Gloucestershire Heritage Hub

January 2017 heralds new arrangements for safeguarding and sharing historic Gloucestershire’s archives – the emergence of Gloucestershire Heritage Hub, which we’re developing as part of our ‘For the Record‘ project: gloucestershire.gov.uk/archives/fortherecord

 So, what exactly is Gloucestershire Heritage Hub?  Well, it’s a growing network of people with a common interest in the documented history of Gloucestershire and South Gloucestershire.   During the course of this year the Hub’s founding members (key project stakeholders) will be setting up arrangements to connect such likeminded folks and help them to gather, keep and share the documented history of Gloucestershire and South Gloucestershire – records that already exist and those that will be created over time.   Amongst other things, we’re going to create a virtual Heritage Hub (website and social networking) and an onsite Heritage Hub (new facilities and services at our Alvin Street premises in Gloucester).

Illustration of new Heritage Hub

‘3D cutaway’ illustration of the new Heritage Hub (reproduced courtesy of Roberts Limbrick Architects)

So everyone will be able to get involved in ways that work best for them, either individually or as members of local interest groups, working at the onsite Hub or in homes and communities.  All very exciting!

If you’d like updates about the ‘For the Record’ project or are interested in joining our growing Heritage Hub community you can subscribe to the new Gloucestershire Heritage Hub e-newsletter.  You can find the first edition at http://glos-heritage-hub.tfemagazine.co.uk/heritage-hub-winter-2016

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.

Heritage Hub partners feature at Police Open Day

The Open Day at police headquarters is always a great opportunity to showcase Gloucestershire’s amazing police heritage.  This year’s event, on Saturday 17 September,  was the best one yet with over five and a half thousand visitors coming through the gates.

The Police Archive Group, Gloucestershire Archives and Gloucestershire Family History Society were all brought together in the “history zone”, with complementary displays and expertise.   Everyone was kept very busy with people finding out what will be on offer in the new Heritage Hub as well as seeing what’s available in the police archives. There were lots of enquiries about police ancestors and the team of police volunteers will be following up many of over the coming weeks.

register-of-rural-constabulary

We made sure to take along the register of rural Constabulary- a star item from the official police archives.  It’s packed with information about the earliest recruits to the new Force in 1839, and the neat copper plate handwriting is a source of wonder to children of the digital age.

girl-and-the-register

And there’s still interesting material at large in the community – we had promises of photographs and memories from ex officers and from people who had suitcases, belonging to ex members of the constabulary, in their attics. There were also some tentative enquiries from people not connected to the police who were interested in joining the archive group. It was also great to hear that many people were already aware of the police archive website that went live just a couple of weeks ago.

All in all, a very productive day.

Co-authored by Sue Webb, police archive officer, and Kate Maisey, Gloucestershire Archive development officer.

Police archive website – www.gloucestershirepolicearchives.org.uk

Lucky 13 for Gloucestershire history

Founded in 1899, the Victoria County History (so named because of its dedication to Queen Victoria) aspires to create a scholarly history of every parish in every County in England.  It is organised on a County basis and the first Gloucestershire volume was published in 1907.  There was then a gap in production until the 1960s, but volumes have since been produced on a regular basis.

Continue reading

Who’s been digging holes at Alvin Street?

This week we’ve had specialist site investigators on site,  making trial pits and bore holes around the main Archives building.  Thankfully, most of the work was outdoors.  But we couldn’t avoid the hole in the visitor coffee lounge – sorry!

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These geological investigations will tell us about the engineering and environmental characteristics of the areas we plan to develop or build on.  And our project architects will use this information to fine tune decisions about building design, including the sorts of foundations we’re going to need for the new strongrooms and Heritage Hub spaces, which is pretty exciting!

We appreciate it has been a bit noisy this week but the work is paving the way for project dreams to become a reality, so please bear with us.

We will be able to announce a start date soon – so watch this space!

In other news…

Gloucester History Festival 2016Don’t forget there are still lots of events going on in the city for Gloucester History Festival. Visit http://gloucesterhistoryfestival.co.uk/ or see our blog post from last week for more details.

Heritage Open Days (8-11 Sept)

The city is proud to take part in the national Heritage Open Days’ Scheme. The Open Days encourage people to discover the wonderful diversity of our local heritage and in Gloucester members of the public have the opportunity to go behind doors and gates that are normally closed to the public; some of the city’s real gems are hidden from the first-time visitor. The Open Days give people an opportunity to discover and explore the wonders of the city. Many volunteers lead guided tours of the city and buildings, often in traditional costume and make history come alive. Find out more at https://www.heritageopendays.org.uk/visiting and search for Gloucester.

 

Coming soon to an Archives near you

Did you know that the Archives’ site is used for purposes other than just caring for and making available the County’s historic documents? For instance, the Gloucester branch of Gloucestershire Family History Society holds their meetings here once a month, currently in the Frith Centre.  Anyone is welcome to attend, although a small charge is made for refreshments, and you can find a list of the upcoming events at http://gfhs.org.uk/events-2/action_agenda/cat_ids~29/. Continue reading