In 1854, the snowy weather was so severe that Chelmsford suffered with snow drifts as deep as 7 feet. In January 1881, the 'blizzard of the century' meant that trading all but ceased in most of Essex as a result of the extremity of the weather. Chelmsford was a notable exception where enterprising businessman did a roaring trade in eye-glasses that had green lenses help people to avoid 'snow blindness'. In 1976, however, the weather was so hot that firemen in Chelmsford had to resort to using the water from the few ponds that were still 'wet' to put out fires. The summer of 1976 was the busiest time on record for Essex Firefighters, with up to 400 firefighters on active duty at one time to fight the effects of the sweltering weather.
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On 1st June 2012, Chelmsford was granted city status in celebration of Queen Elizabeth II diamond jubilee. Whilst there have been settlements in the area of Chelmsford since pre-history, the town was granted it Royal Charter as a market town in 1199. Chelmsford has played a significant part in the governance of the area since the twelfth century and was recognised as the county town of Essex in 1218. In 1381, Richard II brutally suppressed the Peasants Revolt by moving on Chelmsford following the suppression of the revolt in London. Many of the ringleaders of the revolt were executed at the gallows that stood on what is now Primrose Hill. Chelmsford was the last prison for many of the victims of Matthew Hopkins, the Witchfinder General, in the 17th century. In more modern times Chelmsford has become known as the birthplace of radio. Guglielmo Marconi opened the first 'wireless' factory in Hall Street in 1899, employing 50 people in his business which would grow into one of the largest companies in the world. Chelmsford is the home of the Essex County Cricket Club and Hylands Park, venue of the V festival and the 21st World Scout Jamboree in 2007. In 2007 Chelmsford was voted the 8th best place to live in the UK by the Channel 4 TV programme 'location, location, location'.
There are many significant and notable people to have been born in Chelmsford. Among them are Sir Walter Mildmay (1525) become Chancellor of the Exchequer under Queen Elizabeth I and was founder of Emmanuel College in Cambridge. Anne Knight (1786) was born in the town, a forerunner to feminists and an anti-slavery campaigner. Turner Prize winning artist, Grayson Perry grew up in Chelmsford and attended King Edward the VI Grammar School for Boys.