October 2023

Gloucestershire Heritage Hub

GLHA Spring and Summer activities

Two visits were organised for members of the Gloucestershire Local History Association during 2023.


The Special Collections Library at the University of Gloucestershire’s Hardwick campus in Cheltenham

Two different groups of 10 people visited the Library in the morning and afternoon of Monday 17 April.  As well as the University’s own Archive (including those of its constituent Colleges, dating back to the mid-19th century), the Library holds a number of other collections relating to literature, poetry and printing, plus the Independent Television News (ITN) image archive and the extensive library of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society. The visit was hosted by the University’s Special Collections Archivist, Louise Hughes, who described the various collections held in the Library and gave those attending the opportunity to see a number of rare books from the Archaeological Society’s Library, which was then open for browsing.


Chipping Sodbury walk

The second - somewhat blustery! - visit was an afternoon walk around Chipping Sodbury, led by Dr John Chandler, on Sunday, 11 June. This took those attending along the length and breadth of the town’s particularly attractive High Street, with its range of buildings from medieval onwards, as well as down to some rather more ‘hidden’ corners close to the River Frome. The walk was greatly enhanced by John’s provision of a historic map of the town, which enabled us to appreciate how much the present townscape reflects its origins as a classic medieval planted town, with its distinctive burgage plots. Our visit coincided with the town’s annual Festival (which included a ‘rival’ walking tour of the town, organised by the Sodbury and District Historical Society, which we did our best not to get tangled up with!)  and also provided the unexpected opportunity to see inside the town’s medieval parish church.

GLHA Summer Afternoon meeting 2023

The Association’s Summer Afternoon Meeting was held in Blockley on Sunday, 2 July, and was organised by Blockley Heritage Society.




Around 70 people attended and were able to view a series of displays on the history of Blockley in St George’s Hall and the adjacent Heritage Centre.

Following an introductory talk on the history of the town by the Society’s President, Jeremy Bourne, attendees had a choice of either a talk on the history of nearby Northwick Park, given by Roger Thornburgh, or one of three visits. Jeremy Bourne led a walk to the parish church of St Peter & St Paul, Penny Balhatchet took a group along Blockley High Street to discover the history of the town’s shops and shopping and David Artingstall took another group to Snugborough Mill, the largest and most impressive of a series of mills along the Blockley Brook.  At the Mill, its owner, Rupert Williams-Ellis, who has been restoring the building, recounted its history and led guests on a short walk through its garden to see two other historic Blockley mills: Gaunt’s and Westmacott’s.


The mid-19th-century Westmacott’s Mill

(now converted into flats, as Blockley Court) seen from the grounds of Snugborough Mill.


Penny Balhatchet leads the Shops walk.


   The day was ‘rounded off’ in the traditional GLHA fashion with a splendid afternoon tea and the chance to look again at the various displays.


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