Pause for Reflection, by Claire Collins

In the autumn, colleagues from Gloucestershire Archives have been showcasing our digital preservation work at a couple of conferences. The first the Archives and Records Association conference was about ‘Facing Forward: Post-pandemic recordkeeping – change, challenge, choice’ and the second was the international conference on digital preservation (iPres) focusing on ‘Data for all, for good, for ever: Let Digits Flourish’

Read more: Pause for Reflection, by Claire Collins

For both conferences we presented papers focusing on the recent work we have been doing designing a long term digital storage solution for our born digital records and curiously enough (or perhaps not!) this very forward facing topic served to highlight the basic principles that underpin the work we do here.

So first, what are archives?

Archives are the record of everyday activities of governments, organisations, businesses and individuals. Archives may take many different forms – handwritten, typed, printed, photographic or electronic – and include audio-visual material such as video and sound recordings. As authentic and reliable records, they are preserved permanently because of their evidential and historical value.

What does Gloucestershire Archives do?

We gather archive collections and local and family history resources to ensure they are kept secure and made accessible.

We can see the foundations of the Archive are provenance (that is understanding where something has come from) and authenticity. So an Archive’s worth is that it preserves both provenance and authentic content.

Historically then we expect that the documents we offer to customers are precisely the documents that crossed the Archive’s threshold and are what we have ever since kept safe. Archival authenticity does not mean that a document’s content is “true” rather it means that the document produced is the document that was received by the Archive, possibly many decades earlier.

Therefore successful Archival preservation requires more than just having access to a document. We must also know where the document is from and how it relates to other documents. And in particular we must know that our document is authentic and be able to prove this claim.

All then that we need to do for our digital records is translate these principles into the digital world.

We have been working on tools that will ensure that we not only know that our digital documents have been preserved but that we can prove it.

Provenance is captured in our hierarchical catalogue that is compliant with international cataloguing standards (ISAD(G)). This digital application is supported by our normal business continuity plans, and our “disorderly exit” plan – which protects us in case of incidents such as supplier failure.

Authenticity is based on the custody of the fixity digests of the archival information packages (AIPs) or digital objects that are held by us in our storage.

You can read more about fixity and fixity digests on the Digital Preservation Coalition’s website https://www.dpconline.org/handbook/technical-solutions-and-tools/fixity-and-checksums, but essentially you can think of a fixity digest as a digital fingerprint or unique value that can be generated from a digital object. Knowing, maintaining and comparing the fixity of a digital object allows us to prove that a digital object is authentic.

In practical terms we use a packaging tool to create Archival Information Packages or AIPs from the digital documents transferred to us. (Think of this a bit like putting some paper records into a box). As part of this process we calculate the fixity digests of the AIPs.

We are then able to deposit AIPs in a remote cloud based store. We use a storage fixity tool to calculate the fixity digests of the deposited AIP that it has received. It reports these digests back to the packager tool. The packager tool knows what the fixity digests of the AIP should be since it calculated them when the AIP was first created. So it can verify what the storage fixity manager tool is reporting and confirm that the service is reporting the expected fixity digests.

Finally, the packager tool includes the fixity digests that it created earlier in a fixity digest database which is maintained by the Archive.

Similarly when a user wants to consult a particular digital object we can request an AIP from the store using the packager tool.

The archivist identifies the AIP that is being requested. The packager tool receives the downloaded AIP. It confirms that it has located the expected fixity digests in the fixity digest database maintained by the Archive. It calculates the fixity digests of the deposited AIP that it has received so that these can be compared. Since the digests agree with the expected fixities that have remained in the Archive’s custody the Archive can prove that the requested AIP is authentically identical to the deposited AIP.

Gloucestershire Archives has been working in this field now for almost 20 years. Our approach of learning by doing has allowed us to develop our thinking and learning by actively taking discrete steps to preserve our digital collections. Our existing AIPs are stored securely within Gloucestershire County Council’s network, but now that we have defined our requirements we can explore the opportunities that new technologies offer.

