Sometimes it’s an unexpected glimpse of times past that I really enjoy about my job here at Gloucestershire Archives. I had such a moment recently, with a discovery that came my way.
Part of my role as Collections Care Conservator is to protect the collection against damage from insect pests. Our eagle-eyed staff and volunteers are super-vigilant about spotting any possible signs of infestation. One of our volunteers was emptying out an old box when she spotted what she thought was frass (i.e. insect poop) and so brought the box to my attention.
Autumn has seen a flurry of new collections arriving at Gloucestershire Archives – and all are now recorded, labelled, boxed and tucked away safely in our care.
We were delighted to receive an archive bequeathed to us by the late June Lewis, a well-known local author and historian of Fairford. Alison Hobson of Fairford Local History Society has spent over 12 months listing the contents of the collection ready for its transfer to the Archives. This help is much appreciated by our busy team! Mrs Lewis collected, researched and wrote extensively so it will take a little longer before the 20 or so transfer boxes have been processed ready for research.
Some of the highlights for September and October are listed below. As ever, please search our online catalogue using the reference numbers given in the list to find further details. Most items are now ready to be used by visiting our research room.
Artists for Gloucestershire Archives
This week we’ve been celebrating the national #ExploreArchives campaign, so it seemed appropriate to demonstrate just how many ways there are of exploring the collections.
If you have visited the Archives’ garden lately you will have noticed that there is a very large oak tree trunk lying on the ground. This is the raw material for our new vertical sculpture to be carved by Cheltenham based sculptor Natasha Houseago. The tree trunk is two and a half metres long and has a diameter of about half a metre. Or if you still hanker for the olden days, 15 feet long and about 20 inches across.
Model me a railway, Eric
Apart from qualified train drivers, how many of us have, in fact, driven a train? Maybe that question should actually be: how many of us want to drive a train? I would – for the unique driving experience and the challenge of keeping hundreds of people simultaneously on track (excuse the pun) for their appointments.
The desire to drive trains is normally heightened if the train happens to be pre 1948, the year that saw the nationalisation of Britain’s railways. Regrettably, most of us could only drive one of these vintage vehicles if we visited a heritage railway line or, failing that, pretend. And by ‘pretend’ I mean building a model railway, rather than sitting on a chair making choo-choo and chuff-chuff noises. Continue reading
It’s an exciting day when the Mayor of Gloucester calls in. But it’s not me he’s here to visit – along with several Friends of Gloucestershire Archives, he has come to see the gorgeous Gloucester City Charters, kept here at Gloucestershire Archives since 2012. The City Council consider the Charters to be amongst the most significant items held here because they document the development of Gloucester as a city. Continue reading
Dig this, dude
It’s fair to say many of us would like a go on a digger. Perhaps not a prominent desire, but the thought of moving large piles of earth at the touch of a joystick or smashing concrete into oblivion with a deft swipe of the controls is quite tempting.
Sadly, it must remain a wish and not become a reality, for us at least – because the joy of excavating massive holes would lead to a temptation to lift things that shouldn’t be lifted, like people or cars, or even other diggers. That’s a very good question: can a digger lift another digger? Well, for as long as we’re not allowed to play with diggers, we won’t find out. We think it probably could though.
So why all this talk about construction machinery? Well, it’s because we’re awash with it at our Alvin Street premises in Gloucester: diggers, excavators, dump trucks and all manner of large and powerful machinery that we are (sensibly) banned from having a go on. But we have fun watching them in our breaks, seeing them go about their destructive and constructive business to create new facilities for Gloucestershire Heritage Hub and build three more specialist storage rooms for the Archives’ collections. You’ll probably know all about this if you’ve been following our Blogging a Building posts or visited recently. Continue reading
Tree planting on Leckhampton Hill in the early 1970s (among records of R W Paterson architect of Cheltenham, catalogue reference D3867 Accession 14388)
Each month new archives arrive at Gloucestershire Archives – either as gifts or as deposits on indefinite loan. We regularly process between 25 and 35 new batches (or ‘accessions’). All are logged into our collections management database and stored securely. Continue reading