Local history goes to top of the class
July has been a brilliant month for engaging schools with local history as two major Voices Gloucester partnership projects have come to fruition. Both projects have been made possible by funding from Historic England under the Heritage Schools programme, and sprang from ideas suggested and shaped by local teachers.
For the 'Gates Street' project, Civic Trust guides led children from six local primary schools on tours of Gloucester city centre’s four ancient streets. Westgate Street had so much of interest, it had to be divided between two schools! At strategic stopping off points, the children were encouraged to capture things which had caught their interest, either by sketching or in words. Project artist Catherine Hawkridge ran a follow up session in each school and then developed the children’s work into a four- fold leaflet giving a unique child’s eye view of the city centre. The leaflet will be printed and available in time for the Gloucester History Festival and there will be an exhibition featuring more of the children’s work at The Folk from 1-15 September.
Then on 12 July, we ran a one day Schools Heritage Conference at Gloucestershire University’s Oxstalls campus with support from Archives staff and University Events students. Around 90 year 12 (A level) history students and their teachers attended the day which kicked off with a panel discussion on What is Heritage Now?, chaired by award winning podcaster Jo Durrant. Students then broke into groups to attend their choice of workshop on the varied topics of Fake News, the Windrush, Archaeology and Oral History.
After lunch, best selling author, historian and broadcaster Tracy Borman spoke about the mother daughter relationship of Anne Boleyn & Elizabeth 1, the subject of her latest book. The day closed with a heritage focussed market place and book stalls. Here's some of the feedback we received:
Tracy Borman was so informative on areas of the curriculum
Great, loved it
Fantastic as a first event
We’d love to make the Conference an annual event and involve more schools, possibly extending it to younger, GCSE, students.
Back by popular demand!......
Beginning in mid-October last year, the Victoria County History team (in collaboration with the University of the West of England, and supported by Gloucestershire Archives) ran twice monthly workshops on aspects of local history. All 10 sessions proved incredibly popular, attracting audiences of around 40 people each time, up to and including the last workshop on 14 March.
We were very gratified by the comments we received on the feedback forms which we circulated to participants, and Dr John Chandler, VCH County Editor, wrote a report summarising them, which was circulated to UWE, VCH central office, the archivists at the Hub and of course to the lecturers. There were very many complimentary remarks, but also some suggestions for changes, additions and improvements. We are trying to take these all on board. Because (drum roll) ........
......... we are planning to repeat the series, on alternate Thursday mornings this time, and have dates booked in the Dunrossil Centre at the Hub. The first session will be on 19 October 2023, then fortnightly to 14 December, then resuming on 11 January 2024 and running to the final session on 7 March. Over the next few weeks John will be working out the syllabus, contacting all the lecturers and publicising the course as widely as possible. If you are interested in coming - to all of them, or just to the ones you missed first time round, do please look out for further publicity and a syllabus once it is all worked out, or contact the Hub (email@example.com).
Heritage Hubs: too much of a good thing?
Back in 2014/15 when we chose the name Gloucestershire Heritage Hub for the planned transformation of the Archives Service we didn’t imagine the heritage hub concept would become so fashionable. As far as we know we were the first in the UK as internet searches didn’t reveal any others, and the domain name ‘heritagehub’ was freely available for our website and associated social media. A quick google search today reveals that there are now Heritage Hubs in Leicester, Portsmouth, Hertfordshire, Hawick in the Scottish Borders, Belfast, and a UK Heritage Hub dedicated to aeroplanes…. Last week we also heard that Cheltenham Civic Trust are fundraising for a heritage hub in Cheltenham. As we thought this could be confusing for us and for them (especially as our heritage hub covers Cheltenham in our countywide remit), we’ve been in touch and confirmed that this term only relates to their fundraising campaign. Their new building will be called Parmoor. We fully support their fundraising campaign but thought we ought to let our partners and supporters know that we are not planning to set up a new building or branch in Cheltenham!
The term Gloucestershire Heritage Hub primarily refers to our newly expanded and refurbished building in Kingsholm in Gloucester, which is now home to lots of heritage partners as well as Gloucestershire Archives. When planning the extension of the building and increased links with lots of community organisations focusing on heritage, some partners were concerned about moving into a building called Gloucestershire Archives, so we agreed to change the name of the building. Gloucestershire Archives remains the name for the archives service provided by the County Council. As part of our lottery funded For the Record transformation project, we also decided to use the term Gloucestershire Heritage Hub to refer to the community of heritage organisations and people working together across the county to promote the written and oral heritage of Gloucestershire and South Gloucestershire. This is why we have a Heritage Hub e-newsletter, website and associated social media, all used to promote Gloucestershire Archives and our heritage partners. We are very grateful to our partners for working alongside us to make a difference: Gloucestershire Family History Society, Friends of Gloucestershire Archives, Gloucestershire County History Trust (Victoria County History), Voices Gloucester (community engagement and events), Gloucester History Trust (Gloucester History Festival), Gloucestershire Local History Association, Gloucester Rugby Heritage, Gloucestershire Police Archives and Gloucestershire County Council Registration copy certificates service.
'75 years- our story'
In celebration of the South Asian Heritage Month (July 18 to August 17) we are hosting an exhibition of photographs curated by Halima Malek, Community Producer with Strike A Light. In 2022, the 75th year since Indian partition, Halima gathered stories from Gloucester’s Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities as part of her ’75 years – our stories’ project. You can see the resultant exhibition in the foyer at Gloucestershire Heritage Hub until the beginning of September. An artwork (wooden tryptic) by Aumairah inspired by the project is due to be installed soon. Films capturing some of the stories celebrating the experiences and culture of the Gloucester’s South Asian communities will also be added to the collections at Gloucestershire Archives to ensure they remain available for future generations.