Claire Collins, Collections Development Manager

Things That Go Bump In The Night

Rachel Wales ACR gets into the Halloween spirit…

As we approach Hallowe’en, we see lots of decorations featuring massive hairy spiders.  As I fished yet another beefy specimen of Tegenaria domestica out of my bathtub the other morning, I wonder if this is because late summer and autumn are the times when we humans start spotting, and screaming at, house spiders as they roam about our kitchens, bathrooms and sitting rooms in search of mates.  Autumn and spiders go hand in hand. 

Read more: Things That Go Bump In The Night

I am not especially fond of spiders, because unexpected encounters with them do make me shriek, but I also hate finding them stuck in my pest traps here at Gloucestershire Archives*.  I put down sticky pest traps throughout our building, in offices, hallways and in our many strongrooms, and check them every three months.  But the purpose of these traps is not to manage creepy crawly populations by trapping and killing them; the purpose of the traps is to give me an idea of what types of invertebrates are in the building, and in what numbers.  And I am particularly concerned with finding species that pose a threat to our archival collections. 

A sticky trap in the archives

So, what creatures really do send shivers down my spine?  Here are two – spotted recently in a sticky trap in our Collections Care room. 

Varied carpet beetle larva and silverfish

This picture shows a larva of the varied carpet beetle Anthrenus verbasci (the larvae are commonly known as “woolly bears”), feasting on the corpse of a common silverfish Lepisma saccharina.  Super gruesome, right? 

Why are these insects considered to be pests?  It’s because they can potentially damage some of the materials found in archives.  In the case of the woolly bear, they are known to eat animal skins (such as parchment) and woollen textiles (such as the sample books from various woollen mills in Stroud, held here at the Archives).  Silverfish have broad culinary tastes, happily eating microscopic moulds, animal glue (used in bookbinding, and as a general adhesive) sugars and starches (such as adhesives used on old labels).  So you can understand why it would be alarming to find significant populations of either of these creatures in sticky traps. 

Any building is going to have insects and other invertebrates living in it – this is just a fact of life.  But part of our job here as Collections Care conservators is to establish what the “base line” for pest activity is in the building, monitor this base line for any upsurges in the population, and then to take action to control pest populations if we feel that our collections are in danger. 

And what about your home?  Are wool moths, silverfish or cluster flies making you break out in a cold sweat of rage and loathing?  If so, there are good resources out there to help.  You can try searching using the term “integrated pest management”.  This is the approach we take here at the Archives.  It’s about using a combination of cleaning, monitoring, and management of temperature and humidity to make our site as inhospitable to pests as we can manage.  I can also recommend a fairly new publication by UK pest experts David Pinniger and Dee Lauder, called Pests in Houses Great and Small.  It’s a great little book, with good photos and descriptions, useful case studies and practical advice on how to spot and deal with pests. 

Good luck with your pests, if you have any, and please wish me luck too as I undertake the autumn trap inspection routine and find out what has been going bump in the night at the Archives! 

Ask An Archivist Day!

During the Covid-19 lockdowns we challenged our staff, volunteers and researchers to the 60 Seconds With… challenge! For #AskAnArchivistDay we are looking back on some of the answers from the Archivist here at Gloucestershire Archives.

Check out everyone’s full answers here: https://www.heritagehub.org.uk/60-seconds-with/60-seconds-withcontributions/

Heather Forbes, County Archivist

  1. What first brought you to Gloucestershire Archives?
    • An interview for the role of county archivist in 2005.  I was not expecting to succeed but wanted to give it a go as it represented my dream job.  
  2. What would you say to encourage others to use Gloucestershire Archives?
    • There’s a wealth of interesting information for the curious, and a friendly welcome.
  3. What’s the most exciting thing you’ve discovered at Gloucestershire Archives?
    • Granville Sharp’s transcription of an 18th century Barbadian slave song (now inscribed on the UNESCO Memory of the World register).
  4. Why is history important?
    • To provide context and help understand the present.  Also to learn from what worked, and just as importantly, what didn’t.
  5. Is there one invention from the past that you wish you’d created?
    • The bicycle – an environmentally friendly means of transport, and good for keeping fit too. 

