How to preserve your family or community archive: the Collection Care Covid-19 lockdown blogs. Blog CC #1

  • Time on your hands during the lockdown?
  • Want to make sure you preserve your precious family memories?
  • Want to preserve your community story?
  • Do you have a personal, organisational, local or subject related collection or archive?

It could be a small or large collection of letters, photographs, documents, computer (digital) files or other records that have meaning for you. Maybe you have been keeping them safe so that they can be shared and passed on to future generations. Your treasured documents provide a visceral link from the past to the future. They carry a thread of emotional connection down the generations and across the wider community. They can show who we are and how we live, relate, work and play. Continue reading

A field trip to another era.

Who remembers their school trips? I’m sure you can recall a few memorable ones, can’t you? I know I can.

Going ice skating at the rink in Swindon was one of them. That wasn’t particularly memorable in itself, as I was both rubbish at ice skating and very accomplished at falling over, so combining the two made me rather damp and helped change my skin colour to various shades of ‘bruise’.

But what I do remember is my classmate executing his falling over routine far more impressively than my efforts. He even decided to top the lot and end his performance with a show stopping ankle breaking routine. There was no way I was going to compete with that, as my ankles certainly didn’t want to extend the competition all the way to the local hospital’s operating theatre. So I let him win that one.

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New Book Stock – January 2020, by Sue Constance

There is a fascinating array of books on the New Book Stock shelves in the searchroom at the moment.  Most of them were published and added to stock during 2019.

This is just a small selection of items available for research at Gloucestershire Archives.Gloucestershire Archives is always grateful to receive items in printed or digital format to enhance stock.

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Dear Diary…

By John Putley

The diaries of William Thomas Swift, schoolmaster & teacher, 1860-1915 are a remarkable series of documents with entries for every single day from 31 December 1859, when the diarist was eighteen years old, until 5 February 1915, just five days before his death at the age of 73.  Early entries are brief, but as time goes on they become more and more comprehensive and none more so than the entries for the various Christmas holidays that he recorded.   They reveal a Christmas that most of us would easily recognise today, despite the fact that they took place over a century ago.

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The Memories Café at Gloucestershire Heritage Hub

By Kate O’Keefe

Sunday December 1st – our last Memories Café at The Hub for the year.

The Memories Café has been a regular feature in our programme on the first Sunday of every month since the spring. Sunday afternoons can be an empty point in the week for some older people, so we decided to fill that space with companionship, conversation and cake. The café offers free refreshments, live music and activities with a nostalgic flavour. It is open to everyone and we take pride in making sure that all our customers have a good time. Many of our staff and volunteers are Alzheimer’s Society ‘Dementia Friends’, so people living with dementia and their friends and families can be sure of a safe and welcoming experience. We are very lucky to have the support of committed volunteers who help to make sure our customers have a friendly, enjoyable time with us. Our ‘regulars’ tell us that the café adds a ray of sunshine to their day:

We love coming here. Mum really looks forward to it.’

You’re all so good at making people feel relaxed.’

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#ShrubHub update

What a difference a few weeks makes! We can say that for two things at the Heritage Hub at the moment – the building and also the community garden!

Work began (in thought, anyway) on the garden last summer when we decided to see if we could make our current outdoor space into a wildlife-friendly, educational, safe haven for visitors, residents and of course the local wildlife – including provision for two beehives taking residence at one end of the garden. We approached the Cotswold Gardening School to see if their students would be able to create designs for the garden as part of their projects, and came up with some ideas on how to raise money for the garden and attract as many visitors as possible. By the end of last year we had eight designs to choose from: the one we chose was one that suited our brief best and since then we have been working closely with the designer to make the plan fit completely with what we had in mind.

