Gloucestershire Heritage Hub

Gloucestershire Archives

'Green Pledge' update

The Green Pledge Project is now well underway. We are so pleased to welcome two more team members to the project this month: Marion Hill is our Community Learning and Outreach Officer and will be creating archive-inspired, sustainability themed, events and exhibitions. Ethan Langfield is our new archives’ apprentice. As well as learning the ropes throughout the archives, he will work specifically with the Green Pledge Project, helping with research and creating guides and toolkits.

Ethan, Marion, Christina, Jenny and Hannah, aka the Green Team

The Green Pledge Project has a broad range of elements, including:

 Sustainability-themed events inspired by our county’s heritage.

  • Travelling exhibitions
  • Oral histories, recording the stories of local environmentalists
  • Bringing new environmental records into our collection and cataloguing existing ones
  • Monthly podcasts and a collection of films
  • Putting our own house in order with an environmental audit and action plan.- read our 'Greening the Hub' piece to find out how are making our building more sustainable 
  • A range of volunteering roles including; researching the archives, cataloguing, adding to Know Your Place maps, helping at events, gardening in our wildlife-rich community garden

Would you like to get involved with the project? We are currently holding consultations to find out what local people and groups think we should include. Are there aspects of local environmental history we should know about? Which environmental themes do people think we should focus on? Who are the people who have been involved in the environmental movement (locally and nationally) that we should interview?   

 If you are interested in being part of the consultation or the volunteer programme please do get in touch with our project officer

Two of our community raised beds

Over our heads

On a cold sunny day in January 2024 we said farewell to the massive air conditioning plant on the roof.   This is part of our programme to reduce power consumption  and we have freed up space to install solar panels later. 

We have been working with expert Nick Grant (Elemental Solutions) to ensure our strongrooms remain at the correct temperature and humidity.  Indeed in recent times we found it easier to achieve the correct levels in our passive strongrooms than strongrooms 1 and 7 which benefited from air conditioning.   As part of this work we have upgraded the heating in the research room and tracked down the reason for recent rain drips – the resident herring gulls had pecked holes allowing rainwater to penetrate.

Thank you to our researchers and Hub partners for coping with the temporary disruption whilst this work was completed.

Working with schools

Gloucestershire Archives can offer a wealth of resources, built up over many years,  to help schools engage their students with local history.  Our talented learning and outreach team, John and Jemma, can also work with teachers to deliver tailored sessions.  Add into the mix our strong partnership with Voices Gloucester, English Heritage and the Gloucester Heritage Forum and we have much to offer hard pressed teachers.  One of the main hurdles we've found is getting this message to the right people. 

Enter the schools e-newsletter, which we started just over a year ago in February 2023.  Eight editions have been issued to date and the tight half termly schedule helps keeps content fresh and relevant.  The e-newsletter now goes out to all schools in the county, numbering some 360 primaries, secondaries, independent and special schools, and includes contributions from Forum members, as well as ourselves and Voices Gloucester. 

Typical content includes

  • upcoming events and offers
  • a summary of Forum members' education programme
  • news pieces such as new appointments and programmes, projects, activities, and events. 

Very pleasingly, we know that our 'open' rate per newsletter exceeds what is regarded as 'good' for this medium and shows that over 100 schools per edition are reading it.

Over the past year we've been able to share news and updates on some great - and photogenic - projects:

The Great Debate

Heritage Schools training delivered to teachers by Historic England

'Gate Street' primary school project

Lots of school visits.....                                             

...with more projects suggested by teachers under development for 2024.

Local History

Local history treats for Summer 2024

The Gloucestershire Local History Association is organising two events for its members during the Summer of  2024.

The first is the Association's annual Summer Afternoon Meeting, which will be held at Coleford on Sunday, 30 June. The meeting, which is being organised and hosted by the Forest of Dean Local History Society, will comprise talks, tours, displays - and an afternoon tea.

The second is a Local History Day, to be held at Hartpury College/University on Saturday, 27 July. The theme of the Day will be 'Life Stories' and GLHA member groups will be preparing displays focusing on the lives of one or more individuals who have made a significant historical contribution to the life of their Community.

The Day will also include two talks. One is to be given by Maureen Anderson on Sir Fabian Ware (1869-1949), the founder of the Imperial War Graves Commission, who moved to Amberley in 1930 and served at one time or another as President of the Gloucestershire Community Council and as Chairman of the Gloucestershire branch of the Council for the Preservation of Rural England.

