Innovations in Gloucester

On Friday September 9th why not attend part or all of our History Festival/Voices Gloucester event, Innovations in Gloucester, in the Dunrossil Centre at Gloucestershire Heritage Hub?

It’s all free, although donations to Voices Gloucester are welcomed.  Bring a picnic to enjoy in the Hub’s community garden.  The building is fully accessible.  There is some on-site parking (£3) – we’re also close to NCP car parks.   For further details and to book a place see https://voicesgloucester.org.uk/events/innovations-in-gloucester/.     

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Dog dribble, Spaghetti Bolognese and a council minute book: pure beauty?

Isn’t it funny how some people find certain things attractive, yet to somebody else, the exact same thing doesn’t do anything for them. Beauty, as the saying goes, is in the eye of the beholder.

For example, some people would look at a growling, floppy-jowled, saliva-dripping bulldog flashing fangs as sharp as razorblades and would think it’s as cute as a new-born kitten.

But there are some people who would run away extremely fast because they believe they’ve just come across an evil beast from the deepest pit of doom.

I shall let you guess which category I fall into, but here’s a clue: I’m not a fan of dog dribble.

It’s the same with virtually anything – art, movies, sport, food. You name anything and someone will like it just as passionately as the next person dislikes it.

Spaghetti Bolognese for example. Some people’s eyes pop out of their heads with glee when they see it on a menu in a café or restaurant, whilst others cannot stand the awkwardly stringy, overly floppy, sauce-flinging laces of pasta that will just not stay on the blasted fork, spoon, chopsticks, fingers or whatever implement is chosen, without permanently staining everything within a half mile radius with the sauce of shame.

I shall let you guess which category I fall into, but here’s a clue: if you see a spag bol in front of me, it would be wise to give me half a mile of clearance.

There is one particular thing that I find rather good to look at that not many other people do though (although I’ve never really asked, so maybe people do?) and it’s this: a page of text.

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The #ArchivePeople of Gloucestershire Heritage Hub

For day 26 of #Archive30 we are getting to know some of the amazing #ArchivePeople at Gloucestershire Heritage Hub. Learn more about some of our staff and volunteers below!

John Putley, Community Heritage Officer

Photograph of rolled parchment document
D4431/2/56/1 Castle accounts roll

Explain what you do in 10 words or less? Work with the public and do outreach

What is the best thing about working at Gloucestershire Heritage Hub? The collections: we have stuff on more or less everything & you learn something new every day!

Do you have a favourite item or collection from Gloucestershire Archives? Item: the Gloucester Castle accounts roll from the second Barons War 1264-5 (D4431/2/56/1) Collection: Gloucester Railway Carriage & Wagon Works (especially the photograph albums)

Favourite tearoom snack? Sainsbury’s jam doughnuts but homemade cakes & cookies come a close second!

Sue Webb, Gloucestershire Constabulary Archives

Photograph of a bundle of Birch Twigs
Birch rod

Explain what you do in 10 words or less? Rummage around in police personnel files, documents and photographs

What is the best thing about working at Gloucestershire Heritage Hub? The expertise of people around you

Do you have a favourite item or collection from Gloucestershire Archives? The birch in the Chester Master Room

Favourite tearoom snack? Chocolate hobnobs

Ally McConnell, Senior Archivist

drawing of a man looking through a telescope
Close up of Stephen Jefferys (PC/905)

Explain what you do in 10 words or less? I catalogue, accession and package records at the Heritage Hub

What is the best thing about working at Gloucestershire Heritage Hub? The other lovely people! It’s a fun place to work

Do you have a favourite item or collection from Gloucestershire Archives? A map of Long Newnton (Wiltshire) drawn by Stephen Jefferys of Minchinhampton, aged 68, in 1748. He’s drawn himself surveying the area on the map and signed it, I see it as a very early selfie! (PC/905)

Favourite tearoom snack? Sue Webb’s ginger cakes

Laura, Graduate Trainee Archivist

Photograph of a deed with a large attached seal featuring portrait of Queen Elizabeth I
Deed with attached Queen Elizabeth I seal

Explain what you do in 10 words or less? Looks at cool stuff to organise and write descriptions of

What is the best thing about working at Gloucestershire Heritage Hub? Sharing our stories and findings with people

Do you have a favourite item or collection from Gloucestershire Archives? Elizabeth I seal – it’s so big and feels very important holding it!

Favourite tearoom snack? Homemade chocolate brownies that appear in a tin every so often…

Helen B, Senior Archivist and Customer Services Manager

Photograph of large map featuring a colourful crest and drawing of boats
D1655 Map of Thornbury

Explain what you do in 10 words or less? Oversee Customer Services, answer queries, accept deposits, plan new ventures.