Image of Cotswold Gardening School students measuring the garden Cotswold Gardening School students measuring the gardenImage of Cotswold Gardening School students presenting their designs to Heritage Hub staff Cotswold Gardening School students presenting their designs to Heritage Hub staff

We then started fundraising, using online crowdfunding and other sources to raise money for the garden. Young Gloucestershire’s Princes Trust team spent a couple of weeks with us in May.  They planted wildflower seeds and also renovated our picnic tables and some “heritage pillars” from a demolished outbuilding (we hope to use these as part of a volunteers’ shelter). And then about two months ago, everything started to take shape. The flower and herb borders for the formal area of the garden (nearest the new Dunrossil Centre) were marked out and then dug over the space of a few weeks by some tireless volunteers, both from within our own staff and local people who wanted to help – this all took place during our heatwave so was hot and tiring work. On 29th July, the plants were due to be delivered, ready for planting out in the newly dug borders the following day.

Image of One of four borders marked out to be dug out for plantsImage of Mark and Richard, two of our volunteers braving the heat to pull up the turf!

One of four borders marked out to be dug out for plants, and Mark and Richard, two of our volunteers braving the heat to pull up the turf! 

To cut a long story short, the plants actually arrived in the morning of the 30th July (apologies to anyone who was in the office with me on the 29th!) just as it started pouring with rain. However, our team of volunteers from the Cotswold Gardening School and the local area – and one member of staff – donned their raincoats and set to work planting out all the flowers, herbs and shrubs. Within a day, our formal area had been transformed from a large expanse of grass to a beautifully presented garden with a variety of wildlife-friendly, colourful and wonderfully scented plants.

Image of The volunteers at the end of planting day! The volunteers at the end of planting day!

The next step was to make sure all the plants could establish themselves and grow by watering them daily. Rotas were drawn up to make sure they were done every day (even if it rained!) and this will continue until the end of September. Again, this is being done with a mixture of staff (in their own time) and community volunteers. Luckily, the weather has been dreadful since they were planted so we haven’t needed to spend as much time watering as we would have done a month earlier.

Image of One of the borders, the day after planting. One of the borders, the day after planting.

 We then had a bit of a surprise on the weekend of the 10th/11th August, when our first colony of bees arrived in the garden rather sooner than intended. Unfortunately they were having some problems at the apiary they were being kept in (they were being bullied by another colony!), so rather than bring them home in October or March as intended, suddenly the Bee Team had to transport them quickly on the evening of 10th August. They are now in situ and at the time of writing seem to be doing well after a few days of getting used to their new home and their new foraging opportunities. 

Image of The temporary beehive, safely transported from a few miles away!Image of The first Gloucestershire Heritage Hub beehive with John and Ally, the Bee Team, who are very excited to have them on site!

The temporary beehive, safely transported from a few miles away, and the first Gloucestershire Heritage Hub beehive with John and Ally, the Bee Team, who are very excited to have them on site! 

So – what’s next for the garden?

There are still some plants to go in the current borders, some trees, and a “winter interest” border which will be the other end of the garden. We also hope to have a hoggin path that will lead from the formal garden towards the wild area.

Our Heritage Hub garden party will be held on the 8th September, 1.30-5.00.  Everyone is welcome so why not come along and see our progress and plans for the next stage! Many thanks to all those who given up their time to help with the digging, planting and watering: Diana and the Cotswold Gardening School, Mark, Richard, Jonathan, Angela, John, Jenny, Andrew, Kate O, Kate M, Ally and Heather.

Its Festival time again!

Next week is the Three Choirs Festival in Gloucester.  If you carry out a search of the phrase Three Choirs Festival on our online catalogue you get 579 hits, including programmes, musical scores and printed histories of the Festival and its key performers.  The Festival was originally called the music meeting and was in existence by 1718.  If you’re visiting it don’t forget that you can see any of the items listed on the catalogue here at the Heritage Hub, as long as you give us prior notice of the items you wish to see.  You can either order documents directly through the catalogue, or by emailing

The Heritage Hub is making its own contribution to the Festival by hosting two talks, both of which are free to access without prior booking, and are specifically timed to avoid events on the Festival programme.

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