Fabian Ware's memorial in Gloucester Cathedral (copyright Andrew R Abbott)

The other talk is to be given by Steven Blake on the artist and lithographer George Rowe (1796-1864), who lived at Cheltenham in 1832-52 and who published a large number of topographical prints of Gloucestershire before travelling to Australia, where - after a failed attempt to dig for gold - he became a successful 'goldfields artist' whose works are held by many Australian art galleries and museums.

'Ancient House, High Street, Tewkesbury', a pencil drawing by George Rowe, later used by Rowe as one of a set of seven lithographs entitled 'Antiquities of Tewkesbury', published in 1839.

Details of both events, including booking details, will be posted on the GLHA website ( in due course.

The story of Storeys

The spotlight fell on one of the Heritage’s Hub’s closest Kingsholm neighbours in November, when a project by Creative Solutions, supported by Voices Gloucester and Gloucestershire Archives, brought over 1000 visitors to Clapham Court to see an important collaboration between artists and residents.

Clapham Court is an iconic feature of Gloucester’s skyline, and it is destined for demolition. To honour the lives lived and the community created here, local creatives worked with residents, past and present, to create unique art in ten empty flats - telling the stories that have been absorbed in the walls over the last 60 years.

Photo courtesy of Phil King

Flats on different floors were matched with artists from across a variety of disciplines - including photographers, sculptors and textile artists. Visitors discovered rooms filled with found materials left behind by departed residents transformed into sculpted artwork, knitted and crocheted household items, intriguing origami miniatures, and spectacular graffiti art. 

Pupils at Kingsholm School helped create the 'graffiti' flat';  'In da Front Room' lovingly re-created a Jamaican family's living room

On the advice of residents the project opened on bonfire weekend which allowed visitors to enjoy some of the best firework views in the city. Open over two weekends, there was also an opportunity to attend a series of artist talks, and anyone could visit by-appointment and have personal tours in the week. 

The Dean of Gloucester is shown round by Voices creative director Jacqui Grange

Participating artists and groups included Caroline McCatty, Adam Coleman, Josie Evans, Amy Freeman, David Grange, De Front Room, Jacqui Grange, Kim Kenny, Kingsholm School, Independent Living Art Group, Rider Shafique, Jo Teague, and Georgia Williams.

'Then and Now' by artist Kim Kenny highlighted the loss of orchards from the Kingsholm neighbourhood.

A really important contribution came from Neal Avery, a former resident, who played guitar, reliving resident lounge parties, along with live painting from another ex-resident - the talented artist David Parker. 

The Clapham Court Storeys project was made possible thanks to Gloucester City Homes, who manage the building, and was such a success that there are talks about revisiting the project in the Spring and extending the collaboration of artists and residents.

If you enjoyed attending, or hearing about -this project, sign up to the Voices Gloucester newsletter and visit for all event updates. 


Family History

We are gathered here...

Hopefully, many of you will have seen the wonderful display in the Heritage Hub foyer during December and January, which tells the stories of a number of former residents of Westgate Street.

The display showcases a project which the Gloucestershire Family History Society (GFHS) was involved with over the past year or more, emanating from the work of the Cathedral Quarter High Street Heritage Action zone (CQHAZ).  The CQHAZ 's remit included renovating a number of properties in Westgate Street. GFHS took an interest in this, particularly the former occupants of the buildings being restored, and a few of our volunteers set about looking into who had lived in, worked at or were associated with those properties. Fascinating stories started to emerge, and the history of the street began to come to life, not just in the sympathetic physical reconstruction of some of the buildings, but also in the knowledge that built up relating to the street and its former occupants. 


Initially, it wasn’t clear how all the research conducted could be marshalled to ‘tell the tale’ and help celebrate the history of Westgate Street, but a fruitful partnership came into being when Gloucester Civic Trust (GCT), who manage the historic buildings which now form the Folk of Gloucester, and the Churches Conservation Trust, who are responsible for St Nicholas’ church opposite the Folk, came on board.


GFHS put in a successful bid for a grant from Voices Gloucester and wooden silhouette cut outs, from the waist up, were commissioned (supplied by Nick’s Timber).  Claire from CQHAZ made contact with Gloucestershire College, and A’ level art students from the college were set the task of ‘interpreting’ the stories of the inhabitants. They did this by decorating the fronts of the cut-outs, each one representing an individual from the past, who had lived/worked or was associated with Westgate Street.  The backs of the silhouettes named the individual depicted, and a ‘seating plan’ was produced, which gave further information about the members of the congregation.

