Welcome to the Autumn 2023 edition of the Heritage Hub e-newsletter.
They say that everybody needs a friend - and we count ourselves very fortunate to have over 120 of them, all dedicated to supporting the work of Gloucestershire Archives. This edition of the Heritage Hub e-newsletter celebrates 30 years of a beautiful friendship.
The Friends of Gloucestershire Archives (affectionately known as FoGA) was established as our formal support group 30 years ago this month, by the then County Archivist David Smith. We couldn't let this milestone pass unmarked and so FoGA members were invited to a party, complete with birthday cake and candles, in the Dunrossil Centre. This was a particularly fitting venue as FoGA made a huge contribution to 'For the Record', the major project which enabled this facility to be built as part of the creation of the Heritage Hub, both physical and virtual.
The Friends support us in many ways, including the purchase of equipment and where appropriate, archive documents which come up for sale. Among the documents which the Friends purchased during 2022/3 was an agreement dated 31 July 1557 signed by the First Earl of Pembroke and relating to the manor of Ruddle in the Gloucestershire parish of Newnham. Pembroke became brother-in-law to King Henry VIII through his marriage to Anne Parr, younger sister of Catherine. They also purchased a plan of an estate in South Gloucestershire, owned by Sir Henry Cann Lippincott and dating from the early 1800s. The plan shows buildings, fields and gardens with owners' names and identifying different types of cultivation. Another significant purchase was a 1782 map of the Forest of Dean, especially important as few early maps of the Forest exist.
We can certainly say we have Friends in high places as in June 2022 the Chair of FoGA attended a grand service in Westminster Abbey, in the presence of the then Prince of Wales, to celebrate the work of charities which had received grants from the Benefact Group. The Friends had previously received a grant from Ecclesiastical Insurance, which is now part of the Group. The grant was used, together with a grant from The National Archives, to gather and preserve the stories and experience of minority groups on Gloucester.
You can never have too many friends and we always welcome more members. Friends enjoy a varied programme of talks and outings. Subjects this past year included John Nevil Maskelyne, the famous Victorian magician who was born in Cheltenham, Trade Unions in Gloucestershire 1890-1925 and Disappeared Trades of Gloucestershire. All of them drew on documents to be found in Gloucestershire Archives. The Friends also organised a drop in event when members could visit the Archives to see, and learn more about, documents which FoGA had purchased.
If you would like to find out more, please see this short film, and the FoGA website.