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.