Gloucestershire Heritage Hub

Gloucestershire Archives

Our 'Green Pledge' project gets going

Earlier this year we received the fabulous news that our 'Green Pledge' project, which will see the county’s unique environmental archives opened-up and used for various events and activities, has received just under £250K from the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Since then, we've been busy recruiting.  The new project team is now appointed and the Project Cataloguer and Project Officer began work on 2 October.  For now, activity is focusing on the many boxes of historic maps and plans used by the Environment Agency.  These important records are currently uncatalogued and Jenny, the Project Cataloguer, will need volunteer help to compile detailed descriptions for them all and achieve one of the project's key outcomes.  She has devised a spreadsheet to enable volunteers to capture the required pieces of information from each map or plan within a roll.  Imogen, our work experience student from Cirencester College, has been acting as 'guinea pig' to test out the instructions and methodology before more volunteers are recruited.  Keep an eye on GoVolunteer Gloucestershire if you're interested in getting involved with this task. 

Meanwhile Hannah, our Project Officer, has been reaching out to students and teachers. She wants help to co-create archives that capture the essence of our 'Green' initiative and is also looking to share eco-friendly tips, tricks, and lifestyle choices.  If you have ideas, dreams, or schemes to share, then email today!

To finish, here's a mind blowing fact from the Digital Decarbonisation website which is devoted to reducing our carbon footprints.  

Did you know…an average post from Ronaldo on Instagram has such an immense reach that it consumes an energy equivalent to powering 10 homes for an entire year! To put this into perspective, with 45k Instagram posts being made every minute, if just two of these posts were as impactful as Ronaldo’s, it would be comparable to powering every single home in Washington DC, New York, and London for an entire year.

And keep an eye on the project's dedicated website page.

COVID hits Know Your Place resource...

...but in a good way!

Community Cataloguer Max Parkin has devised a volunteer project which will enable us to share photographs which document the county's response to the dark days of the COVID 19 pandemic. 

The idea for the project was sparked back in April when the Collections team received a large batch of photos taken during lockdown in central Cheltenham.  Images of deserted streets, social distancing, one way systems in supermarkets and the like captured both the challenge of those months and the community spirit which developed.  The fact that the photos were readily identifiable and easily linked with specific places meant they could be 'geo-tagged', which in turn meant that the community layer of the Know Your Place digital mapping resource leapt out as an ideal way to share them.  What's more, Max realised that there was clearly scope to gather in more photos for our collections and extend coverage beyond Cheltenham. The Know Your Place team agreed, and created a whole new layer for the photos, denoted appropriately by a mask.

You can read more about the project in Max's blog

The Frozen Continent

We have been delighted to support the 'Frozen Continent' exhibition at the Wilson in Cheltenham.  The focus of the exhibition is the eponymous Edward Adrian Wilson, after whom the gallery is named.  Born in Cheltenham, he is perhaps best known as a heroic but ill fated explorer who perished alongside Captain Scott and three other men during an expedition to the South Pole in 1910.  But his role of Chief of Scientific Staff also drew on his skills both as a naturalist and an accomplished artist.

Alas, a stuffed penguin we were memorably presented with some years ago, along with other Wilson related items, did not fit our collecting policy and was transferred to join others of its kind at the museum.  But we do still hold several boxes of archive material relating to the Wilson family which include a scrapbook of drawings by the young Edward (D10725 accession 10725).  This early work clearly shows his artistic ability and interest in the natural world. 

Our conservator Ann Attwood carried out a thorough condition assessment of the volume and made a book cradle for this unique item so it can be safely displayed. One unusual feature of the scrapbook is that two of the drawings seem to be done on a extremely early plastic.   

See the scrapbook and other fascinating Wilson related material showcased in 'The Frozen Continent' from 7 October 2023 –18 February 2024.

Heritage Schools update

Earlier this month (October) we launched year 3 of the Heritage Schools programme by delivering a training session for teachers, in partnership with Historic England, and Voices Gloucester.  We'll be working with participants over the coming year to help shape and deliver their project ideas.

Last year's programme resulted in a Childs’ Eye View of Gloucester’ leaflet containing children’s artwork and writing. The art work produced was also used to create an exhibition at The Folk in September. We worked with the Gloucester Civic Trust and artist, Catherine Hawkridge during this project.

In a second Heritage Schools project we worked with Dave Slaughter of St Peter's High School, Voices Gloucester and the University of Gloucestershire to put on a Heritage Conference Day for Year 12 students. Historian and TV presenter, Tracy Borman, headlined the conference, which also featured a number of workshops, talks and stalls. Approximately one hundred students attended from seven schools.  Several schools (including Ribston High School pictured below) have already applied successfully for Heritage School status and we hope more will join their number over the coming academic year. 

Meanwhile, the programme continues with the 'Great Debate', hosted at the Heritage Hub on 13 November.  This is Historic England's public speaking competition open to students from years 10-13.  The question being debated for 2023/4 is 'Which historical place or person from your local area deserves greater recognition'?  No plot spoilers, but we do know that one of the local people being championed is Button Gwinnett.

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