Gloucestershire Heritage Hub

Local History

Gloucester History Festival Announcement

Our brand new website  will be launched soon, and we encourage you to check it regularly as we will add content on a rolling basis.

The theme of this year’s festival will be Voyagers and Visionaries to mark the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower’s voyage to America in September 1620. Telling stories of migration, identity and discovery it reveals how journeys near and far have shaped our past.

This year marks a double celebration for Gloucester History Festival – the 10th year of the Festival itself and the 25th year of Heritage Open Days in the city.

  • Saturday 5 - Sunday 20 September 2020
  • With brand new on-line and on-demand content for new digital experiences

We are doing everything we can to deliver some elements of a live programme across the 2 week festival, but inevitably, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event will be much changed with significant online and digital contributions for the first time.

All the elements which have made the event so successful in the past will still be there this year.

We are seizing the opportunity to embrace technological developments, offering a digital programme and access to a range of resources.

Talks will be filmed, and broadcast-quality films will be available to view on the festival website.

All on-line and on-demand content will also be made available online free of charge.

As part of the City Voices element of the festival, Historic England has made a grant to the city to inspire a citywide heritage response to COVID-19.  Entitled ‘Gloucester Looking Up’ it will encourage communities to look up at the buildings, look up online, look up their heritage and ensure that Gloucester’s built and lived heritage is part of a shared recovery. More City Voices information here

City Voices - Gloucester History Festival

Gloucester’s thriving History Festival will make history of its own this year and announces some of its first ever programme of digital online events.

Following the most recent Covid-19 Government advice the Festival team has made the decision to deliver not only the City Voices element of the festival online, but the renowned Blackfriars Talks programme as well.

Festival Manager Jacqui Grange said: “We believe with careful planning we will achieve the same level of professionalism expected of the Festival with our online content. We are putting together an extraordinary programme of events which will not only encompass the City Voices programmes, but the Blackfriars talks too, with some elements of the Heritage Open Days programme also being available online”.

The impressive and digital City Voices programme includes highlights such as:

Kingsholm Looking Up by artist Ellie Shipman; an illustrated guide to the people and places of Kingsholm where people will be able to visit the area, follow a walking a map and ‘look up’ to see vinyl illustrations in the windows across the route

Take it to the Cleaners by artist Hannah Thomson; celebrating the unsung heroes of heritage, ensuring they are recognised for the invaluable work they do. At this online event, audiences will hear about their favourite objects or parts of the heritage sites they clean as well as their own experiences and stories

Diverse-city a project that works across the whole festival resulting in an interactive map which people can follow that raises the profile of BAME heritage across the city. This projects also includes a film about the All Nations Community Centre

Gloucester Firsts by Rider Shafique and Tarsier Films who present two short documentaries which explore Black History through telling the stories of firsts. The first Mosque and first Black Business. The films will include interviews with key community members and will look at the importance and influence of heritage and how people connected to these venues and businesses have continued to support the BAME community today

BSL tour of Gloucester by Deaf artist Oliver Jamin and Christina Wheeler who present a unique and engaging response to 2-3 sites across the city in BSL with subtitles for hearing audiences

Tales from the Cross by Jarek Adams who presents an interactive audio experience designed to stimulate individuals into thinking about their city, its past, present and future and their part in its story.

This City Voices content will be available on the Festival website ( for festival goers online from the launch of the Festival on Saturday 5 – Sunday 20 September. The new website is expected to launch by mid-August.

The Festival team is finalising details of the now online programme of Blackfriars events; details of which will be announced shortly.

The Heritage Open Days programme, celebrating its 25th anniversary this year will still continue in socially distanced manner.

Despite the consequences of Covid-19 this 10th year of Gloucester History Festival promises to be the most innovative year yet.

Gloucester History Festival celebrates stories of the past that are told around the world, in a way that is relevant to people today, but it is a festival very much rooted in Gloucester. Telling the stories of people from the City, who continue to make it such a vibrant, interesting, colourful and special place to live and work is equally important.

Gloucester History Festival is supported by Gloucester City Council and Historic England.


Calling Champions

Become a volunteer Community Champion in connection with the city-wide art exhibition Of Earth and Sky curated by international artist Luke Jerram and Gloucester poet JDPL.

There are two ways in which you can get involved.

  • Volunteer to help with the installation and marshalling of the exhibition
    1. Become part of the installation team creating the artworks on the 20th – 23rd August, helping to steward key exhibits from the opening on 24th August, record the number of people visiting the artworks or helping to complete evaluation forms with visitors.
  • Help to create enjoyment experiences in connection with the artworks so that others can enjoy too
    1. Come together each week on Zoom throughout the two-month exhibition to share their stories and play an active role in encouraging as many people to enjoy the exhibition as possible. The Champion role can be shaped entirely to work with the availability of each individual.

“We are looking for people to have some real fun with the project” Says Beckie Smith, Champions Co-ordinator for Of Earth and Sky. “Explorers, adventurers, creative people, and keep fit enthusiasts who want to have fun on their own, fun with their family or fun with a socially distanced friend.”

You can have fun in any way that you choose. Ideas might include:

  • Creating a selection of tours that people could enjoy, for example the Coffee Shop tour, the historic tour, the buggy friendly tour, the accessible tours, the mid-week runners tour or the pub crawl tour
  • Inputting ideas into the 50 Things To Do with Of Earth and Sky activity sheet which will be available to download throughout the tour, for example, creating twig/leaf/stone art at the sites, log rolling down a hill, or remaking your favourite art-work from recycling at home
  • Setting HIT CLASS challenges in connection with the exhibition pieces, for example 20 push-ups at each artwork, 20 squats at each artwork
  • The watercolour challenge, where hobby artists sit beside the artworks and paint the view that they see from each one
  • Mindfulness Moments where Champions compile a series of mindfulness moments in connection with each artwork
  • Poets Corner, where the poetry represented in each artwork acts as a stimulus for other pieces of creative writing
  • Or any number of other activities that Champion themselves are able to imagine


You and the team will help create material for everyone to enjoy, follow, respond to, and inspired to add to it themselves.

If you want to join a community of people who appreciate the benefits of being outdoors and value the benefits that culture can have on the city, becoming a Champion is for you.

Simply visit Of Earth and Sky, visit and click on the Community Champions button to register your interest. You will be contacted by a member of the team during the week commencing Monday 24th August to start getting involved.

We are looking for your memories!

To be included in our Digital Memory Box Project

We are asking Gloucester Residents to submit their favourite Gloucester based memories to be used in a digital memory box as part of the Gloucester Looking Up project. Entries can be written, spoken and recorded, typed or filmed.

The Digital Memory Box Project is part of Gloucester Looking Up, which is part of the City Voices Programme of Gloucester History Festival.

Jason and Pete from Squeaky Pedal talk about the project. Click on the picture to hear more.

Memories should be submitted by end of Friday 21 August.

For more information and to submit your memory click here

Submissions can also be sent via email too Sophie Evans at

(Please say if you want your submission to be anonymous)

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