Gloucestershire Heritage Hub

Gloucestershire Archives

Shrub Hub update

Work began (in thought, anyway) on the garden last summer when we decided to see if we could make our current outdoor space into a wildlife-friendly, educational, safe haven for visitors, residents and of course the local wildlife – including provision for two beehives taking residence at one end of the garden. The Cotswold Gardening School were approached to see if their students would be able to create designs for the garden as part of their projects, and we came up with some ideas on how to raise money for the garden and attract as many visitors as possible. By the end of last year we had eight designs to choose from: the one we chose was one that suited our brief best and since then we have been working closely with the designer to make the plan fit completely with what we had in mind.

We started fundraising, using online crowdfunding and other sources to raise money for the garden. Young Gloucestershire’s Princes Trust team spent a couple of weeks with us in May.  They planted wildflower seeds and also renovated our picnic tables and some “heritage pillars” from a demolished outbuilding (we hope to use these as part of a volunteers’ shelter). Eventually everything started to take shape. The flower and herb borders for the formal area of the garden (nearest the new Dunrossil Centre) were marked out and then dug over in the space of a few weeks by some tireless volunteers, both from within our own staff and local people who wanted to help – this all took place during our heatwave so was hot and tiring work.


The plants arrived in the morning of the 30th July just as it started pouring with rain! However, our team of volunteers from the Cotswold Gardening School and the local area – and a member of staff – donned their raincoats and set to work planting out all the flowers, herbs and shrubs. Within a day, our formal area had been transformed from a large expanse of grass to a beautifully presented garden with a variety of wildlife-friendly, colourful and wonderfully scented plants.


One of the borders the day after planting and the volunteers at the end of planting day.

The next step was to make sure all the plants could establish themselves and grow by watering them daily. This was done on a rota system for about six weeks until the weather helped enough that they didn’t need to be watered. Again, it was achieved partly with volunteers from within the staff in their own time and partly with outside help.

We had a bit of a surprise on the weekend of the 10th/11th August, when our first colony of bees arrived in the garden rather sooner than intended. Unfortunately they were having some problems at the apiary they were being kept in (they were being bullied by another colony!), so rather than bring them home in October or March as intended, suddenly the Bee Team had to transport them quickly on the evening of 10th August.

Sadly, this initial problem and the move made them weak and within a month our first colony had been lost – they just couldn’t defend themselves against the new threat which this time came from hungry wasps. We aren’t too disheartened – in the spring we hope to start raising two new colonies in the garden.

Sunday 8th September saw our garden party, where the garden was taken over by an interactive performance and generally enjoyed by visitors. It was a great chance to show what we have done and further plans for the garden.

On 13th September, about 20 staff from Gloucester City Homes came and did some work in the garden for their Community Impact Day. During this day they planted some further borders in the “wild” area of the garden, built and filled two huge raised beds for community planting, and built a fence and gate to screen the bees off. They did a fantastic job and we are so grateful to them and their expertise.

At the end of September, plants at the front of the Heritage Hub (near the new entrance) were purchased and planted, again by volunteers. This was generously funded by the Friends of Gloucestershire Archives and this front border now looks amazing. This area will be added to using plants from staff and volunteers, including (hopefully!) a cutting from the hydrangea saved from outside the old Gloucestershire Family History office when their building was demolished last year.

So – what’s next for the garden?

At the time of writing, we still have a few things to do in the garden. We are going to dig a pond which will be an attractive addition to the space for different forms of wildlife. We are also going to put some hoggin in some of it to make it more wheelchair and pushchair friendly.

It’s been a great project that is still definitely work in progress. Further updates to follow!

The Heritage Hub Garden Party

The sun was shining, the flowers looked beautiful, and there was music, dancing and cake. What more could we ask for? Staff ran tours of the new Heritage Hub and strong rooms, there were talks, displays in various parts of the building including in the garden, a Civil War Surgeon and a performance about camping.


The weather was gorgeous with the sun shining all day long. Everyone enjoyed the garden which looked wonderful.


There was singing and dancing.

John Putley, the Archives’ resident Civil War Surgeon, offering his surgery skills and showing off his wares.


There were talks, displays and lots of mingling and meeting old friends.


A performance by The Velcro Collective (photos by Jack Offord)


And our final event of the day was a hats off to Beards for completing the build. Thank you Beards.

