Uncovering Queer Stories at Gloucestershire Archives

Last year we hosted two workshops with artist Tom Marshman looking at uncovering queer stories within our collections. For LGBTQ+ history month I want to share two of these stories with you.

It can sometimes be difficult to uncover the stories of LGBTQ+ people throughout history, due to the stigma and laws prosecuting people who identified under the LGBTQ+ umbrella. We started our search by looking though Gloucestershire newspapers, and this is how we found both Chummy and Charley Wilson.

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Cataloguing The Barnwood House Hospital Collection

Barnwood House Hospital was established around the early 1800s and operated as a private mental asylum until its closure in 1968. The impact of the hospital on the community of the City of Gloucester and indeed it’s national reputation over many years at the forefront of the treatment of mental illness cannot be underestimated. The ethos of the hospital can be demonstrated by the hospital’s rule book stating that “Because they are insane, the patients are not to be treated with less respect than they would be entitled to if they were of sound mind and at liberty” and “They are not the less ladies and gentlemen because they are unsound in mind”. 

Old photograph of the Barnwood house  with staff and patients walking the garden to the side of the building
D3725/1/167/4: Photograph of Barnwood House and grounds, including a few staff and patients [late 19th century].
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Life before the internet

I was nineteen before the internet reached me. So I have little memory of what it means to be in an adult world without the trappings of the World Wide Web. Like so many others, I run my life from my family iPad: online shopping, banking, travel plans and research, to name just a few areas. And it’s always intrigued me how people managed such areas of their life without the internet. And that’s when I discovered collection D10423. 

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New Gloucestershire Archives Website!

Observant users of the Gloucestershire Archives website will have noticed that the site has been looking somewhat different for the past couple of weeks. Over the past year, we have been working hard behind the scenes to update, refresh and generally overhaul the site.   The last review was in 2016 and since then the site had grew like Topsy resulting in a lot of duplicated information, and many rabbit holes to get lost down!

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#Archive30: Travels throughout Gloucestershire by bus, train or walking boots!

This small notebook might not look like much on the outside, but it is perfect for #ArchiveDestination! This travel diary records the writers “impressions of events, mostly of places I have been to, & things that have happened there” as he travels via bus and train and enjoys walks around the area. Including a trip to Stroud Valley on 17 April 1954!

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