I’m Steve Knibbs, the Gloucestershire Reporter for BBC Points West and BBC Midlands Today. I was born and brought up in Tuffley and went to Harewood schools and then to Crypt. I started my broadcasting career answering the phones for free at BBC Radio Gloucestershire and I’m now proud to be covering my home county as the BBC’s man in Gloucestershire for TV.

For me, Gloucester has always been a city of surprises. You always have an affinity with the place and people where you grew up but often we don’t look too closely on our own doorstep. They city’s rich history is, in some respects, hidden in plain site. We take it for granted but look deeper and the stories behind some of the nooks and crannies will amaze you – I’m talking about Maverdine Lane off Westgate Street – if you haven’t looked down it go now!

As I was growing up in the 70s and 80s the city lived in the shadows of places like Cheltenham and the Cotswolds. I remember walking around the docks with my Grandfather who said that there were plans to bring shops and restaurants along the waterside. It may have taken a while but look at where we are now. The docks has become a social, retail and cultural hub in the city. What better place to sit out on a summer evening looking at the water with a decent craft beer brewed just a few feet away at Gloucester Brewery?

Back in 2015 it became a hub for the Rugby World Cup with the fanzone and a giant screen to watch the games on. Gloucester really came alive during the tournament and it was a wonderful experience

Add to this the regeneration of the Cathedral – a huge public space that we can proud of in the city centre. And just a stones throw from some great pubs and cafes. With the regeneration of the historic Fleece Hotel and the arrival of a new destination right in the city centre, Gloucester his continuing to defy those who don’t believe in the city. Which reminds me to mention the “I Believe in Gloucester” awards which I’ve had the privilege of hosting for the last few years. An opportunity for people, businesses and those who care about the city to come together, celebrate and get recognition for the difference they’ve made to Gloucester.

When lockdown ends I’m looking forward to sitting out with those craft beers again on the dockside, grabbing a bite to eat and with a bit of luck, a couple of nights at the Rhythm and blues festival. Wouldn’t that be the perfect antidote after lockdown? A gig at the Guildhall would be great too – a cultural institution unrivalled in the county. I have great memories of bouncing around on the famous sprung floor. Last year I got to interview Ian Dench from EMF as it was the 30th anniversary of the release of the video for “Unbelieveable” which was filmed at the Guildhall.

If you’re visiting Gloucester the best advice I can give you is to ignore the rumours and stereotypes of the city and look for what Gloucester really is. Of course, like any town and city, it has its problems but look for the good and you’ll be surprised. There’s a lull due to lockdown but there really is a buzz about the city if you care to look for it. So many people wanting Gloucester to punch about its weight. So seek out Gloucester and you’ll find not just the history, the culture and the people but, and dare I sound a bit twee, how nice the city is.




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