National recognition

In the Spring of this year, we submitted a case study to ARA (the Archives & Records Association), on how we have grown the number of people volunteering for us, and the ways in which we recruit and support them, and how we see this as part of our community outreach and development plan.  We’re delighted to report that our case study has won the ARA’s nationwide Volunteering Award 2019.  Officials from Scotland and Ireland are travelling to Gloucester to present the award and join in the celebrations.

At any one time, we have between 160 to 190 volunteers; this figure contracts and expands as we take on new volunteers and existing volunteers move into full time work or education, volunteer elsewhere or simply move away.  This is very clearly an award for everyone of our volunteers, past and present so thank you very much to you all.

  Liz and Maureen testing aucoustic chairs 

We actively recruit volunteers for specific roles and projects, and use social media to do this – through information on our web pages, through the “Engage in Gloucester” web portal, and through Twitter and Facebook campaigns. We are keen to increase participation by those from groups who may not traditionally come forward; younger adults, people from minority ethnic communities, people unemployed or homeless and those with long-term conditions, including mental health issues and physical and learning disabilities. This is nothing new, and other museums, libraries and archives services also target these groups; we now have lots of national data and qualitative evidence that volunteering helps people feel better about themselves. This evidence shone through in the results of our 2019 Volunteer Survey (for highlights, please go to the volunteering page at

ARA will be presenting the Volunteering Award on Friday 15th November, between 2.30pm – 4.30pm, at Llanthony Secunda Priory. There will be tea and cake, and a tour of the priory site. We have decided to close the Heritage Hub that afternoon, so that all staff and volunteers can be present. We’re keen that all our volunteers join the celebrations if you wish to do so.

Please be aware that car parking is very limited at Llanthony Secunda Priory so, if you plan on joining us, please feel free to park at the Heritage Hub and either walk from there, or get a lift with others.

If you intend coming along to the event, please do let me know by 1 November 2019 at

Gloucester History Festival


'Absolutely outstanding. The City of Gloucester is re-inventing itself. The History Festival is one of the leading components!'

Organised by Gloucester History Trust this year’s Festival had the theme of Power and the People. Events including talks, walks, workshops, exhibitions, performances and documentaries took place across the city including at Blackfriars Priory, the Heritage Hub, in churches, Eastgate Shopping Centre, in the museums, the Cathedral, the Guildhall, pubs, schools and many more venues.

Well known speakers including Alice Roberts, Max Hastings, Lucy Worsley, David Olusoga, Kate Adie, Martin Bell, Cerys Matthews and many more came to Blackfriars Priory and talked about subjects as far ranging as Vesuvius, our ancient ancestors in Gloucestershire, the death of Anne Boleyn and the election of Margaret Thatcher.

         'This was a brilliant funny and engaging talk, full of information and fun. I loved every second of it. Thank you'

On Gloucester day the Mock Mayor of Barton was installed, the Veterans and Gloucester Old Spot pig parade made its way through the streets and the Thanksgiving Service took place in the fabulously restored St Mary de Crypt Church.


There were over 60 City Voices events across the city, with 15 events taking place at Gloucestershire Archives including the Heritage Hub Garden Party. There were talks ranging from the history of Gloucester Rugby, Dowty, Celebrating a 180 years of Gloucestershire Constabulary to Early Car and Motorcycle Ownership in Gloucestershire, William Sheppard, Laurie Lee - the lost recordings and much more.


Exhibitions, documentaries and performances - including an in depth look into the lives of first generation NHS workers from the Caribbean, the Moon Exhibition, portraits from the Gloucestershire Hindu Community, a re-telling of the Dick Whittington story by participants from Gloucester and Wolverhampton and an immersive theatre experience using Archive material to inspire a contemporary look at the stories of mental health through the ages.


'Best thing in Gloucester for years. Brilliant festival.' 

Save the date - Gloucester History Festival 2020 takes place form Saturday 5th  to Sunday 20th September

For more information visit

Christmas and New Year opening times

Gloucestershire Archives

Will be closing at 5pm on Tuesday 24th December 2019

Reopening at 9am on Thursday 2nd January 2020

Gloucestershire Family History Society

Will be closing at 4pm on Friday 20th December 2019

Reopening at 10am on Monday 6th January 2020

Don’t forget we are open

Saturday 4th January 2020

User consultation survey

Now the Heritage Hub is largely complete we are keen to find out whether it meets your expectations. We would also like to hear ideas for further improvements that can be made within existing resources. Your comments will also be incorporated into our evaluation for the National Lottery Heritage Fund who kindly funded many of the enhancements. You can either fill out the form on-site when you visit or on-line wherever you are.

