Cheltenham has a rich heritage, with elegant Regency buildings, spas, fascinating public art and notable connections; it is certainly worth a visit. The Imperial Gardens, behind the Edwardian Town Hall, is one of Cheltenham’s many lovely green spaces and is where the statue to Gustav Holst can be found. We visited in spring a couple of years ago, during the Light Up Cheltenham festival. For a few weeks some of the beautiful buildings are bathed in coloured lights giving them a whole new look. The big wheel in the gardens was, I think, a temporary attraction. The Imperial Gardens has formal colourful flower beds and trees and is surrounded by some handsome buildings.
There are many benches around The Imperial Gardens but this one caught my eye during our trip. My interest is always stirred by a bench that mentions someone’s former working life and I was always going to include Colin Vernon Powell the jeweller in this blog.
Searching for Colin Vernon Powell on the internet was a mostly frustrating experience. The searches revealed pages of results for Colin Luther Powell, the United States Secretary of State from 2001 to 2005 and an American politician, diplomat and retired four-star general.
I have been unable to track down any sign of Powell’s Jewellers in Cheltenham today but my searches do suggest that Colin Powell Ltd was a jewellers on the Promenade in Cheltenham at one time. I like to imagine this was the right place for Colin Vernon Powell to be based. The Promenade is certainly a fitting location for a highly respected jeweller, true friend and gentleman. The Imperial Gardens is just off the Promenade which is in the centre of Cheltenham and is a chic shopping street that was first developed in 1818 when the trees were planted on what was a boggy track. It eventually became the place to be seen and is now a well preserved and attractive shopping area. Today there are a number of jewellers that continue to trade from this street and some of them have a long association with this place.