What is the best thing about working at Gloucestershire Heritage Hub? The documents which are unique, interesting and normally quite well-behaved.

Do you have a favourite item or collection from Gloucestershire Archives? Map of Thornbury with pen and ink drawings of ships sailing down the River Severn, 1716 (D1655)

Favourite tearoom snack? Banana

Kate O’Keefe, Archives Assistant

photograph of small bundle handwritten recipes with a open page next to it
D1245/F64 bundle of recipes

Explain what you do in 10 words or less? Meeter and greeter, document orderer and search room guide

What is the best thing about working at Gloucestershire Heritage Hub? Without a doubt my wonderful colleagues

Do you have a favourite item or collection from Gloucestershire Archives? There are some tiny weeny little recipes in the Dodington Park collections which I absolutely love (D1245/F64)

Favourite tearoom snack? Tricky. We have a lot of talented bakers in the team and often have wonderful home-made cakes

Sal, Cheltenham Local History Society volunteer

Photograph of two bundle of letters
Two bundles from D2202

Explain what you do in 10 words or less? We [CLHS] catalogue deposits that have not yet been catalogued in detail.

What is the best thing about volunteering at Gloucestershire Heritage Hub? Meeting a wider circle of friends, socially and engagement in a worthwhile activity.

Do you have a favourite item or collection from Gloucestershire Archives? Mostly enjoy the deposit we are working on at the time.

Favourite breaktime snack? The cakes I make for the CLHS gang and the ‘extras’ from the GFHS!!

Brenda, Archives Team Administrator

Photograph of a seal featuring King Edward VI
Edward VI seal

Explain what you do in 10 words or less? Finance, Customer Service, Room Bookings general all-rounder!

What is the best thing about working at Gloucestershire Heritage Hub? The team of course!

Do you have a favourite item or collection from Gloucestershire Archives? The Seals – (who would have had the opportunity to see them when they were first made/used ?– only a privileged few and now I have looked upon something that a Royal would have seen)

Favourite tearoom snack? anything that appears!  It is great to celebrate the team’s birthdays and holidays

Kate Maisey, Archives Development Manager

Drawing of seven girls in school uniform singing, with a banner above with the words "Alleluia Alleluia"
Page from D9374/1

Explain what you do in 10 words or less? I look for ways to connect people with archives

What is the best thing about working at Gloucestershire Heritage Hub? My brilliant colleagues and the wider Heritage Hub community

Do you have a favourite item or collection from Gloucestershire Archives? A beautiful, manuscript history of Denmark Road girls school, Gloucester written and illustrated by teacher Miss Emily Middleton in 1958 (D9374/1)

Favourite tearoom snack? Fruit cake especially home made

Rhianna Watson, Community Cataloguing Archivist

open folder with three pages full of button samples in a wide range of colours
Buttons from D4251

Explain what you do in 10 words or less? Support and work with volunteers and catalogue cool archival stuff!

What is the best thing about working at Gloucestershire Heritage Hub? As cheesy as it sounds, the amazing people I work with!

Do you have a favourite item or collection from Gloucestershire Archives? That’s a hard question! I do quite like the random assortments of buttons that can be found in the Erinoid Ltd (earlier Syrolit Ltd) of Rodborough collection (D4251). They are just so colourful and pretty!

Favourite tearoom snack? Brownies or any kind of cake someone is kind enough to bring in!

#Archive30: Travels throughout Gloucestershire by bus, train or walking boots!

This small notebook might not look like much on the outside, but it is perfect for #ArchiveDestination! This travel diary records the writers “impressions of events, mostly of places I have been to, & things that have happened there” as he travels via bus and train and enjoys walks around the area. Including a trip to Stroud Valley on 17 April 1954!

The entries about his different travels are really interesting to read and he touches on many places in the South West of England, including places such as Berkeley, Cirencester and Harefield in Gloucestershire, as well as many places in Somerset and Bristol.

The diary includes many personal snippets of the authors opinions on both where he is visiting and how he is getting there.

“We went on a Saturday at 1.50 on the 29 bus. It was, in a way a pity to go by bus, as it wasn’t half so pleasant (or so quick) as the train – but still, it was an experience.”

That being said one of my favourite parts is where you can see he has accidently skip two pages, so has crossed them out and annotated the page with “Damn!” I think this along with other comments throughout the dairy really showcase the man behind the travels and so his sense of humour!

two pages with the diary that have been crossed through and "damn!" written at the bottom of the right hand page
Unused pages in the travel diary

(Gloucestershire Archives Ref number: D15927/1)

Gloucester’s Bishops Court records unlocked, Or All human life is there…, by Judy Kimber

On the 5th December 1628 George Beard made his way to Gloucester from his home in Whaddon. A dispute had arisen concerning the will of his friend John Copp and he was going to give his testimony at the Bishop’s Court. There he was asked how old he was and he told them that he was 90.  Yes, 90! Just think about that for a minute. He had lived through the reigns of six monarchs from Henry VIII to Charles 1. He was alive when the Spanish Armada threatened England. He was in his sixties when Guy Fawkes and his gang had tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament. And now he was mentally and physically fit enough to give evidence in court. So much for the notion that no-one lived past sixty in “olden times”.

