Nearly a year ago, I wrote a blog post detailing a large importing project I had begun to undertake. (Sadly?) As I publish this it is my final day Gloucestershire Archives. I will be jumping across the country to West Sussex, and so I thought it would be worthwhile to write about all the hard work our volunteers have contributed to our catalogue. Many of these collections have now been listed to piece level, providing greater detail with names, occupations, dates and other information that will undoubtedly come in handy for family and house historians. To list them first crudely, these collections have now had additional information added to their series and items:
A page from DA26/226/1 – Record of Arrivals by Dursley Rural District Council during World War One, now listed at piece level entry on our Online Catalogue
When was the last time you smacked your funny bone? That’s an unfair question really, as I can’t remember when I last did it. Maybe you did it last week though. Or yesterday. There might even be someone reading these words right now and they are just about to reach out for a cup of tea and – wallop – the sharp edge of a table or chair goes right into their elbow joint.
I could write anything now, as they won’t be reading this at all. They will be grabbing their elbow instead, which will be fizzing with pain. The pain will slowly grow and steadily move up their forearm and into their fingertips. It will feel as though their entire arm has been attacked by twenty crazed cheese graters. Their face will be screwed up in agony and they will be attempting to recite all of the known swear words in the English language. Plus a few unknown ones too, for good effect.
There is one thing that is certain though: funny bones are anything but funny. Funny bones don’t tell hilarious anecdotes. Funny bones don’t play the make-yourself-dizzy game and then fall headfirst into a hedge. That is funny. So why are they called funny bones? Surely they should be called agony bones or arrrggghhh bones.
In my post yesterday I promised you two treasures from the Hicks Beach family archive. Ellice’s Victorian Christmas cards were the first, but for the second I want to take you nearly a century further back in time to the 1820s, where we meet Ellice’s great-aunt Jane Martha Hicks Beach and her book of riddles.
Jane Martha was the youngest sister of Ellice’s grandfather William, and after William’s wife (also called Jane) died, she helped him bring up his children. Jane was the family’s maiden aunt until she was 47 when she married a man called Edward St John, and she was known as “Aunt Jane” to at least two generations of the family. Ellice will have known her, as she didn’t die until he was seven years old.
Jane was a talented artist and was interested in botany and photography; the collection also includes some of her sketchbooks and photographs. She also seems to have had a fairly keen sense of humour, as the riddles in her book will show you. Many of them don’t make sense to modern eyes, some of them rely on early 19th century cultural knowledge, and some of them are a bit of a stretch, to say the least, but some of them still make sense (and are groan-inducingly funny) today. We have been posting some of them on our social media this last week, with their answers, but to entertain you over Christmas week, I thought I’d put together a few without their answers for you to puzzle over. Answers will follow in the New Year! Continue reading →
One of my favourite collections of all those I’ve catalogued over the years is the archive of the Hicks Beach family of Williamstrip in Coln St Aldwyn, Netheravon in Wiltshire, and Oakley in Hampshire. It is full of all sorts … Continue reading →
As part of our work on the County Council’s archive, my colleague Helen and I have spent the last couple of years cataloguing social care and education records relating to the safeguarding of children. We are delighted to report that our work has been featured in the National Archives’ latest annual review – here is what it says: Continue reading →
Personally, coach journeys are never something I look forward to. If there is any form of alternative transport available instead of a coach, I will always opt for that. Trains, planes, cars, tractors, ferries, speedboats, horseback, rickshaws, go-karts, arthritic camels and carrier pigeons are all preferable to coach travel, even though human-lifting carrier pigeons haven’t yet been invented.
I think my coach travel aversion was formed during school field trips away, where I’d spend the whole excruciatingly long journey doing my very best to make sure I wasn’t ill. Even now, the smell of coaches instantly brings back the intense and uncomfortable feelings of nausea that I felt back then, which sadly starts the whole process off again.
However, here’s the thing: when I travel on buses, I feel absolutely fine. The impending feeling of doom just doesn’t materialise. And yet, it’s essentially the same vehicle. I have never been able to work that out, and therefore find a cure, much to the disappointment of National Express executives everywhere. Continue reading →
There’s been lots of respectful remembrance activity across Gloucestershire over the last week, and it’s not quite finished yet. If you’re attending Cheltenham races on Sunday (18th), please make time to pop into the Centaur for a day long programme of activities and displays called Gloucestershire and Racing Remembers. Gloucestershire Archives will have a presence, in partnership with Cheltenham Local History Society.
An image appearing in the Cheltenham Chronicle and Gloucester Graphic for Saturday 16 March 1918. When the racecourse should have been celebrating the annual National Hunt festival, it was instead being used as a VAD Hospital.