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.

Continue reading

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
Continue reading

Blogging a Building (23) – the end of an era, by Heather Forbes

On 7th December 2020 we signed the completion certificate for Gloucestershire Heritage Hub.  This signified the end of the snagging period following the handover of the completed building and site in August 2019.  It therefore seemed appropriate to bring to an end this series of Blogging a Building, started by Jill Shonk back in February 2017. You can read the whole series here by searching for Blogging a Building, and see a pictorial record of how the building project developed from January 2017 to December 2020. We accidently missed out number 18, ambitiously jumping from 17 to 19! 

Continue reading

One of our volunteers sent this lovely feedback….

I’m everyone’s volunteer. In normal times I would be dashing between Gloucester Cathedral, Berkeley Castle, Cheltenham College, Cobalt and of course Gloucestershire Archives. I like to use my brain to do something potentially useful, I like learning new things, meeting people with the same interests and chatting to fellow volunteers, friends I have made over the years. All that stopped with lockdown.

John Humphris’ probate inventory, 1690, mentioning the hogs (see below)
Continue reading

Cataloguing the Stanley Gardiner photographic collection: the volunteers’ story (by Camilla Boon and Roger Carnt).

Sitting in fourteen boxes in a refrigerated strong room at Gloucestershire Archives, Stanley Gardiner’s collection of over 5,500 old images of views, events and people in and around Stroud’s Five Valleys  was an obvious goldmine for anyone interested in local history. The problem was that the collection was uncatalogued. The wrong choice of box number might bring you traction engines, not images of Rodborough, and heaven help you if you were just hoping for something on Edwardian farming!

Continue reading

How to preserve your family or community archive: the Collection Care Covid-19 lockdown blogs:   Blog OH #1

Do you remember when….?

  • Short of conversation when phoning elderly relatives in lockdown?
  • Want to capture family stories for future generations?
  • Know someone who witnessed significant local events?

One activity that households self-isolating together could do together is to chat to each other about their memories.  Our memories are unique.  Even if a group of us have witnessed the same event, all of us will remember it in a different way.  Sharing memories across generations is a particularly powerful way of both inspiring younger people, and confirming to the elderly that their lives have value and are important.

Dr Ollie Taylor recording the memories of Brian Mince, photographer for Fielding & Platt, 1952-74

Continue reading

The Delectable Mountains

Had things been different, I would probably have spent part of this weekend preparing for my talk in the Hub about a Gloucestershire composer during World War Two. That composer was Ralph Vaughan Williams and, although I explained when asked to speak, that VW was in Surrey or London or Wiltshire for most of the war, but Vaughan Williams was after all a local man. As things have turned out my talk won’t happen and I am locked down in Yorkshire – Delius country, if we keep the musical analogy, or perhaps Black Dyke Mills. But I can still listen to Vaughan Williams on my headphones, and imagine the Cotswolds.

Vaughan Williams rehearsing his Opera the Pilgrim’s Progress in 1951

            That is not too difficult because, just as last year when I made my audience sit through a recording of Holst’s Egdon Heath and imagine Hardy’s Dorset, so my plan this time was to play you part of the fifth symphony by Vaughan Williams, the most important and enduring work that he completed during wartime, and tell you about its background.

Continue reading

New Book Stock – January 2020, by Sue Constance

There is a fascinating array of books on the New Book Stock shelves in the searchroom at the moment.  Most of them were published and added to stock during 2019.

This is just a small selection of items available for research at Gloucestershire Archives.Gloucestershire Archives is always grateful to receive items in printed or digital format to enhance stock.

Continue reading

The Memories Café at Gloucestershire Heritage Hub

By Kate O’Keefe

Sunday December 1st – our last Memories Café at The Hub for the year.

The Memories Café has been a regular feature in our programme on the first Sunday of every month since the spring. Sunday afternoons can be an empty point in the week for some older people, so we decided to fill that space with companionship, conversation and cake. The café offers free refreshments, live music and activities with a nostalgic flavour. It is open to everyone and we take pride in making sure that all our customers have a good time. Many of our staff and volunteers are Alzheimer’s Society ‘Dementia Friends’, so people living with dementia and their friends and families can be sure of a safe and welcoming experience. We are very lucky to have the support of committed volunteers who help to make sure our customers have a friendly, enjoyable time with us. Our ‘regulars’ tell us that the café adds a ray of sunshine to their day:

We love coming here. Mum really looks forward to it.’