An example of a Bishop’s Court case book (GDR/168)
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The Story of one woman, throughout the census

The census can be a great tool for tracking your family history through the years. Our January Passport to the Past event focused on what the census could tell us about one women. The full event is available on our YouTube channel here!

Living in Chadstone Lodge in Northampton Mary Robinson first appears on the 1871 census at age 3, along with her parents Mary Elizabeth and James White Robinson and two younger sisters Margaret and Edith Maria.

Copy from the 1871 census including Mary and her parents
Mary listed in the 1871 census

From the 1881 census we can learn that Mary is now 13 and has four more younger siblings James, Ethel, Katherine and Louisa. The family have now moved to Waterfall Farm in Northampton. Mary is still living at the family farm in the 1891 census and is not listed as employed.

Copy from the 1881 census including Mary and her family
Mary listed in the 1881 census
Copy from the 1891 census including Mary and her family
Mary listed in the 1891 census

A lot changes in the 10 years between the 1891 and 1901 census for Mary. At age 34 she is now married to bank manager John Riddey and has three children Edith Mary, John and Cicely. She has also moved to London.

Copy from the 1901 census including Mary and her husband John and children
Mary listed in the 1901 census

1911 is a bit interesting as Mary is not found in the same household as her husband John who has now moved to Moreton-in-Marsh a Cotswold Village in Gloucestershire. Instead, Mary and her youngest child Cicely is found visiting Elizabeth Dunkley in Lincolnshire.

Copy from the 1911 census including John Ridley
John listed in the 1911 census
Copy from the 1911 census including Mary Ridley
Mary listed in the 1911 census

Before the release of the 1921 census in January 2022 this could have been where Mary’s story stopped for us but we are lucky to have two more document that call tell us more about Mary and her children.

Firstly the 1939 register, from this we can learn that Mary is now 72 and living with her daughter Cicely and Cicely’s husband Rev Reginald G Bennett at The Steps in Morton-in- Marsh. The register also shows that Cicely is in the Women’s Voluntary Service.

Copy from the 1939 register including Mary
Mary listed in the 1939 register

The Second document we have is a scrapbook compiled by Joyce M Deacon the grandaughter of Mary Riddey (nee Robinson). This scrapbook contains family photographs, of Mary and John Riddey as well as their children and grandchildren.

two black and white photographs, one of Mary and John Ridley and one of Mary, John and Cicely with a dog
Photographs from the scrapbook (D13668/2/1/1) including Mary and John Riddey and their daughter Cicely

The census is a great source of information for finding out about your family history. But it is great to have this scrapbook, so that we can be able to put a face to Mary and her family!

Gloucester City Council and the City War Memorial, by Jonathan Hoad

As Remembrance Day approaches, I thought I would share my findings in the Gloucester Borough Records (GBR/L6/23/B5018), on how the names of World War Two fallen on the Gloucester City War Memorial, in Gloucester Park, were collected by the Council using official sources and a public appeal.

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Natasha Young – our Bridging the Digital Gap Trainee, in her own words

Natasha with Sid

My name is Natasha Young and I am a Digital Archive Trainee taking part in the 2021 cohort of Bridging the Digital Gap trainees. The traineeship is run by The National Archives and I have been seconded to Gloucestershire Archives to get hands-on archiving experience. I have had the privilege of learning traditional archiving skills from professional archivists and digital preservation experts in an active archive setting. As well as learning whilst working, The National Archives have also set up an online training program that teaches us how to be archivists and how to approach the various considerations for digital archiving and preservation.

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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 archives@gloucestershire.gov.uk.

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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Controlling archival ferment: the West Country Breweries Collection at GA, by Mike Bevan

Gloucestershire Archives has been stock checking, listing, enhancing and structuring the collection ready to being fully catalogued into CALM, with the help of volunteer Amber Patrick, also a member of GSIA (Gloucestershire Society for Industrial Archaeology) and an expert in the Maltings Industry. Is she partial to an amber ale then? No, she doesn’t drink beer!

Gloucestershire Heritage Hub’s nearest pub, which has a West Country Brewery plaque on the exterior

The series of photographs taken of the staff at the brewery is an interesting feature which can be useful for family history reseachers, looking for relatives employed by the brewery. Another good set of photos are of b/w inn signs which again allow locals to identify with their specific landscape and memory; and connecting their local pub with an image of what the sign would have looked like in the past.

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