Here are a couple of examples of the students’ work:


Charles Wheatstone (1802-1875), as depicted by Rowan Timms and Anwen Eddington.  Charles was a scientist and engineer from 52-54 Westgate Street, whose inventions included the stereoscope                                     

John Thurston, as depicted by Yuna Ward. John had an ironmongery business at 93 Westgate Street in the 1850s

St Nicholas’ church hosted the completed artworks in its pews, and volunteers from GCT and GFHS stewarded an exhibition, "We are gathered here...." . which ran in the church in October.  The exhibition was a great success and attracted many visitors. Plans are afoot to make further use of the silhouettes and the information gathered later this year, so watch this space!

The ‘congregation’ in St Nicholas’ Church, Westgate Street

Friends of Gloucestershire Archives

A significant new acquisition

One important way in which the Friends of Gloucestershire Archives support the work of the Archives is by raising funds to purchase documents when judged essential for the Archives collections.  Happily, in December we were able to secure several lots of material relating to Joy & Peter Evans of the Whiteway Colony which came up for sale by auction. 

Joy Evans and her husband Peter lived and worked as members of Whiteway, making furniture.  Joy was a daughter of Basil and Mary Robert, who had been invited from Holt in Norfolk to set up a craft-economy at Whiteway in the 1920s.  Mary (a teacher specialising in forest schools) was also asked to establish a school. The two had met when Basil became a conscientious objector during the First World War.  In due course, Joy and Peter’s son Alan continued the family’s association with rural crafts and industries, becoming a blacksmith and wrought iron worker.  

Original workshop built to house the Cotswold Handicrafts Co-operative                

Advert including Basil Robert, leatherworker, from Gloucestershire Countryside magazine 1932 

As well as photographs and other Roberts family memorabilia, the lots purchased include sales ledgers and daily diaries for the Evans’ furniture business in the 1950s -early 60s. There are also earlier papers concerning Basil Roberts’s court appearances and Bristol based conscientious objectors in World War 1.  

Robert family group, with members identified                                  Student group, Spurgeon's College including George W Robert   

A particular highlight of the collection is a file index of cards listing villages throughout Gloucestershire and the small craft businesses which operated there. It was compiled by Basil Roberts while Local Organiser for the Rural Industries Council and includes the trades and names of craftsmen for each village. 

The newly acquired documents (accession 16622) complement the Whiteway Colony archive already held in the Archives (as collection D8709) and help advance our understanding of Gloucestershire’s important arts & crafts movement. 

A big exhibition of Alan Evan's life work is planned for the Museum in the Park, Stroud in 2025.

        Monogram for the Crypt school, Gloucester, 1954              


Upcoming Heritage Hub events

Secrets Revealed online talk: Sitting on the Dock of the Bay

Wednesday 24 January 1-2 pm

People have been using Gloucestershire’s rivers for moving around for millennia and have also been stopping off at places to settle, hunt or trade.

As ships and boats grew in size, so did the places that they stopped at.  Initially simple timber structures, as time passed, these landing places evolved into stone-built wharves and quays, and later into large docks and ports with complex infrastructures all designed to move cargo in and out.

This online presentation will look at the history of these places in Gloucestershire, which are probably more numerous than one realises. 

To book, please visit the Heritage Hub website

Ship -Shape!

Saturday 3 February, 1-4 pm

Talks of the day

1.15pm - ‘A History of Gloucester Docks’ by Tony Conder

2.30pm - ‘Port to Port – a historical journey along the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal’ by Paul Barnett

Please note: both talks are currently fully booked. If you would like to be added to a waiting list, please email

There are also other elements to the day, no booking needed:

More on the day

  • Document display 
  • Free refreshments throughout the afternoon
  • Sailors, dockers or even pirates in your family tree? Visit the Gloucestershire Family History Resource Centre to find out more, open from 10am. 
  • Book sale, proceeds to GFHS
  • Meet representatives from Vale of Berkeley Railway, Canal & Rivers Trust and the Glos Society for Archaeology


Gloucestershire Heritage Hub, Clarence Row, Alvin Street, Gloucester, GL1 3DW. 

Car parking on-site, Free Refreshments, Beautiful Garden & Picnic Area, and Local Cafes nearby. 

