Howlers from the archives – or, the Gloucestershire Archives Christmas Quiz!

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

Christmas and New Year cards from the archives

Gallery

This gallery contains 28 photos.

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

National recognition of some hard work behind the scenes…

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

A new transport hub, the old cattle market – but no arthritic camels.

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

A new collection of records received about Ivor Gurney, and coming soon to a racecourse near you….

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. When the racecourse should have been celebrating the annual National Hunt festival, it was instead being used as a VAD Hospital.

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.

Continue reading

South Gloucestershire arrivals

Earlier this year, we were pleased to receive a large deposit of over 500 minute books, documenting the business of South Gloucestershire Council, mainly for the period 2005-2009. This was the latest addition to our existing holdings for South Gloucestershire Council, and all predecessor authorities for this region, dating from the 1890s up to 2009.

Continue reading

Join us at upcoming Heritage events – Part 2

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 September Dr 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.

Image of Gloucester's first royal charter, from the time of Henry II (c.1155)

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