Paul Evans, Senior Archivist

  1. What do you plan to research next?
    • Not until I retire obviously, but then I want to go back to the subject of my MA thesis, the Great Game between Britain & Russia in Central Asia, and work through all the documents GA holds generated by British officers and other people in India & Afghanistan in the 19th & early 20th Centuries.  We seem to have a particularly good collection of these, so expect to see me on the other side of the counter in years to come!
  2. What’s the most exciting thing you’ve discovered at Gloucestershire Archives?
    • The most exciting thing is how interesting the lives of ordinary people are, something I hadn’t particularly thought about until getting involved in our community projects.  I’ve really enjoyed listening to, collecting and making accessible people’s memories and developing skills around this.  I enjoy sharing this material with others and get satisfaction from seeing them also taking pleasure from listening to the memories.
  3. What particular period of history are you interested in, and why?
    • Difficult to narrow down to one period or even place.  I’ve been interested in the history of the American West during the 19th C since boyhood; a general layman’s interest in Chinese history followed soon after, and during my time at University I also developed interests in the Great Game in Central Asia, and in Japanese history, particularly pre-20th C.  The fantastic English language documentaries on the NHK World channel I particularly enjoy now for insights into aspects of the latter.
  4. If you could meet any historical figure who would this be, and why?
    • Define historical.  The person I’d most like to meet is my Grandfather, Sergeant Richard Frank Evans of the RAF, who was killed, aged 30, in December 1942, and who is remembered on the Gibraltar memorial.  I’d like to thank him for his sacrifice, and to ask him to tell me about his life, so I can have a better understanding of him.
  5. What historical mystery would you like to solve, and why?
    • Simple – what’s the truth behind the Robin Hood legend.  Who was the person or people who inspired the earliest Medieval ballads, and how much do they reflect the actual activities of a real person or persons?

Claire Collins, Collections Development Manager

  1. What particular period of history are you interested in, and why?
    • Early Middle Ages
  2. Can you recommend a good historical novel?
    • Oooooh, tricky. Not quite ‘historical’ but Josephine Tey’s ‘The Daughter of Time’. Or a childhood favourite, Rosemary Sutcliffe’s ‘Song for a Dark Queen’
  3. Why is history important?
    • ‘Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it’ – George Santayana
  4. Do you think there’s a future for archives, and why?
    • I think there will always be a future for archives – just look at the International Council on Archives campaign #AnArchiveIs
  5. Which TV or radio historian do you like the most, and why?
    • Tricky – Dr Janina Ramirez (because she’s my period!) But I also really enjoy listening to Dr Annie Gray on The Kitchen Cabinet (BBC R4), she’s very funny, and so enthusiastic about cooking recipes that are very different to our modern tastes.

