Since April 2022 I have been working on a project to catalogue the 20th century records of the Corporation of Gloucester, which cover a crucial period for the development of the city up to 1974. Along the way I’ve discovered all sorts of things about how new technologies such as the motor car and telephones affected the city from the 1920s onwards, how the Corporation promoted Gloucester as a suitable site for industry, and how an early aviation pioneer inspired the creation of what is now Gloucestershire Airport.Continue reading
Author Archives: karendavidsonglosarchives
Playing around with place names
Sometimes we like to have a bit of fun with local place names, in between helping people with their research and all the other things we do. Once we made up the cast list for a melodrama (including Maisey Hampton, our heroine, Stanley Pontlarge her hard-up clergyman uncle, Acton Turville, a cad and a bounder, and Temple Guiting and Clifford Chambers, a pair of unscrupulous lawyers…) – although we never actually managed to write the melodrama itself.
Another time, we found ourselves explaining the pronunciation of various place names through the medium of limericks. It was back in the days before blogs and suchlike, and we never got round to sharing the results, but I’ve used several of them as reminders to myself on how to pronounce the places concerned, and I thought it would be nice to share them now – and to challenge all of you to write some of your own!
Howlers from the archives – or, the Gloucestershire Archives Christmas Quiz!
In my post yesterday I promised you two treasures from the Hicks Beach family archive. Ellice’s Victorian Christmas cards were the first, but for the second I want to take you nearly a century further back in time to the 1820s, where we meet Ellice’s great-aunt Jane Martha Hicks Beach and her book of riddles.
Jane Martha was the youngest sister of Ellice’s grandfather William, and after William’s wife (also called Jane) died, she helped him bring up his children. Jane was the family’s maiden aunt until she was 47 when she married a man called Edward St John, and she was known as “Aunt Jane” to at least two generations of the family. Ellice will have known her, as she didn’t die until he was seven years old.
Jane was a talented artist and was interested in botany and photography; the collection also includes some of her sketchbooks and photographs. She also seems to have had a fairly keen sense of humour, as the riddles in her book will show you. Many of them don’t make sense to modern eyes, some of them rely on early 19th century cultural knowledge, and some of them are a bit of a stretch, to say the least, but some of them still make sense (and are groan-inducingly funny) today. We have been posting some of them on our social media this last week, with their answers, but to entertain you over Christmas week, I thought I’d put together a few without their answers for you to puzzle over. Answers will follow in the New Year! Continue reading
Christmas and New Year cards from the archives
This gallery contains 28 photos.
One of my favourite collections of all those I’ve catalogued over the years is the archive of the Hicks Beach family of Williamstrip in Coln St Aldwyn, Netheravon in Wiltshire, and Oakley in Hampshire. It is full of all sorts … Continue reading
National recognition of some hard work behind the scenes…
As part of our work on the County Council’s archive, my colleague Helen and I have spent the last couple of years cataloguing social care and education records relating to the safeguarding of children. We are delighted to report that our work has been featured in the National Archives’ latest annual review – here is what it says: Continue reading
Richard III and the City of Gloucester
All eyes will be on Leicester this month for the reburial of Richard III, whose skeleton was found underneath a car park there in 2012. But here in Gloucester we are marking the occasion as well, because before Richard became King, he was the Duke of Gloucester – and after he came to the throne, he granted Gloucester a charter which gave the city rights and privileges it retained right up until 1974. Continue reading
Annual stocktaking week
During 16-19 December 2014, we held our annual stocktaking week. This is when we provide a limited service in the searchroom to free up as many staff as possible to work in the strongrooms. We use the time to improve the storage of the collections we have, and to assess and identify material we don’t need to keep permanently.
We would like to thank all our customers for their understanding while our service was restricted to enable us to get on with all of this! Continue reading