827 a ship canal was built from Gloucester to Sharpness. Timber from Scandinavia was brought along this canal. North Warehouse was built in 1827. Biddles warehouse was built in 1830. In 1840 2 more warehouses were built, Vinings and Reynolds. Victoria dock opened in 1849. Three more warehouses, Phillpotts, Herbert and Kimberley were built in 1846. A Custom House was built in 1845 and the Mariners Chapel opened in 1849.
In the late 19th century a new industry began in Gloucester - making railway carriages. There was also flour milling, timber milling, making farm machinery and some shipbuilding.
Gloucester is a great place to visit, it has oodles of history, a fantastic Cathedral, great shopping centres and plenty of historic Inns and Cafe's to unwind in. The revitalised Historic docks are home to the magnificent warehouses and are a great place to take a stroll or sit in one of the cafe's and watch the world go by. Here you'll also find the Waterways Museum, the Soldiers of Gloucester Museum and many opportunities to take a boat trip up the river.