In the 1990s, a large business archive was offered to Gloucestershire Archives by the Dowty Group, an engineering firm based in Cheltenham but with subsidiary companies and factories not only throughout the UK but in South Africa, the USA, Canada and Australia among other far-spreading countries, employing thousands of people. Gloucestershire Archives took the collection, knowing it would require significant external funding to catalogue it. It was necessary to take the collection at the time because the Group had just been taken over and its assets were being sold off; the archive was therefore at risk of being dispersed or destroyed. More recently, the necessary external funding became available with the “For the Record” project, part of which paid for my job as the Community Cataloguing Archivist for two years to catalogue and open up the extensive archive. Continue reading
We blogged recently about the Barton and Tredworth website going live again after its designers, Community Sites, had converted it to a more accessible WordPress platform. The same process has been happening to another of our partnership sites, celebrating the Gloucester engineering company Fielding and Platt. Fielding and Platt was founded in 1866 on the site of what is now the Quays retail outlet, and two blue plaques on the site commemorate its previous use. This photograph from the 1950’s shows the rail entrance to the site from Southgate St (can you spot the poster for the Ealing comedy the Ladykillers?).
The celebrated Gloucester engineering firm of Fielding & Platt (F&P) was based, until the early years of this Century, at the site of what is now the Quays retail unit. Eagle eyed visitors to the Quays can spot information panels giving background information about the Company in a number of locations. In its day F&P had a world-wide reputation and was involved in the building and developing of machines and equipment that have touched our everyday lives – everything from Concorde to the first vacuum cleaner! Continue reading
“Boxes of Delights” was an 18 month project funded by the National Cataloguing Grants Scheme. It focussed on the archives of two long established firms of Cirencester solicitors (now merged as Sewell Mullings Logie LLP). Our online catalogue now holds detailed descriptions of both firms’ archives: Sewell, Rawlings & Logie collection D181 and Mullings Ellett & Co collection: D1388. Their clients came from far afield, not just Cirencester, so the documents reflect this spread with many deeds and estate papers relating to the South Cotswolds area. A team of volunteers contributed over 1,000 hours support to the project, and here Lauren, one of the team, reveals the results of some of her work:
Gathering, keeping and sharing Dowty’s heritage
Sitting in a strongroom at Gloucestershire Archives, preserved safely but otherwise inaccessible, is our single largest uncatalogued collection – the Dowty Group Archive. The Archive charts the story of an engineering firm from its origins in George Dowty’s 1930s Cheltenham workshop, through a worldwide expansion and up to the break-up of the Group in the 1990s. As such Dowty’s represents a big part of Gloucestershire’s industrial heritage. And as a major local employer it touched many lives. Continue reading
I’m Jane Heward, and I am the new Cirencester Project Archivist at Gloucestershire Archives. I have recently finished a 21-month project at Cambridgeshire Archives cataloguing the records of the Bedford Level Corporation (the organisation who drained the Fens between the 1630s and 1650s, and maintained many of the drainage works until the 1920s). Before that, I was an archives trainee at Glasgow University Archives in 2010-2011 and completed the UCL Archives and Records Management course in 2011-2012.
In November 2013, Gloucestershire Archives was successful in its bid to the National Cataloguing Grants Programme for funding to catalogue the records of Cirencester solicitors Messrs Sewell, Mullings and Logie, formed from the merger of the practices of Messrs Mullings, Ellett and Co and Messrs Sewell, Rawlins and Logie in 1991. The records are extensive – 632 boxes were included in the project brief, and a further two collections (D181 and D182) contain related material. At present, only 43% of the collection is “box-listed” (meaning that only a summary of the contents of each box is recorded), and just 18% is available through either the paper catalogues in the Searchroom or the online catalogue.
Who was Robert Welch and why Gloucestershire?
Robert Radford Welch (1929 -2000) was a silversmith, industrial and domestic designer who was born in Hereford and grew up in Malvern. After studying in Birmingham and London, he set up a studio and workshop at the Old Silk Mill, Chipping Campden in 1955. This building was formerly the workshops of C. R. Ashbee’s (1863-1942) Guild of Handicraft, from 1902, and still houses the workshop of one of the Guild silversmiths, George Hart. Continue reading