Local History workshops

There are 5 local history workshops left in the current series:

  • Movement & migration, 25 January, 9.30-1.00
  • Community society & welfare, 8 February, 9.30-1.00
  • Working lives of men & women, 22 February, 
  • Influence of religion, 7 March 2024, 9.30-1.00


Gloucestershire Heritage Hub, Clarence Row, Alvin Street, Gloucester, GL1 3DW. 

Car parking on-site, Free Refreshments, Beautiful Garden & Picnic Area, and Local Cafes nearby. 

For more details and to book, please visit the dedicated Local History workshops events page on the Heritage Hub website

Gloucester History Festival Spring Weekend

Gloucester History Festival Spring Weekend runs 12-14 April 2024

 Join thirty of the nation’s top historians and authors for a weekend of compelling events at Gloucester’s Blackfriars Priory, Britain’s oldest and most magnificent history festival venue built in 1239.  Leading medieval historian and broadcaster Dan Jones takes us back to the Battle of Agincourt, bestselling Empireland author Sathnam Sanghera  joins Kavita Puri to trace the legacies of the British Empire across the globe and Philippa Langley, who famously discovered Richard III under a Leicester car park, discusses her ground-breaking new evidence revealing that The Princes in the Tower may well have survived. Spearheaded by Festival President Janina Ramirez and supported by Festival Patrons David Olusoga and Michael Wood, the full programme is announced in February. 


More details and join the mailing list:

Mediaeval Punishment Cemetery - free online Zoom webinar

'Medieval Punishment Cemetery at Weyhill Road, Andover’ on Wednesday 7th February from 7 – 8:30pm.

In 2016, a densely crowded group of partly disturbed graves was found between Andover and Weyhill, Hampshire.  From the evidence of violence, punishment and disarticulated bone across the site, it soon became clear that this was not a normal cemetery.  Dating from the 10th (or earlier) to 14th centuries, how did these individuals die and why is the site described as a punishment cemetery?  Join Cotswold Archaeology’s Human Remains expert, Sharon Clough, to find out more.


This Zoom webinar is free to attend!  To book your place, please see the poster below.

South Gloucestershire

Steaming ahead!

Yate Heritage Centre's popular exhibition, 'On and off the Rails' continues its regional tour in 2024!

Calling at.... 

  • Frenchay Museum -February
  • Warmley Signal Box- March
  • Kingswood Museum and Heritage Centre- April 
  • Thornbury & District Museum, May-June

Each museum venue will provide its own unique set of artefacts.

After the Summer, the display will be available to libraries in South Gloucestershire.

South Gloucestershire Mines Research Group

Here are details of the South Gloucestershire Mines Research group talk in February, and their AGM followed by a talk in April:

                     Talk, Wednesday 21 Feb 2024                                                          Talk & AGM, Wednesday 3 April 2024

Gloucestershire Police Archives

Winter news from the Constabulary Archive Officer

Despite the weather and lots of illnesses amongst the team we have been as busy as ever.

During November half term several days were spent at Northleach prison for their history week and our exhibition was there from the end of September to the end of December. We are just waiting for the weather to improve so that we can go and collect all our boards and artefacts.

We are hoping to do some further work with the prison team especially on children who were held in Northleach Prison, their crimes and the punishment.

We attended the Buttons, Badges and Blazers exhibition at Gloucester Museum in November.  Every day is a school day as there were things there that the team had never seen such as the helmet and the leather suitcase.

We have lots of projects ongoing and the volunteers are working their socks off talking to retired officers, collecting information from personnel files, researching links between officers to see if officers with the same last name are related and looking at what officers were writing in their pocket books in the 1870s. We are also trying to put added context to memories of a deceased officer which means that members of the team are spending a lot of time on research across the historic county of Gloucestershire.

As usual we have had many queries for example

  • offers of items discovered in the attic after retired officers have died,
  • research into careers of named officers
  • information about the police forces in Tewkesbury and Gloucester
  • officers who had been commandos during World War ll
  • we even had a photograph donated to us that was not Gloucestershire and managed to track down the force that it belonged to. No mean feat as it was the 1920s and the force no longer exists!

There are also lots of other things going on behind the scenes, the police archives are like a swan, serene on top but paddling like mad underneath.

If you have any police related photographs we are always happy to receive Jpegs via and queries can also be sent to the same email address. We are also able to scan photographs in the office at the Heritage Hub. We are usually on site Monday to Wednesday until 2.30 but it is worth checking before you make a visit as we do go out and about quite often.

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