Karen Davidson, Senior Archivist

  1. What first brought you to Gloucestershire Archives?
    • A job interview! I was the graduate trainee at Gloucestershire Record Office (as it then was) for a year in the late 90s, and then after I had qualified as an archivist I came back for a one-year contract to begin converting the typescript catalogues into a database. 20 years later I’m still here, and still wrangling the database, which is, of course, now the online catalogue which holds descriptions of all of our holdings!
  2. What’s the most exciting thing you’ve discovered at Gloucestershire Archives?
    • Working in the Collections Management team, and having catalogued many collections and worked with the catalogues of most of the others, I have a list as long as my arm (or I would if I could remember them all!). For example, a letter from Grace Darling (she of lifeboat fame), a cache of late Victorian Christmas cards, letters home by a member of a county family on safari describing her adventures, a class photo from the 1920s which our longest-standing researcher pointed out to me included himself aged 9, an entry in a school admissions register proving that a member of the Windrush generation was educated in Gloucester and therefore entitled to remain here (that one was a team effort!), and the very first one I made, practically on my first day, that Gloucestershire’s first female police officer came from the same tiny village in Suffolk that I do…the list goes on and on.
  3. Can you recommend a good historical novel?
    • Anything by Sharon Penman. Her research is meticulous and her characters are incredibly realistic – she really brings the medieval period to life. Particular recommendations: The Sunne in Splendour about the Wars of the Roses, with Richard III as the main protagonist (so he gets a more sympathetic hearing than usual), and the trilogy about the last days of independent Wales Here be Dragons, Falls the Shadow and The Reckoning.
  4. If you could journey back in time to any period of history, what would this be and why?
    • I am quite happy in the 21st century! I have equal rights, am able to work, own my own home, have access to plentiful food, medical care and sanitation, and am free not to conform to society’s expectations. Even 20 or 30 years ago I would not have some of the rights I have now.
  5. Why is history important?
    • History offers us endless opportunities, guidance and examples to learn from in dealing with our everyday lives as well as events more generally. As the famous saying goes, those who forget their history are doomed to repeat it. Also, if we look closely enough, it lets us hear the voices of people who weren’t listened to or considered important at the time: archive collections are particularly good for this, because they contain a much broader range of stories than published accounts, whose contents will have been chosen for how they illustrate the points the author is trying to make.

Ally McConnell, Senior Archivist

  1. What particular period of history are you interested in, and why?
    • I have always been interested in the 19th century. This started as a genuine liking for novels of the period – but I am also fascinated by the amount of invention that took place in this century that really paved the way for what we are able to do now, and there is fantastic evidence of this in buildings, bridges, railways and other feats of engineering.
  2. If you could meet any historical figure who would this be, and why?
    • My favourite author, and general favourite person – Wilkie Collins. I’d love to sit with him and a nice glass of wine and chat about his novels and the people he knew. I think he’d be a lot of fun.
  3. If you could journey back in time to any period of history, what would this be and why?
    • I’d love to go back to the Roman era in Britain and elsewhere in Europe, and see them actually build their wonderful aqueducts, bridges and villas.
  4. Do you think there’s a future for archives, and why?
    • Yes, although they may not be in the form people understand at the moment. People are always going to want to learn from the past (whether through formal education or not) and archives are, directly or indirectly, a way to help this.
  5. If you could write a letter to any historical figure, what would you write and who would you write to?
    • I’d write to Isambard Kingdom Brunel. I don’t know what I’d write – probably something similar to a mad fan-girl comment that we’d do today with celebrities – but it would definitely gush over his wonderful bridges and other designs. I’d also ask him to say hi to my great great grandfather, who was also an engineer and worked alongside him at times.

Kate Maisey, Archives Development Manager

  1. Why are you interested in history?
    • Because I’m interested in people, be they alive or – in the case of most archives- dead!
  2. If you could meet any person from history, who would it be and why?
    • Mexican artist Frida Kahlo to express my appreciation and admiration
  3. If you could journey back in time to any period of history, what would this be and why?
    • Either the Edwardian period or the 1920s- I like the clothes! 
  4. What is the oldest thing you have in your home and why does it appeal to you?
    • The oldest thing I own personally is a small wooden box which belonged to my great, great grandmother. It has her name on the top, on a tiny metal plaque.  I like it because it’s a direct tangible link to one of my ancestors and it’s been handed down from mother to daughter.
  5. If you could write a letter to any historical figure, what would you write and who would you write to?
    • I’d write to Charles Dickens in May 1858 to persuade him not to treat his wife so cruelly. He fell for someone else, fair enough, but he didn’t have to traduce her in the newspapers or prevent her from seeing her (10) children.  I would appeal to his better nature and -in case that failed- would say that posterity will judge it a stain on his character 

