Gloucester’s High Cross, by Liz Jack

Image

Gloucester's High Cross, as shown in the 1455 Gloucester rental

Gloucester’s High Cross, as shown in the 1455 Gloucester rental

Every year, on New Year’s Eve, Gloucester residents gather at ‘The Cross’ to celebrate the coming of the New Year.  The vast majority of them believe that The Cross is so-named because it is where the four ‘Gate’ streets meet in the middle of the city.  Not so!  It is named after the original stone memorial cross that stood at the junction for hundreds of years.

Continue reading

Explore Your Archive: Scalding swine and casting bones

Today we’re used to different tiers of government.  Archives provide insight into times when rights and responsibilities for ordinary people weren’t always as straightforward.

The ‘Red Books’ of Gloucester Borough were created by the Mayor and burgesses and contain details of the various decisions, acts and ordnances made by the borough for governing the city.  They provide a great insight about the governance of the local population and how the daily life of the city was administered by a wealth of eclectic by-laws. Continue reading

The Quest for the City of Gloucester Rose

My quest began at a Gloucester Civic Trust meeting in April at which Jason Smith talked about ways of promoting the city. Our local history society publishes a regular newsletter which includes a section on Gloucester’s namesakes and, during the meeting, someone referred to the Gloucester rose. I thought that that this would be an easy topic to research for the next newsletter. How wrong I was! Continue reading

Bees, Bats and Birds at the Archives

As part of our ‘For the Record’ project we need to undertake an ecology survey to look for evidence of bats and birds.  We already know about the herring gulls and yellow legged gulls who frequent the site.  We are pretty sure that we don’t have any resident bats in the old sheds but need to make sure before buildings are demolished to make way for the new strongrooms.  Continue reading

Richard III and the City of Gloucester

All eyes will be on Leicester this month for the reburial of Richard III, whose skeleton was found underneath a car park there in 2012. But here in Gloucester we are marking the occasion as well, because before Richard became King, he was the Duke of Gloucester – and after he came to the throne, he granted Gloucester a charter which gave the city rights and privileges it retained right up until 1974. Continue reading

“Constitutionally incapable of refusing action”

The Scene: A heaving unsettled sea, and away over to the western horizon an angry yellow sun is setting clearly below a forbidding bank of the blackest of wind charged clouds.

Extract from Whispers From The Fleet by Rear-Admiral Sir Christopher Cradock, KCVO, CB. 1908

The above words almost describe the prelude to the Battle of Coronel, a naval battle fought between British and German forces on 1st November 1914 off the coast of Chile. This has a link to a previous blog – about HMS Gloucester and her involvement in the pursuit of the German warships Goeben and Breslau. Although these incidents may appear unrelated, they are not, for the first actually had a direct bearing on the latter.

Rear Admiral Sir Christopher 'Kit' Cradock

Rear Admiral Sir Christopher ‘Kit’ Cradock

Continue reading

Coming to Gloucester

October is Black History month and this year we are celebrating the stories of people from Gloucester’s Caribbean community – in particular, the reflections of a few folk who arrived from Jamaica in the late 1950s and early 1960s to live in Barton and Tredworth. They saw moving to the UK as an attractive option as they believed there were greater opportunities for financial advancement and they would enjoy quality housing. But there were drawbacks too – in this pre-Concorde period the BOAC flight from Jamaica took a long time. Continue reading

How did the advent of WW1 affect Gloucestershire’s iconic sports?

Britain’s decision to declare war against Germany in August 1914 would have an impact on every aspect of life in Gloucestershire, including its iconic sports.

In 1914 W G Grace was 64 years old and in July he played his last game of cricket, scoring 69 not out for Eltham.  A month later he sent a letter to the Sportsman suggesting that the county cricket season should be closed: “it is not fitting at a time like this that able-bodied men should be playing day after day, and pleasure-seekers look on…I should like to see all first-class cricketers of suitable age set a good example, and come to the aid of their country in its hour of need.” The letter was published on 27 August, and had its desired effect.  

Continue reading

A [Ship’s] door to Gloucester’s past and the start of a world war…

At Gloucestershire Archives we have millions of documents Image of door from HMS Gloucester, Gloucestershire Archives. Image courtesy of Gloucestershire Archivesconcerning our county’s heritage but one of our most curious possessions is not a document but a wooden door hung on a wall!

We inherited this when we moved into our present building, the old Kingsholm Council School and what makes it special is that it comes from HMS Gloucester – a Town class light cruiser built in 1909 and the eighth warship to bear the name of our city.

As we reach the 100th anniversary of Britain’s involvement in WW1, it is interesting to reflect that this door was involved in one of the first naval actions of that war, the chase of the German cruisers SMS¹ Goeben and SMS Breslau, which were then at large in the Mediterranean.

Continue reading