Gloucestershire Heritage Hub

Gloucestershire Archives

Gloucestershire landscapes photography competition, 2018


Do you take photographs? Would you like to see your photograph displayed in the new Heritage Hub at Gloucestershire Archives? If your answer is yes then read on…

We are currently transforming our building in Alvin Street Gloucester and are seeking high quality photographs to celebrate the beauty of the local landscape.

Three winning photos will form feature walls inside the new Heritage Hub buildings, where they will be seen by over 10,000 visitors each year.

The 3 winners and 9 runners-up will each receive four 2019 calendars featuring their photographs.  All 12 winners will also be offered a tour of Gloucestershire Archives’ treasures.  

Competition rules

  • The closing date for entries is 12 noon on Friday 6th July 2018.        
  • The competition is open to all. Those under 16 need their parent’s or guardian’s permission.
  • Entrants must have taken any photos entered and own the copyright.
  • No more than 3 photographs per entrant.

We reserve the right to exclude any photographs we believe may have been edited excessively

  • The competition will be judged by Professor John Ingledew, author and professional photographer who has curated many photographic exhibitions; County Councillor Ray Theodoulou; and Heather Forbes, County Archivist

Image criteria and specification

The image must show the landscape of Gloucestershire or South Gloucestershire.

  • The image must be landscape format (not portrait) and uncropped.
  • The image must be high quality resolution - a minimum of 300 dpi (dots per inch) and 6000 x 3500 pixels (due to the size of the walls: 4290mm x 2240mm; 6120mm x 2540mm; 4500mm x 2900mm).  
  • The image will show off the beauty of the local landscape and should not be gloomy or excessively dark. We aim to select well composed, quality images reflecting different areas of the historic county, such as forest, rolling hills, River Severn etc. that will appeal to the public.
  • We ask that you send a printout or low resolution image initially. These will not be returned. If your image is short-listed, we will ask you to send your high resolution image. Please be sure to keep your original file/s.

How to enter

  • EITHER - send an A4 print of your image, with your name, address, telephone number, email address to Gloucestershire Archives, Clarence Row, Alvin Street, Gloucester GL1 3DW. Please mark the envelope ‘Gloucestershire Heritage Hub photo competition’. 
  • OR - send a LOW resolution image (no more than 2MB) to  with ‘GHH photo competition’ in the subject line of your email.

Please submit a brief description (up to 60 words) of the photo, including its location. We will use these details, with the winners’ names, in the plaques for each photographic wall. Also in the calendar, social media and publicity to promote the winners.

GOOD LUCK. We look forward to hearing from you.


Entries will not be returned so please remember to keep a copy. Unsuccessful entrants will not be contacted and we will not provide feedback on entries.

Entrants will retain copyright in the photographs that they submit. By entering the competition entrants grant to Gloucestershire County Council (Gloucestershire Archives) the right to publish and exhibit their photographs within the Heritage Hub building in Alvin Street, Gloucester and on the Gloucestershire Archives’ website in perpetuity. Also for use in calendar, social media and other publicity to promote the work of the winners.

Gloucestershire County Council (Gloucestershire Archives) will only use personal details supplied for the purposes of administering this competition. We will only keep your personal details for as long as is necessary to fulfil these purposes, then securely destroy/delete personal information provided. We will not pass on details to a third party other than the competition judges. The winners’ names will be displayed next to their photographic wall, within the calendar, and used in publicity to promote the winners.

Many thanks to Hugh Morrison for supplying the beautiful photographs at the top of this article (copyright:  Hugh Morrison).

My name is Kate O’Keefe

I’m always writing little notes to myself as I increasingly find that things are liable to slip my mind.

Being based at Gloucestershire Archives is a daily reminder of the importance of preserving our shared history, and how the story of our family is the story of us.

I’ve been appointed to manage the EVOKE reminiscence project which is part of For The Record’. EVOKE aims to help people living with memory loss and dementia, using a reminiscence-based approach which has been shown to ‘increase the confidence of carers, improve communication with those living with dementia, and provide resources to support people to live well with dementia’.

Reconnecting people with their past is something I was involved in when I worked at Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museum: I was part of an education team which took ‘handling’ objects from the collections out into the community. I’ll never forget seeing a woman’s horrified expression on seeing a washing dolly, as she remembered the drudgery of wash days when she was newly married. Or a retired farmer who, cradling a set of long combination underwear, attributed his long life and good health to the fact that he had worn something very similar in his youth.

The EVOKE project aims to make a similar impact. It will use a computer ‘app’ called House of Memories to deliver reminiscence sessions which will be sparked by a specially created Gloucestershire package of photos and other memorabilia. House of Memories was developed by staff at Liverpool Museums. It’s won awards and plenty of evidence has been collected to show that it has a positive impact on people living with memory loss and dementia, generating a good feeling which lasts beyond the sessions.

If you know about a group or a setting which you think might enjoy an informal session with House of Memories, or if you would like to get involved with the project, please get in touch with me.

Kate O’Keefe, Engagement Manager for Older People

01452 425447 Katherine.o'


The House of Memories app is a starting point for relaxed conversations based on familiar things.

Exciting new ‘World War I’ layer launched on Know Your Place

A new resource layer highlighted with eye-catching poppy symbols went live on the Know Your Place website in March (see

For the past few months Cheltenham Local History Society volunteers at Gloucestershire Archives have been helping to create this resource from local historian David Drinkwater’s personal World War I project.

Over the years David has amassed well over 7,000 images of servicemen and women published in the wartime issues of the Cheltenham Chronicle and Gloucestershire Graphic, also producing a spreadsheet to index them. When David and I met up during a KYP event at last year’s Gloucester History Festival, we realised that KYP might be a great way of sharing this collection with the wider world.