Rhianna Watson, Community Cataloguing Archivist

  1. Why are you interested in history?
    • Because I’m interested in people and how they worked, played and lived. I think history gives us a great insight into the lives of many different people, and it is fascinating to see how they lived can compare to people today.
  2. What do you think has been the most significant thing in your personal life history so far, and why?
    • I think what has happened in recent years is going to be the most significant thing, historian of the future are going to look back on this time and make comment on how we fought the Covid virus but also hopefully learn from this time and recognise the amazing people involved in fighting the virus, caring for the sick, and ensuring people still have access to the essential items they need to live.
  3. Is there one invention from the past that you wish you’d created?
    • As someone who has worn glasses since I was 9 months old, I can’t imagine how I would have lived before they were invented. So I would like to have invented glasses as it would mean my invention is helping so many people around the world. Also if I invented them does it mean I get free glasses? Cause they can be very expensive!
  4. Which historical event would you have liked to play a part in, and why?
    • The suffragette movement, because if it wasn’t for those amazing women fighting for the vote a lot of progress we have made in equality for women today wouldn’t have been possible. It would also just be amazing to meet the strong women behind the suffragettes.
  5. Why is history important?
    • I think it is important to see where we have come from and the changes we have made, be them for the better or not. I also think it is important to try and learn from events in history and see how we can tackle similar things today.

Helen Bartlett, Senior Archivist & Customer Services Manager

  1. Which historical event would you have liked to play a part in, and why?
    • I would have liked to have taken part in a Chartist rebellion campaigning for the very basic right to vote. However, I would have tried to discourage my fellow Chartists from burning down the last remaining part of Nottingham’s medieval castle in 1831.  I’ve always felt quite annoyed that Nottingham’s current castle is a Victorian folly and instead we have to rely so heavily on Robin Hood to attract tourists to my home city!
  2. Which figure in history would you like to be for 24 hours, and why?
    • Queen Elizabeth I for her strength, power and influence, her dress and jewels but definitely not her bad teeth or chalky skin tones
  3. Is there one invention from the past that you wish you’d created?
    • Sash windows…it never fails to surprise and fascinate me that the whole mechanism relies on weights tied to rope hidden in the frames…so simple yet so effective, genius
  4. If you could write a letter to any historical figure, what would you write and who would you write to?
    • I would write to D H Lawrence and ask him if he really did, at one time, own and sign my Mum’s battered copy of ‘The Three Musketeers’.  It is signed ‘Bert Lawrence’ – the H stands for Herbert and this is what his family and friends called him. Mum went to school in Eastwood, his home town, so it is plausible but it would be good to settle this Bartlett family mystery!
  5. What is the oldest thing you have in your home, and what appeals to you about it?
    • A letter, written to my grandfather, then aged nine, by his Uncle who was serving on the Western Front in 1916. He died, 3 months later whilst pulling someone out of No Mans Land who also sadly died…a total waste of life. He was recommended for a bravery award by his Regiment’s Commander but at this stage in the War, medals weren’t given posthumously for his lowly rank.  However, as his service record has survived at the TNA, we do at least know how highly he was regarded by those around him and I’m very proud of him.

Gloucestershire Archives accessions, April-June 2022

It is time for our second quarterly blog looking at accessions we have recently received at Gloucestershire Archives. These can be from any place, person or organisation in Gloucestershire and South Gloucestershire.

This quarter we have added 94 new accessions onto our online catalogue. This includes material relating to both Gloucestershire County Council and South Gloucestershire Councils response to Covid-19, hundreds of Magistrate Court registers, material from the former Chair of Stroud Local History Society Philip Walmsley and much more! 

Find a full list of accessions for this quarter in the downloadable PDF below.

Some items within these collections may be closed in accordance with the Data Protection Act and/or if they contain sensitive information. However you can find details of all the accessions, and further information if they have been catalogued, by visiting our website Online Catalogue – Gloucestershire Archives.

15 months at Gloucestershire Archives: Bridging the Digital Gap

My name is Natasha Young and I have recently completed the National Archives digital skills training program: Bridging the Digital Gap. This program was a 15 month hands-on placement at the Gloucestershire Archives, where I have had access to amazing people, and learned not only the skills of traditional archiving, but the challenges and needs of digital archiving.

