Sub-zero storage solution for snaps

As Collections Care Conservator at Gloucestershire Archives, I recently attended a training course on the Conservation of Photographs. It was taught by Susie Clark, one of the UK’s leading experts in this field, who stressed that certain types of photographs and photographic negatives benefit from being stored at freezing temperatures, as this slows down the rate of deterioration.

So we decided it would be good to provide this enhanced level of care for some of the Archives’ valuable yet vulnerable photographic collections. And, knowing walk-in freezer rooms are expensive to create and maintain, we decided to opt for a more cost-effective and practical solution – two free-standing commercial freezers, one small and one large, sourced from a Gloucester firm.  These arrived on Thursday 23 February.

Our new freezers feature strong adjustable metal shelves, an auto defrost function, a digital temperature display so we can monitor the temperature inside each freezer, big castor feet so they can be moved around, and lockable doors.

As well as being an effective means of preservation, freezing is also a proven and chemical-free way of killing off insect pests like wool moths and “bookworms” (the larvae of various species of wood boring beetles). There’s always the possibility of us needing to do this as some of the unique material that comes our way can be infested with pests, as you can see from the image below. Thankfully, we now we have a better way of dealing with them!

pest damaged book board 1

This photo shows the cover of a book that was recently given to Gloucestershire Archives. Because it had been stored previously in a damp environment, it was severely damaged by mould and by the larvae of one species of wood-boring insect, possibly the common furniture beetle.

 

 

 

Kingsholm School’s 90th anniversary

We’re celebrating an important anniversary this week.  Our current building, originally designed as the Kingsholm Council Schools, was formally opened by the mayor of Gloucester 90 years ago, on 11 October 1926.

The red-brick, single storey building is a significant feature of the local landscape in Kingsholm.  And the original layout is still recognisable despite many changes over the years so it brings back memories of old friends and shared experiences when former pupils visit the Archives.

Photo of front of Gloucestershire Archives building.

Image of the present-day front of the building.

As well as these very personal memories we’re lucky to have a variety of written material with details of the original building work and then the school’s working life.  It was the first school built by the City Council after World War 1 and its completion represented a triumph over what the mayor described as ‘extraordinary difficulties’.  These included the sudden death of the architect and shortages of both manpower and materials in the economic depression following the end of the war.  The first pupils appreciated its innovative, modern design and state-of-the-art facilities including central heating and hot water on tap.  Amenities we take for granted today but which few of the pupils would have enjoyed at home in the 1920s.

Photo of crowds attending the opening ceremony

Image of the opening ceremony on the front steps from the Cheltenham Chronicle and Gloucestershire Graphic, 16 October 1926

After the school closed in 1973, Gloucestershire County Council bought the site and adapted the building to house the County Record Office.  The move across Gloucester from Shire Hall took place in 1979 and we’ve been here ever since!

We want to celebrate our building’s 90th anniversary so we’re holding a free ‘drop-in’ event in Roots Community Café in Alvin Street on Tuesday 22 November between 10:30am and 3:00pm.  There’ll be a small display about the history of the school and also the county’s archives service which is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year.  So it is a double celebration for us.  If you (or a member of your family) were a pupil at the school or attended social events there, we’d love to hear your memories so please contact us.

150 years of Engineering Excellence

The celebrated Gloucester engineering firm of Fielding & Platt (F&P) was based, until the early years of this Century, at the site of what is now the Quays retail unit. Eagle eyed visitors to the Quays can spot information panels giving background information about the Company in a number of locations. In its day F&P had a world-wide reputation and was involved in the building and developing of machines and equipment that have touched our everyday lives – everything from Concorde to the first vacuum cleaner! Continue reading

A voyage from the Port of Hull to South Australia, by Catherine Vaughton

Gloucestershire Archives has been granted funding by the Federation of Family History Societies to catalogue the papers of Yearly & Wadeson Solicitors of Mitcheldean. In the collection is the journal of George Eaton Stanger, a surgeon and chaplain employed by the South Australian Companies, which was set up to assist merchants colonising South Australia.  Stanger served aboard the Sarah & Elizabeth, a ship sailing from Hull to South Australia under Captain Wakeling.

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More Gloucestershire Archives resources available on Ancestry

As part of our ongoing partnership with Ancestry, images of additional resources have been added to the Gloucestershire’s section of the Ancestry web site:

  • Records of prisoners in the county gaol and houses of correction 1728-1914
  • Land tax assessments 1713-1833
  • Electoral registers 1832-1974

To mark this launch on 16 June 2016, Liz Jack, author of the book A Rogue’s Gallery: Victorian Prisoners in Gloucester Gaol, has kindly provided this article about the youngest and oldest prisoners to be photographed in Gloucester gaol in the Victorian period:

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The “Boxes of Delight” project reveals the amazing but true tale of the Bown family, by Lauren Perrett

“Boxes of Delights” was an 18 month project funded by the National Cataloguing Grants Scheme. It focussed on the archives of two long established firms of Cirencester solicitors (now merged as Sewell Mullings Logie LLP).  Our online catalogue now holds detailed descriptions of both firms’ archives:  Sewell, Rawlings & Logie collection  D181 and Mullings Ellett & Co collection: D1388. Their clients came from far afield, not just Cirencester, so the documents reflect this spread with many deeds and estate papers relating to the South Cotswolds area.  A team of volunteers contributed over 1,000 hours support to the project, and here Lauren, one of the team, reveals the results of some of her work:

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Election day in Cheltenham 1841, by Catherine Vaughton

The ‘List of Electors’ booklet mentioned below was discovered by members of Cheltenham Local History Society as part of their project to catalogue the archive of Ticehurst and Wyatt, solicitors of Cheltenham, for Gloucestershire Archives. The cataloguing is also helpful to the compilers of the Victoria County History of Gloucestershire Cheltenham volume, who are making good use of the work.

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