You’re all so good at making people feel relaxed.’

Continue reading

#ShrubHub update

What a difference a few weeks makes! We can say that for two things at the Heritage Hub at the moment – the building and also the community garden!

Work began (in thought, anyway) on the garden last summer when we decided to see if we could make our current outdoor space into a wildlife-friendly, educational, safe haven for visitors, residents and of course the local wildlife – including provision for two beehives taking residence at one end of the garden. We approached the Cotswold Gardening School to see if their students would be able to create designs for the garden as part of their projects, and came up with some ideas on how to raise money for the garden and attract as many visitors as possible. By the end of last year we had eight designs to choose from: the one we chose was one that suited our brief best and since then we have been working closely with the designer to make the plan fit completely with what we had in mind.

Image of Cotswold Gardening School students measuring the garden Cotswold Gardening School students measuring the gardenImage of Cotswold Gardening School students presenting their designs to Heritage Hub staff Cotswold Gardening School students presenting their designs to Heritage Hub staff

We then started fundraising, using online crowdfunding and other sources to raise money for the garden. Young Gloucestershire’s Princes Trust team spent a couple of weeks with us in May.  They planted wildflower seeds and also renovated our picnic tables and some “heritage pillars” from a demolished outbuilding (we hope to use these as part of a volunteers’ shelter). And then about two months ago, everything started to take shape. The flower and herb borders for the formal area of the garden (nearest the new Dunrossil Centre) were marked out and then dug over the space of a few weeks by some tireless volunteers, both from within our own staff and local people who wanted to help – this all took place during our heatwave so was hot and tiring work. On 29th July, the plants were due to be delivered, ready for planting out in the newly dug borders the following day.

Image of One of four borders marked out to be dug out for plantsImage of Mark and Richard, two of our volunteers braving the heat to pull up the turf!

One of four borders marked out to be dug out for plants, and Mark and Richard, two of our volunteers braving the heat to pull up the turf! 

To cut a long story short, the plants actually arrived in the morning of the 30th July (apologies to anyone who was in the office with me on the 29th!) just as it started pouring with rain. However, our team of volunteers from the Cotswold Gardening School and the local area – and one member of staff – donned their raincoats and set to work planting out all the flowers, herbs and shrubs. Within a day, our formal area had been transformed from a large expanse of grass to a beautifully presented garden with a variety of wildlife-friendly, colourful and wonderfully scented plants.

Image of The volunteers at the end of planting day! The volunteers at the end of planting day!

The next step was to make sure all the plants could establish themselves and grow by watering them daily. Rotas were drawn up to make sure they were done every day (even if it rained!) and this will continue until the end of September. Again, this is being done with a mixture of staff (in their own time) and community volunteers. Luckily, the weather has been dreadful since they were planted so we haven’t needed to spend as much time watering as we would have done a month earlier.

Image of One of the borders, the day after planting. One of the borders, the day after planting.

 We then had a bit of a surprise on the weekend of the 10th/11th August, when our first colony of bees arrived in the garden rather sooner than intended. Unfortunately they were having some problems at the apiary they were being kept in (they were being bullied by another colony!), so rather than bring them home in October or March as intended, suddenly the Bee Team had to transport them quickly on the evening of 10th August. They are now in situ and at the time of writing seem to be doing well after a few days of getting used to their new home and their new foraging opportunities. 

Image of The temporary beehive, safely transported from a few miles away!Image of The first Gloucestershire Heritage Hub beehive with John and Ally, the Bee Team, who are very excited to have them on site!

The temporary beehive, safely transported from a few miles away, and the first Gloucestershire Heritage Hub beehive with John and Ally, the Bee Team, who are very excited to have them on site! 

So – what’s next for the garden?

There are still some plants to go in the current borders, some trees, and a “winter interest” border which will be the other end of the garden. We also hope to have a hoggin path that will lead from the formal garden towards the wild area.

Our Heritage Hub garden party will be held on the 8th September, 1.30-5.00.  Everyone is welcome so why not come along and see our progress and plans for the next stage! Many thanks to all those who given up their time to help with the digging, planting and watering: Diana and the Cotswold Gardening School, Mark, Richard, Jonathan, Angela, John, Jenny, Andrew, Kate O, Kate M, Ally and Heather.