Please complete the survey by Sunday 3rd November. Thank you in anticipation.

Local History

Summer Afternoon at Tidenham

On a beautiful, sunny Saturday in June, members of local history groups across the County enjoyed a Summer Afternoon visit to Tidenham, Sedbury and Beachley, an event organised by Tidenham Historical Group on behalf of Gloucestershire Local History Association. Visitors were interested to learn about the history of the area and to take part in one of four history walks.

Tidenham guide, Richard Clammer, took visitors around the village of Sedbury.


These included exploring Sedbury, a settlement which was largely created in 1917 as part of a National Shipyard development. A local guide took walkers along the old footpaths to see the ship workers’ housing built in Arts and Crafts style, the route of a forgotten railway and the remains of a WW2 POW camp, with views of Sedbury Park and "old Sedbury".

Alternatively, groups could walk around Beachley, with its ancient ferry crossing, or follow the route of Offa’s Dyke, with spectacular views of the Wye Valley and Chepstow castle.

Another option was to visit the medieval church of St Mary & St Peter at Tidenham, overlooking the River Severn.

On returning from their walks, guests were treated to a super tea with scones, jam and cream, sandwiches and cakes. There was time to catch up with old friends and to view the display created by Tidenham Historical Group about the history of their town.


Volunteers from Tidenham organised the event.

These summer visits give members the chance to learn about special places with the benefit of knowledgeable guides to explain the history behind them. They are also a good opportunity to meet other local history enthusiasts.

Next year’s GLHA Summer Afternoon will be held on Sunday 28th June at Nailsworth.

For more information visit

Family History

News and information


A very warm welcome to our new treasurer,

GFHS’s new committee was elected at the September AGM, including new society member Elaine Schollar, who, having recently moved into the area from London, has now taken over as treasurer from David Poole. A very warm welcome to Elaine and many sincere thanks to David who has served over eight years in the role.

John Putley, Archives Learning & Outreach Officer, concluded the evening with a wonderfully engaging talk as the Medieval/Tudor/Stuart barber/surgeon.   John’s table was covered with an array of medical instruments of the day along with many other artefacts, all of which he demonstrated with a wealth of fascinating detail and infectious enthusiasm. It was a most enjoyable end to the evening. A huge thank you to John.

Our next monthly talk is on Wednesday 13th November, 7.30pm at the Heritage Hub. Trish Thomas presents - ‘Finding a Face from the Distant Past’


With the third issue of GFHS’s monthly newsletter ‘Generate’ just having been circulated, feedback has been most encouraging. Devised specifically for GFHS volunteers, not only does ‘Generate’ aim to keep volunteers well informed with all that’s going on, it also offers a line of communication through which volunteers are able to air and share their views on various matters.

Saturday Opening - 1st Saturday of every month, 9am – 4pm

The first of GFHS’s monthly Saturday openings on 5th October proved a great success with eight visitors attending throughout the day. Many thanks to volunteers Jane Daw and Vicky Thorpe who were kept very busy! This was a great start.

For more information visit

Visit the Events page for more information about Family History Fairs

Friends of Gloucestershire Archives

Annual Mystery Tour

The main task of the Friends is to support Gloucestershire Archives but local members also like to enjoy social events. 

Annual Mystery Tour
In early June we set off on our annual Mystery Tour, led by historian Dr John Chandler.  This year he took us to the Somerset Levels to explore their history. First, we visited the Grade I Listed, and wonderfully named, Westonzoyland Church.  The weather was less than kind and we fought our way through torrential rain to reach the church, but it was worth it.  We not only enjoyed the building and its outstanding wood carving but also the Battle of Sedgemoor Visitors Centre, which is housed within the church. 

Then we paid a visit to the town of Street, where we had the opportunity to enjoy refreshments in Clarks Village, named after the Quaker shoemaking family which put Street on the map.  Finally, we travelled to Burnham-on-Sea to study the town’s architecture, through which we traced its transformation from a tiny fishing village into a popular seaside resort.  


Our thanks go to John Chandler for another fascinating day out.

Sent to Coventry
In July another trip took members to Coventry.  This time members were given a comprehensive written guide to all the outstanding places in the city so they could choose what they especially wanted to see during their visit. 

