Uncovering Queer Stories at Gloucestershire Archives

Last year we hosted two workshops with artist Tom Marshman looking at uncovering queer stories within our collections. For LGBTQ+ history month I want to share two of these stories with you.

It can sometimes be difficult to uncover the stories of LGBTQ+ people throughout history, due to the stigma and laws prosecuting people who identified under the LGBTQ+ umbrella. We started our search by looking though Gloucestershire newspapers, and this is how we found both Chummy and Charley Wilson.

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Moving to pastures…old, by Ally McConnell

I started organising the blog rota back in April this year, keen to re-introduce some form of consistency for the blogs that would re-invigorate the blog site and also encourage as many staff as possible to contribute to what is a key way of letting people know the sorts of things we get up to as the Gloucestershire Heritage Hub. As part of this, whenever someone left I asked them to do a “round-up” blog detailing the sort of work they’d been doing. We heard from Sally Middleton on her retirement, and we heard more recently from Laura Cassidy, our graduate trainee, as she went off to do her postgraduate course to be an archivist. I knew Sally was retiring when I set up the blog, so got her in quickly for a round-up. I knew when Laura was leaving her fixed term contract, so I pencilled her in for when she left in August. Little did I know that I’d be writing my own for November! Still, this is what has happened, so here goes – what have I done since September 2017?

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Is your family collection a monster? Are you scared of meeting your forebears face to face? By Ann Attwood, Collections Care Development Officer

‘Forebears’ it seems to me is the perfect word!! I have experienced first-hand the terror they can strike into your heart! I’ve helped look after archive collections for over 30 years now, but when it came to my own family collection, it was a whole new ball game  A daunting prospect!

The responsibility for preserving the evidence of past generations of my family for the benefit of current and future generations weighed on my shoulders more heavily than all of Gloucestershire’s Archives ever had! Suddenly it was personal!!

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Goodbye from a trainee

After nearly two years as a graduate trainee archivist, I’m flying the nest to complete my Master’s degree and be a fully-fledged archivist instead. I wanted share some thoughts about my preconceived notions about what exactly an archive is and what it does, and how I think now after working at Gloucestershire Archives.

Tools of the trade: Archival tape, scissors, pencil, labels, folder
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The British Way of Spice

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.

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Women’s History Month – Naomi Patterson

For our last post during women’s history month we’ve taken our information from the Barton and Tredworth community heritage site. This was set up during one of our community partnership projects, looking at the lives of local people. Read below for an insight into Naomi’s life and follow this link to listen to audio clips of her describing her experiences: https://www.bartonandtredworth.org.uk/content/living-barton-tredworth/blackhistorymonth/naomi-patterson

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Women’s history month – Fielding and Platt workers

In the second week celebrating women’s history month, we’d like to highlight some local women in the workforce.

One of our partner projects was all about Fielding & Platt, an engineering firm from Gloucestershire started in 1866. You can see all about the company and the lives of the people that worked there here: https://www.fieldingandplatthistory.org.uk/

Black and white photograph of the women working at Fielding & Platt, Second World War
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Penny for the Guy?

Do you still put a ‘Guy’ on your bonfire? Children displaying their homemade ‘Guys’ and asking ‘penny for the Guy?’ is thought of as an iconic British tradition.

Most people know that after King James I survived an attempt on his life by Guy Fawkes and his conspirators, bonfires were lit around London to celebrate. This continued across the country and gradually became part of tradition to commemorate the event.

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