We decided to test it out with Cheltenham images. Some detective work was needed to be able to pin the images to the exact locations on the KYP map. This is where the local knowledge of our Cheltenham volunteers was invaluable. After an introductory training session and with some additional research material provided by David (copies of directories and electoral rolls, and also James Hodsdon’s invaluable Historical Gazetteer of Cheltenham), the team set to work finding precise addresses for the Cheltenham entries and pinning the images and associated information. All the entries created so far have been uploaded to the new KYP information layer titled ‘World War I’.

The screenshots that follow show you what you can find there. 

1. I entered ‘Cheltenham’ in the address box (top left of screen) and ticked to select the World War I layer in the right hand menu to limit my view to the new layer. As you can see, Cheltenham is full of poppies! (KYP automatically opens up with the first edition OS map on the left half of the screen and the modern map on the right – you can drag the vertical bar to reveal more or less of each map or select different maps from the Basemaps menu) 


2. You can then either zoom in to browse entries by location on the map, or use the Search tool on the menu to look for a specific name or keyword. I typed in ‘wounded’ and got 274 results. The first 3 are shown on the screenshot (you would just scroll down to see all the results). Each result has a hyperlink which takes you directly to the location on the map. Here I clicked on the first entry, for Roy Sindley, and the thumbnail record popped up:


3. The description attached to the KYP entry is a summary of the original newspaper article. Just click on the thumbnail image to see the scanned image of the full article, as in the next screenshot. Roy’s photo and the details of his injury would have been sent into the newspaper by his parents:


At the moment there are 3 information layers for KYP Gloucestershire – a Community layer created by submissions from local heritage organisations and individuals, an Industrial Archaeology layer created as a pilot for KYP by the Gloucestershire Society for Industrial Archaeology and the World War I layer.

The WWI layer will eventually extend well beyond Cheltenham. The Cheltenham Chronicle and Gloucestershire Graphic circulated widely across Gloucestershire including parts of present day South Gloucestershire. We’re looking for additional volunteers to help complete this task – it can be done via internet access at home or at the Archives. Please contact me if you are interested in getting involved.

Julie Courtenay, Collections Leader, Gloucestershire Archives

Humans like to make their mark

Not many people know this; there is a little time capsule, of sorts, secreted in the new Heritage Hub. It is on a wall, once a doorway, which has been bricked up by the builders. Each of the bricks has been signed and dated by staff at Gloucestershire Archives, as well as by several volunteers and partners. Some have embellished their signatures with little line drawings, others have written a message as to how long they have worked here. Another simply says, “Welcome!”, and underneath each name is the person’s job title or role.

The bricked-up doorway is unlikely to be revealed until major renovations take place again – in 100 years? 200 years? Who knows, but there is a little piece of our shared team history within that doorway; it was fun to do, we made our mark, and we recorded ourselves in the most basic way people have been recording themselves for centuries. I think just about everyone participated; each day a new signature appeared and everyone crowded round the redundant doorway to see. It was rather like an interactive art installation. Maybe in 200 years it will be seen as just another bit of graffiti in a public building!


 Humans like to make their mark, and Gloucestershire Archives at the Heritage Hub is full of records that reveal people making their mark. Sometimes it is literally that – a simple “X” on a deed or indenture. Today, lots of people use social media to make their mark (the new Heritage Hub has its own Face Book page, and Twitter feed), and we must be mindful of all things digital, like the inspirational “Know Your Place” web-based mapping tool.

Over the next few months, we will be welcoming customers and visitors to the new Heritage Hub – Phase 1 opened on 27th March 2018, with Phase 2 being due for completion by the end of the summer. They will, in different ways, make their mark on the Hub. We hope to welcome many more community groups, for example; we plan to offer a range of training sessions showing groups how to gather, keep and share their documented heritage; we will have more volunteers doing a wider range of tasks and we will be engaging with different audiences through our project work and outreach.

These are exciting times, as we see everyone’s hard work coming to fruition. The new Heritage Hub is finally open and it is time to welcome new and old alike – customers, partners, volunteers, visitors, neighbours and friends. Please come and visit, and see how you can make your mark!



Visit to Liverpool Museum

I love museums, and I love Liverpool, so the opportunity to combine both for work seemed almost too good to be true. I went there to have some training on the House of Memories app which was developed by the education team there, and which is going to be the basis of reminiscence sessions I am planning over the coming weeks in community settings around the county.  

The training was promoted as being for ‘Family and Friends’ of people with dementia and there were about 15 of us there, including one or two who had recently been diagnosed with the illness. The session was funny, moving and most of all very practical – showing people how they could use objects and images from the museum (or in our case, from the archives) to provoke memories, stories and feelings of wellbeing in people with memory problems. The atmosphere at the end of the training was one I would be thrilled if I could replicate when I am ‘in the hot-seat’ , delivering sessions myself: people left feeling inspired, cheered and looking forward to seeing what else they could do with the app.

Kate O'Keefe

Collections Care training

Collections Care staff have recently run several training sessions. These training sessions piloted some of our new Heritage Hub training modules.

Training on the 5 February was titled ‘Keeping: Safe Use – Handling and preparation for digitisation’

Training on the 8 March was titled ‘Keeping: Collection care and protection’ and was for volunteers from Painswick.

Both sessions included –

  • What is Collection Care?

With the 5 February session also including -

  • How do we prevent damage? This included a look at the 10 agents of deterioration and handling guidelines.
  • How do we prepare items for digitisation? