Blogging a Building (2)

‘Now for the second entry in my trusty virtual diary…

This week we’ve been giving a bit more thought to the ‘fit out’ of the new Heritage Hub.  We’ve been approaching this from a couple of angles: fine tuning the specifications for all the rooms and sussing out some of the freestanding furniture we’re going to need.

Unbelievably, our refurbishment and construction plans involve fifty rooms!  Admittedly, ten are WCs but it’s still a lot of data to consider – 166 documents worth, to be precise.  Heather, our head of service has been studying this to ‘double check’ everything’s going to be exactly right for our needs.  The dossier includes plans, elevations, sections, engineering drawings and room lists, and it covers everything from the locations of hundreds of plug sockets to types of doors (24 different styles, who’d have thought it?).  It seemed like we were fitting out a hotel!

heather-forbes-checking-room-data-1-of-2-20170303

Heather Forbes poring over plans for the Heritage Hub

As for the stuff that’ll be going into the rooms, we’ve been thinking about the sort of furniture we’re going to need for people to access audio visual records or hold effective one to one conversations in busy parts of the Hub.  We wanted to get this right so we enlisted the help of two of the Archives’ volunteer buddies and asked them to sound out (excuse the pun!) the acoustic furniture at the University of Gloucestershire’s Business Hub and Bishops Cleeve Library.  This was a really useful things to do (good fun too) and we now know exactly what to buy.  Thank you, ladies!

heather-forbes-maureen-anderson-liz-jack-in-acoustic-meeting-pod-20170118

Heather Forbes, Maureen Anderson and Liz Jack in the acoustic meeting pod at the University of Gloucestershire

Heather with volunteer buddies, Maureen Anderson and Liz Jack at the University of Gloucestershire.

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Liz and Maureen testing the acoustic chairs in Bishops Cleeve Library

Liz (left) and Maureen (right) at Bishops Cleeve Library.  These chairs were a firm favourite!

We were also able to pick up some useful ideas on our travels, like the e-signing in arrangements at the UoG Business Hub.

Heather, Maureen and Liz signing in at the UoG Business Hub

We’re hoping to introduce something similar in the Hub and have submitted a funding application to see if we can make this a reality.

‘More next week….

Jill Shonk

Access & Learning Leader

Blogging a Building (1)

JS ID photo 2016

When she was very little, my eldest daughter used to say she was “making a baking” when we cooked together.  Nowadays she’s a fabulous baker who makes artisan cakes for a living.  But her funny little turn of phrase got me thinking – I could keep you posted about our own creation, the new Gloucestershire Heritage Hub, by “blogging a building”!  So here’s the first entry in my virtual diary…

Over the past week or so, we’ve discovered what it’s like to be working next to a building site.  Some of us, like me, are quite literally next to it!  Here’s the view from my office door:

view-from-office-door

To be honest, we’re finding it all quite exciting.  Sure, there’s been a bit of noise and the odd power outage that’s inevitable when deconstructing old buildings but there have been visible changes every day.  Take last Friday, for example: that was the day when the parquet flooring was lifted – it was scooped out of the building by a giant digger!

More recently, the builders turned their hands to one of the sheds at the rear of the site, as part of the preparations for building the new strong rooms.  As you can see, Heather got stuck in with her sledge hammer, under Paul’s supervision (kidding!).

‘Next instalment to follow shortly…

Jill Shonk

Access & Learning Leader

 

Building work started

Hurrah!  Works to create the Heritage Hub (new facilities and premises) at our Alvin Street premises in Gloucester are now underway, ably led by Paul Lander, the Site Manager employed by our builder, Lakehouse, to oversee things.

building-site-launch

Left to right: Heather Forbes, Head of Archives; Paul Lander, Site Manager; Cllr Ray Theodoulou, Gloucestershire County Council; John Herring, Dowty Archive Project; David Poole, Gloucestershire Family History Society (GFHS); Ann Attwood, Hannah Dale, Karen Davidson and Helen Bartlett, Gloucestershire Archives (GA); David Howells, GFHS; and Jill Shonk, GA.

Paul and his team have until the end of this year to complete the planned works, which will be done in two phases.  And, all being well, we should have the new Archives research room and Gloucestershire Family History Centre Facilities up and running by the summer.  Meanwhile, we’re doing our best to offer a service that’s pretty much ‘business as usual’ for everyone that wants to use the documents in our collections.  So we’re running a temporary research room in the Frith Centre, which is next to our main building – it’s a bit smaller than we’re used to but we can assure you of the same warm welcome!

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