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The #ArchivePeople of Gloucestershire Heritage Hub

For day 26 of #Archive30 we are getting to know some of the amazing #ArchivePeople at Gloucestershire Heritage Hub. Learn more about some of our staff and volunteers below!

John Putley, Community Heritage Officer

Photograph of rolled parchment document
D4431/2/56/1 Castle accounts roll

Explain what you do in 10 words or less? Work with the public and do outreach

What is the best thing about working at Gloucestershire Heritage Hub? The collections: we have stuff on more or less everything & you learn something new every day!

Do you have a favourite item or collection from Gloucestershire Archives? Item: the Gloucester Castle accounts roll from the second Barons War 1264-5 (D4431/2/56/1) Collection: Gloucester Railway Carriage & Wagon Works (especially the photograph albums)

Favourite tearoom snack? Sainsbury’s jam doughnuts but homemade cakes & cookies come a close second!

Sue Webb, Gloucestershire Constabulary Archives

Photograph of a bundle of Birch Twigs
Birch rod

Explain what you do in 10 words or less? Rummage around in police personnel files, documents and photographs

What is the best thing about working at Gloucestershire Heritage Hub? The expertise of people around you

Do you have a favourite item or collection from Gloucestershire Archives? The birch in the Chester Master Room

Favourite tearoom snack? Chocolate hobnobs

Ally McConnell, Senior Archivist

drawing of a man looking through a telescope
Close up of Stephen Jefferys (PC/905)

Explain what you do in 10 words or less? I catalogue, accession and package records at the Heritage Hub

What is the best thing about working at Gloucestershire Heritage Hub? The other lovely people! It’s a fun place to work

Do you have a favourite item or collection from Gloucestershire Archives? A map of Long Newnton (Wiltshire) drawn by Stephen Jefferys of Minchinhampton, aged 68, in 1748. He’s drawn himself surveying the area on the map and signed it, I see it as a very early selfie! (PC/905)

Favourite tearoom snack? Sue Webb’s ginger cakes

Laura, Graduate Trainee Archivist

Photograph of a deed with a large attached seal featuring portrait of Queen Elizabeth I
Deed with attached Queen Elizabeth I seal

Explain what you do in 10 words or less? Looks at cool stuff to organise and write descriptions of

What is the best thing about working at Gloucestershire Heritage Hub? Sharing our stories and findings with people

Do you have a favourite item or collection from Gloucestershire Archives? Elizabeth I seal – it’s so big and feels very important holding it!

Favourite tearoom snack? Homemade chocolate brownies that appear in a tin every so often…

Helen B, Senior Archivist and Customer Services Manager

Photograph of large map featuring a colourful crest and drawing of boats
D1655 Map of Thornbury

Explain what you do in 10 words or less? Oversee Customer Services, answer queries, accept deposits, plan new ventures.

What is the best thing about working at Gloucestershire Heritage Hub? The documents which are unique, interesting and normally quite well-behaved.

Do you have a favourite item or collection from Gloucestershire Archives? Map of Thornbury with pen and ink drawings of ships sailing down the River Severn, 1716 (D1655)

Favourite tearoom snack? Banana

Kate O’Keefe, Archives Assistant

photograph of small bundle handwritten recipes with a open page next to it
D1245/F64 bundle of recipes

Explain what you do in 10 words or less? Meeter and greeter, document orderer and search room guide

What is the best thing about working at Gloucestershire Heritage Hub? Without a doubt my wonderful colleagues

Do you have a favourite item or collection from Gloucestershire Archives? There are some tiny weeny little recipes in the Dodington Park collections which I absolutely love (D1245/F64)

Favourite tearoom snack? Tricky. We have a lot of talented bakers in the team and often have wonderful home-made cakes

Sal, Cheltenham Local History Society volunteer

Photograph of two bundle of letters
Two bundles from D2202

Explain what you do in 10 words or less? We [CLHS] catalogue deposits that have not yet been catalogued in detail.

What is the best thing about volunteering at Gloucestershire Heritage Hub? Meeting a wider circle of friends, socially and engagement in a worthwhile activity.

