On FridaySeptember 9thwhy not attend part or all of our History Festival/Voices Gloucester event, Innovations in Gloucester, in the Dunrossil Centre at Gloucestershire Heritage Hub?
It’s all free, although donations to Voices Gloucester are welcomed. Bring a picnic to enjoy in the Hub’s community garden. The building is fully accessible. There is some on-site parking (£3) – we’re also close to NCP car parks. For further details and to book a place see https://voicesgloucester.org.uk/events/innovations-in-gloucester/.
Kate O’Keefe, Community Heritage Officer at Gloucestershire Archives, explores the UK’s changing eating habits and growth of new cuisines.
I can still remember my mum’s first attempt at a chilli con carne – I must have been about 11 or 12 years old, so this would be in the early 1970s. Chilli powder was definitely new in our household and mum measured it in tablespoons instead of teaspoons – so we couldn’t actually eat the results. It put us all off for years.
In May 1942, six months before Churchill made his famous “This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.” speech at the Lord Mayor’s luncheon at Mansion House, officials in Gloucestershire County Council’s planning department were already thinking about post-WW2 reconstruction.
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.
The census can be a great tool for tracking your family history through the years. Our January Passport to the Past event focused on what the census could tell us about one women. The full event is available on our YouTube channel here!
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.
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!
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.
When, on Sunday 3rd September 1939, the public were informed that Britain was again at war with Germany, few people were surprised. Initially life remained oddly ordinary, but although as time passed there were air raids and other characteristics of the war, nothing particularly terrible or terrifying took place on a large scale. Gloucestershire was never in the front line in either the 1940 invasion scare (though if the Germans had invaded, the Severn Estuary was the goal of a second assault) or the 1944 D-Day preparations, but the sense of involvement in the conflict thanks to the Blackout, the media and rationing, made the Home Front very real for most people.
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.
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.