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.
The diaries of William Thomas Swift, schoolmaster & teacher, 1860-1915 are a remarkable series of documents with entries for every single day from 31 December 1859, when the diarist was eighteen years old, until 5 February 1915, just five days before his death at the age of 73. Early entries are brief, but as time goes on they become more and more comprehensive and none more so than the entries for the various Christmas holidays that he recorded. They reveal a Christmas that most of us would easily recognise today, despite the fact that they took place over a century ago.
Next week is the Three Choirs Festival in Gloucester. If you carry out a search of the phrase Three Choirs Festival on our online catalogue you get 579 hits, including programmes, musical scores and printed histories of the Festival and its key performers. The Festival was originally called the music meeting and was in existence by 1718. If you’re visiting it don’t forget that you can see any of the items listed on the catalogue here at the Heritage Hub, as long as you give us prior notice of the items you wish to see. You can either order documents directly through the catalogue, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Heritage Hub is making its own contribution to the Festival by hosting two talks, both of which are free to access without prior booking, and are specifically timed to avoid events on the Festival programme.
Our last post announced our History Festival events over the coming week, but there’s much more happening involving the Hub and its heritage partners over the rest of the Festival. At 14.30 on Friday 7th SeptemberDr John Chandler, a Trustee of the County History Trust, delivers his talk Before the Spa at the Heritage Hub, looking at Cheltenham‘s development from Anglo-Saxon times until the 18th Century. The event is fully booked though, so please don’t attend it if you don’t already have a ticket.
Gloucester’s first royal charter, from the time of Henry II (c.1155)
The Archives cares for a range of royal charters relating to Gloucester, and these will be on view at Blackfriars Scriptorium between 10.00 and 14.00 on Saturday 8th. You can also attend an illustrated talk about them in the Buttery at Blackfriars at 11.30 that day. Again the exhibition and talk are free, but pre-booking is required, quoting reference CV15. Continue reading →
Yes, Heritage time is firmly upon us again, beginning this Saturday (25th August) with Gloucester Retro Day. We’ll have a stall providing information about the Heritage Hub in Kings Walk, and we’ll be joined by members of the Fielding & Platt Heritage Group with a display about the Company, and by Gloucestershire Society for Industrial Archaeology with a Lister’s display. We’ll be there 10.00-16.00, so do come and say hello.
Retro Day 2017: Members of the Fielding & Platt Heritage Group meet some famous faces
The “It” is the Barton and Tredworth community heritage website, an outcome of the Hidden Lives project of 2011-12 in which the Archives was a partner. The site was created using a bespoke platform designed by Community Sites, who specialize in assisting local communities to create their own web sites. However the format wasn’t ideal for the wider range of devices that can now access web sites, so Community Sites have just converted it into a WordPress based site.