The unique cathedral, with its plethora of art created by the greatest craftsmen and women of the 20th Century, was inevitably the star attraction but there were many other treasures to be seen in the city.  The local archives kindly hosted a tour, and many members also visited the Guildhall where they marvelled at the ceiling of carved angels and at one of the rarest and most important tapestries in the country.  Holy Trinity Church, a medieval building which also escaped destruction in World War II, was another attraction for members.  The church’s magnificent Doom painting, which dates from the 1430s, is one of England’s most significant pieces of Medieval art.

Our thanks to Cherry Ann Knott for organising the visit so efficiently and for preparing the comprehensive written guide.

Trustees and officers
All charities need committed people to oversee and run them. The Friends have been blessed with many such trustees and officers over its 25-year history.  Unfortunately, two trustees have recently had to step down, because of other commitments and ill health, and two more are due to retire in October.

If you, or someone you know, would be interested in helping the Friends continue their valuable work please contact the Chairman, Clive Andrews, for an informal discussion:   We particularly need someone who could take on the role of Treasurer, even if just for a year or two, but people with other skills, and who are keen to support the Archives, will be equally welcome.


South Gloucestershire Heritage Partnership Meeting

Tuesday 29th October 2019 10.00 – 13.00

Free event

South Gloucestershire Council Offices (Ground Floor Rooms 12/13), Badminton Road, Yate, BS37 5AF

This meeting is about projects taking place in South Gloucestershire and organisations relating to local heritage.

You will be able to hear from South Gloucestershire staff about the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) Cultural Strategy and the Regional Cultural Compact, River Frome reconnecting heritage, the Kingswood High Street Project and the Second World War Stories Project.

Camilla Hale, Chair & Convenor will introduce us to The South West Heritage Trust Network (SWHTN) and Jasmine Loveys will describe the Winterbourne Medieval Barn Events and Activities Programme.

This is an opportunity to be involved and hear about examples of good practice and to talk about and share your heritage project through an update at the end, questions and networking. Do let me know if you wish to share about your heritage project -

Yate Heritage Centre is open until 16.30, if you wish to visit.

To book a place and to see the agenda, please use this link:

Jane Marley - Museums and Heritage Officer, South Gloucestershire Council.

Think Ink!

Saturday 2nd November 2019, 2 - 4pm.

Free event. No booking required.

Learn about the history of writing and try your hand at using an old style pen. Scribes in the past had to start again if they made a mistake or an unfortunate ink blot!
Find out how ink was made and learn the unpleasant truth about parchment, on which some of our oldest documents were written.    01452 425295 

The Heritage Hub, Clarence Row, Alvin St, Gloucester, GL1 3DW

Memories Cafe

A warm welcome awaits anyone who would like the chance to meet old friends and make new ones. We will be remembering the Gloucester of the past, with a light-hearted look at items from the Archives own 'Memory bank'.

Sunday 3rd November and Sunday 1st December, 2.30 - 4pm.

Free event. Free drinks and cake.


At Gloucestershire Heritage Hub we strive to offer all our visitors a safe and friendly environment. Many of our staff and volunteers are Dementia Friends. We have parking on site and our facilities are accessible to all.


FoGA - Go aloft in Gloucester Cathedral



Afternoon visit to the Library and Archives, Tribune Gallery and Organ Loft.

2.15 Assemble in the South Porch

2.30 Library and Archives (including examples of early music manuscripts with Cathedral Librarian and Archivist, Rebecca Phillips)

3.15 Tribune Gallery

interactive exhibition

4.00 Organ Loft (Assistant Director of Music, Jonathan Hope, will demonstrate the organ’s capabilities. Gloucester Cathedral’s organ, first built in 1666 by Thomas Harris, has the only complete 17th-century cathedral organ case surviving in England

4.30–5.30 Tables reserved for tea in The Clementine café on the corner of Westgate Street and College Street

Please indicate if you wish to join us there

Cost: Members of FoGA £10.00, Guests £12.50 (Tea not included in cost)

Numbers for this visit are limited to 20

Priority booking for FoGA members from 10 October

booking open for guests from 21 October

Advance booking essential: forms available on  or at The HERITAGE HUB reception desk

Queries: contact Cherry Ann Knott 01453-762796 or email

An Archives Christmas!

Saturday 7th December 2019, 2pm-4pm.

