Created By: Cheltenham Local History Society
This building was formerly the site of numbers 9 & 10 Northwick Terrace, once a continuation of the Regency row to the left as we face the building.
In 1851 number 10 Northwick Terrace was leased by Mr Pio Cianchettini, who was born in London in 1799, of a musical family. When he was only 5 years old he performed a sonata of his own composition at the Opera House in London, being hailed as the "English Mozart". Pio later became a celebrated music performer and teacher, playing the piano and conducting popular concerts in London and at local venues such as the Montpellier Rotunda.
In the mid 20th century the house and its occupants suffered a terrible fate which would have been unimaginable to earlier generations. On the dark evening of 11th December 1940 there was an air raid, in which more than 100 high explosive bombs and many incendiaries were dropped from 7.30pm until after midnight, by waves of raiders. One of the bombs hit this house, destroying the property and killing Mrs Annie Elizabeth Iles, aged 55. In total 23 people died and 600 lost their homes.
The newspapers were unable to report air raids during the war but when it ended, the Gloucestershire Echo, in May 1945, described the appalling events of that night as follows.
“Viewed from the centre of town the attack was an unforgettable and terrifying spectacle, with anti-aircraft guns blazing away, shrapnel exploding in the star-lit sky, and bombs crashing down with a violence that shook the whole town."
The damaged properties either side of 20 Suffolk Road were demolished and rebuilt after the war, in an unsympathetic architectural style.
Walk further along Suffolk Road until you are opposite The Suffolk Arms.
This point of interest is part of the tour: A Walk on the South Side - from Cheltenham to The Suffolks