Do you have a favourite item or collection from Gloucestershire Archives? Mostly enjoy the deposit we are working on at the time.

Favourite breaktime snack? The cakes I make for the CLHS gang and the ‘extras’ from the GFHS!!

Brenda, Archives Team Administrator

Photograph of a seal featuring King Edward VI
Edward VI seal

Explain what you do in 10 words or less? Finance, Customer Service, Room Bookings general all-rounder!

What is the best thing about working at Gloucestershire Heritage Hub? The team of course!

Do you have a favourite item or collection from Gloucestershire Archives? The Seals – (who would have had the opportunity to see them when they were first made/used ?– only a privileged few and now I have looked upon something that a Royal would have seen)

Favourite tearoom snack? anything that appears!  It is great to celebrate the team’s birthdays and holidays

Kate Maisey, Archives Development Manager

Drawing of seven girls in school uniform singing, with a banner above with the words "Alleluia Alleluia"
Page from D9374/1

Explain what you do in 10 words or less? I look for ways to connect people with archives

What is the best thing about working at Gloucestershire Heritage Hub? My brilliant colleagues and the wider Heritage Hub community

Do you have a favourite item or collection from Gloucestershire Archives? A beautiful, manuscript history of Denmark Road girls school, Gloucester written and illustrated by teacher Miss Emily Middleton in 1958 (D9374/1)

Favourite tearoom snack? Fruit cake especially home made

Rhianna Watson, Community Cataloguing Archivist

open folder with three pages full of button samples in a wide range of colours
Buttons from D4251

Explain what you do in 10 words or less? Support and work with volunteers and catalogue cool archival stuff!

What is the best thing about working at Gloucestershire Heritage Hub? As cheesy as it sounds, the amazing people I work with!

Do you have a favourite item or collection from Gloucestershire Archives? That’s a hard question! I do quite like the random assortments of buttons that can be found in the Erinoid Ltd (earlier Syrolit Ltd) of Rodborough collection (D4251). They are just so colourful and pretty!

Favourite tearoom snack? Brownies or any kind of cake someone is kind enough to bring in!

What working for Gloucestershire Archives Has Taught Me, by Sally Middleton

On the eve of my retirement, it’s a chance to look back at the last (almost) 6 years, and see what I’ve learned.

I was new to heritage, when I arrived, and new to archives. I’d always worked with communities, or individuals, but around social justice or in a therapeutic context. I hadn’t seen, or understood, quite what an impact heritage can have on people and communities.

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Natasha Young – our Bridging the Digital Gap Trainee, in her own words

Natasha with Sid

My name is Natasha Young and I am a Digital Archive Trainee taking part in the 2021 cohort of Bridging the Digital Gap trainees. The traineeship is run by The National Archives and I have been seconded to Gloucestershire Archives to get hands-on archiving experience. I have had the privilege of learning traditional archiving skills from professional archivists and digital preservation experts in an active archive setting. As well as learning whilst working, The National Archives have also set up an online training program that teaches us how to be archivists and how to approach the various considerations for digital archiving and preservation.

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Cotswold Roundabout goes Digital, by Natasha Young

I was appointed as a Gloucestershire Archives trainee in January 2021 under the National Archives “Bridging the Digital Gap” scheme.  My post has an emphasis on digital and technical skills and one of my tasks has focussed on the Cotswold Roundabout collection (D6112).  This wonderful sound archive consists of programmes compiled and edited by the Cotswold Tape Recording Society from around 1960 to 1976.  Originally called Hospital Roundabout, the programmes were designed to provide comfort and entertainment to hospital patients. The scope then widened to reach the elderly, the blind and the disabled, through clubs, homes and societies. .Despite being an amateur endeavour, the recordings were made in a professional manner and the quality of the audio is high.  The content is extremely varied, showcasing the talents of local people and “characters”, from singing and stand up comedy to telling spooky tales.  It also includes people’s reminiscences and unvarnished interviews about local trends. 

Original Cotswold Roundabout reel-to-reel tapes
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