Free event. No booking required

Join us for a festive gander at the origins of our Christmas traditions. How did local  Gloucestershire folk celebrate the Midwinter feast?  Find out about cards, carols, turkeys by post and the earliest written mention of Christmas in the county!
What present did Lord Blathwayte not give to Robert Crew in 1926?  Why did the Codrington Family need 28 plum puddings?  What was so memorable about Christmas 1675?  Answers to all these and some Christmassy craft too!    01452 425295 

The Heritage Hub, Clarence Row, Alvin St, Gloucester, GL1 3DW

FoGA events 2020


Afternoon visit to The Museum in the Park, Stroud

Talk by the collections officer: ‘Meet the Curators Past and Present’

Opportunity to explore the museum displays, walled garden and temporary exhibition ‘Endangered and Extinct’

Visit to the museum stores and archives

Tea and Cakes


Gloucestershire’s influential 20th-century craftspeople

Proposed talk and visits – dates and details to follow


Mystery Tour

Another of historian John Chandler’s fascinating all-day coach tours –

Where will it be in 2020?  Trust him, join us and find out!

Pick ups in Cheltenham and Gloucester



Full day coach trip to see archives at Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre,

and visit Lacock Village, Abbey and Fox Talbot museum (photography) –

Date and details to be arranged

Watch for information on FoGA’s notice board in The Heritage Hub

Visit the website for further details and booking forms  

Local History Society Talks

Dates for your diary

Gloucester LHS

Talks are held in the Dunrossil Centre, Gloucestershire Archives, 7pm

Free for members, £3 for guests

Tuesday 5 November - John Putley, Gloucestershire Witches

Tuesday 3 December - Tony Condor, 'Gloucester Railways: Now and Then

Tuesday 4 February 2020 - Richard Goddard, 'Battle of Tewkesbury 1471'

Visit for more information

Maisemore LHS

Guests £3

Talks are held in the Main Hall of the Village Hall, 7.30pm

Thursday 21 November - Tony Condor, 'A City Fit for Heroes'

Thursday 12 December - Paul Evans 'Christmas'

Thursday 23 January 2020 - Ros Lane, 'Leadon Vale'

For additional information telephone - 01452 527341

Stroud LHS

Members £2.50, guests £3.50

Talks held at St Laurence Church Hall

Thursday 14 November, 7.30pm - AGM followed by Howard Beard, 'Paul Smith - another of Stroud's splendid Victorian photographers'

Sunday 8 December, 2.30pm - an entertainment by Kim Baker & Steve Hill, 'A Stroud Time Talk'. BOOKING ESSENTIAL.


National Family History Fairs 2020

Saturday 8th February - Family History Show South West, Bristol

Sat 21st March - Dorset Family History Fair & Family History Day

Friday 17th/Saturday 18th April - Family Tree Live, London

Friday 26th/27th June - The Genealogy Show, Birmingham

Saturday 26th September - Family History Show, London 

South Gloucestershire

Searchlights Over South Gloucestershire

Searchlights Over South Gloucestershire is a dramatic interpretation of real-life experiences gathered from oral histories, letters and diaries of people living in the area during the Second World War and retold on Twitter.  @searchlights_sg

Follow the lives of three fictional families, whose members include a schoolboy, a land girl, a Red Cross volunteer and an aircraft engineer at Filton, as they do their bit for the war effort.

The home Guard are playing at soldiers all along Warmley High Street.

The bakers looked like HQ but they had to let me through to get a loaf, Wesley can’t go to work without his sandwiches.

Brass Works Theatre and writer Adrian Harris present the project in association with South Gloucestershire Council’s Second World War Stories initiative and funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. With additional thanks to volunteers at Yate Heritage Centre and Kingswood Heritage Museum, and to the Imperial War Museum, London

To read more visit

Gloucestershire Police Archives

A busy time

It has been a busy time for the Gloucestershire Police Archives since the last newsletter.

We have moved out of Stroud Police Station and into a new office at Headquarters as well as into the Chester Master Room in the Heritage Hub. The Chester Master room is open several days a week and is manned by police staff and volunteers who will be happy to answer any queries that you have.

Not only have we been moving but we have attended several events and given talks about the 180th anniversary of the formation of Gloucestershire Constabulary and during Gloucester History Festival former Chief Constable, Dr Timothy Brain gave a talk examining the history of policing in the county.


North Cotswold Rotary Club  and Cheltenham Rotary Club 

Chipping Campden LHS


Display at the Heritage Hub during Gloucester History Festival


Police Open Day at Waterwells

As well as all the activity we have also answered over 100 queries, often through the website and we are also working on a project to identify as many police stations and police houses as we can. As you can imagine there have been quite a few since 1839.

There are lots of events planned over the next few months so keep your eyes open we may be at place near you.

For more information visit

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