Gloucestershire Heritage Hub

Local History

The Red Dress

Voices Gloucester brought the award winning, collaborative embroidery project The Red Dress to Gloucester on Tuesday 14 March. Conceived by British artist Kirstie Macleod, the project provided an artistic platform for women around the world, many of whom are vulnerable and live in poverty, to tell their personal stories through embroidery.


The day, held at The Friendship Café, Barton Street, included Kirsty giving a presentation about the Red Dress, pieces of which have travelled the globe being continuously embroidered onto. Constructed out of 84 pieces the garment has been worked on by 343 women, and 7 men, from 46 countries. Over the 13 years the dress has taken to complete it has become a platform for self-expression and an opportunity for voices to be amplified and heard.

The Red Dress has been the inspiration for the ‘A Costume for Gloucester’ project and Voices Gloucester were thrilled with the turnout on the 14th.

‘It was lovely to see so many familiar faces, as well as meet lots of new friends.’ 


People attending were able to chat to Kirsty and see the Red Dress up close and get involved in workshops and information sessions run by the Museum of Gloucester, Gloucestershire Archives and Gloucester Cathedral. The Women’s Institute and Gloucester Scrap Store were also on hand with fabrics, sewing kits and all manner of lovely textile things.

Between now and the middle of July those taking part in the project will be working on their ideas and pieces of cloth ready for each piece to be joined together in time for Gloucester Day on Saturday 2 September.

The Gloucester dress will then be on display in the Lady Chapel, Gloucester Cathedral 16th September - 1st October 

The dress will become part of the Museum collection to help preserve this project for future generations to enjoy.

For more information visit

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Woodchester Mansion

Gloucestershire has a unique historical house in Woodchester Mansion. The amazing Neo-gothic masterpiece of the young architect Benjamin Bucknall sits in a steep-sided secluded valley a few miles south of Stroud. The unfinished building is Grade I listed and rated as of architectural significance at an international level.


Why? Because this house – like no other – shows the bare bones of its construction. Walls are unplastered, stone vaulted ceilings incomplete, wooden formwork and original scaffolding poles are still in place, so the visitor can see how Gothic buildings are constructed. You can learn many new things. It is a house built almost entirely of local stone, with high quality craftsmanship. So offsetting the learning, there are wonderful carved animals to look at - a delight for children of all ages.


Why was it never finished? Well, you have to visit to discover the full story. The family fortunes and misfortunes have been traced in Gloucestershire Archives and other counties, and the secrets have been revealed. Work stopped in 1873 and , apart from a small flurry of activity in 1894, the building has essentially been untouched since.

Now cared for by the Woodchester Mansion Trust, the house will never be finished. Work to maintain it in good condition is a never ending task, with a current price tag of some £5m. It is open to the public on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 31st March to 5th November this year, 11am to 4pm.  Come and see for yourself!


Please check the website before visiting:

Major Expansion of City’s Landmark Festival

Events year-round announced for Gloucester History Festival

The Gloucester History Festival is expanding in 2023 with new events to create a year-round programme of talks and performances. A season of new talks at the King’s School and the introduction of the first live Spring Weekend at Gloucester’s iconic medieval Blackfriars Priory will complement the hugely successful main Festival held annually in the autumn.

The Gloucester History Festival was launched in September 2011 and in the past 12 years it has gained a national reputation for attracting high-profile speakers.

The new Spring Weekend will feature fifteen events from the country’s top historians including Professor Alice Roberts (presenter of BBC Two’s Digging for Britain) Peter Frankopan (author of The Silk Roads), Greg Jenner (host of the hit podcast You’re Dead To Me) and Martin Sixsmith (former BBC Moscow Correspondent). The three-day programme on 21st – 23rd April features intriguing topics ranging from Tutankhamen to 20th century Prime Ministers and from Alfred the Great to Gloucester’s own archaeological gems.

The new look for the Gloucester History Festival includes:
King’s Talks: New regular events throughout the year at the King’s School
Spring Weekend at Blackfriars: 21st - 23rd April 2023
Main History Festival: 2nd - 17th September 2023
Winstone Talk in Cirencester: 21st October 2023

‘The story of Gloucester really is the story of England with the city’s streets echoing to the footsteps of Roman legionaries, Saxon tribes, a warrior queen, medieval traders and Victorian inventors,’ says Festival President Dr Janina Ramirez. The Oxford historian and TV presenter first appeared at the Festival in 2015 and became its President the following year. ‘I’m thrilled about the growth of the Festival and I’m looking forward to meeting hundreds of history-lovers at the first live Spring Weekend as well inviting more top-class historians to share their personal insights and discoveries.’

Tickets for the Spring Weekend went on sale at 9.00am on Saturday 4th March 2023 and are available online from, by phone on 01452 396131 and in person from the Festival Box Office at the Museum of Gloucester, Brunswick Road, Gloucester GL1 1HP.

Daglingworth Polish resettlement camp

Readers might be interested in the story of Daglingworth Polish resettlement camp near Cirencester. Edward and Anna Lender both grew up in the camp and appear in the Daglingworth school registers held at Gloucestershire Archives. Edward has written the story of the camp which has been beautifully illustrated by his wife, Anna, an artist and published online at:

In this painting of the hut, the young Anna is shown together with her mother and stepfather.

 The Granville-Skarbek Anglo-Polish Cultural Exchange celebrates the contribution of the Polish diaspora, one of the largest community groups in the country, to British culture and society. It seeks to inspire, intrigue and surprise by sharing some unexpected stories of Anglo-British interactions. The project is named after Krystyna Skarbek a.k.a. Christine Granville, a Polish-Jewish countess, who became Britain’s first female SEO [Special Operations Executive] agent, and who saved countless lives as the longest-serving operative of WWII. Krystyna also penetrated into mainstream British culture as the inspiration for Bond character Vesper Lynd.

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