Three cheers for volunteers!

Be prepared scouts

Be Prepared….for a strong sense of satisfaction.

Officially, National Volunteers’ Week takes place from 1st -7th June every year. Here at Gloucestershire Archives we have cause to be thankful to our large team of volunteers every week of the year. Volunteers do things as diverse as reminiscing with an older person at one of our EVOKE reminiscence sessions and helping us to develop and maintain our profile on Social Media.

On 1st December we’ve invited all our volunteers to tea as a way of saying ‘thank you’ – but volunteers tell us that they already feel rewarded for their time and expertise:

I was always a ‘doer’ and I didn’t see that that should stop when I retired. I’m using skills I developed over a long working life, but I’m using them in a new way. I’ve surprised myself by how much I’ve got out of it.’

‘It wasn’t that I was bored – I work part-time and I’ve got children at school – but I wanted to meet some new people and try something different. In that sense it’s been a very positive experience’.

 If you’d like to find out more about volunteering opportunities with us, please get in touch with Sally Middleton our Community Heritage Development Manager.

It’s back!

Barton and Tredworth website home page image

Barton and Tredworth website home page

The “It” is the Barton and Tredworth community heritage website, an outcome of the Hidden Lives project of 2011-12 in which the Archives was a partner.  The site was created using a bespoke platform designed by Community Sites, who specialize in assisting local communities to create their own web sites.  However the format wasn’t ideal for the wider range of devices that can now access web sites, so Community Sites have just converted it into a WordPress based site.

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Lucky 13 for Gloucestershire history

Founded in 1899, the Victoria County History (so named because of its dedication to Queen Victoria) aspires to create a scholarly history of every parish in every County in England.  It is organised on a County basis and the first Gloucestershire volume was published in 1907.  There was then a gap in production until the 1960s, but volumes have since been produced on a regular basis.

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Coming soon to an Archives near you

Did you know that the Archives’ site is used for purposes other than just caring for and making available the County’s historic documents? For instance, the Gloucester branch of Gloucestershire Family History Society holds their meetings here once a month, currently in the Frith Centre.  Anyone is welcome to attend, although a small charge is made for refreshments, and you can find a list of the upcoming events at http://gfhs.org.uk/events-2/action_agenda/cat_ids~29/. Continue reading

Gloucester History (and Retro) Festivals; Gloucestershire Archives recommends….

Gloucester History Festival 2016The following sessions are being run by colleagues, volunteers or researchers connected with the Archives.  Full details for most events are available in the History Festival booklet – available on-line or in hard copy from Gloucestershire Archives.

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150 years of Engineering Excellence

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

More Gloucestershire Archives resources available on Ancestry

As part of our ongoing partnership with Ancestry, images of additional resources have been added to the Gloucestershire’s section of the Ancestry web site:

  • Records of prisoners in the county gaol and houses of correction 1728-1914
  • Land tax assessments 1713-1833
  • Electoral registers 1832-1974

To mark this launch on 16 June 2016, Liz Jack, author of the book A Rogue’s Gallery: Victorian Prisoners in Gloucester Gaol, has kindly provided this article about the youngest and oldest prisoners to be photographed in Gloucester gaol in the Victorian period:

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The “Boxes of Delight” project reveals the amazing but true tale of the Bown family, by Lauren Perrett

“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:

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Election day in Cheltenham 1841, by Catherine Vaughton

The ‘List of Electors’ booklet mentioned below was discovered by members of Cheltenham Local History Society as part of their project to catalogue the archive of Ticehurst and Wyatt, solicitors of Cheltenham, for Gloucestershire Archives. The cataloguing is also helpful to the compilers of the Victoria County History of Gloucestershire Cheltenham volume, who are making good use of the work.

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Working together

In our last post we shared news about the next stage of “For the Record” and the creation of Gloucestershire Heritage Hub.  We also explained the development work will bring changes to Gloucestershire Archives’ services and facilities.

While the physical changes to the Alvin Street site are certainly significant, they’re not our only focus.  Alongside the building work, we’re also launching our extensive programme of activities that offer learning, participation, training and volunteering opportunities. Continue reading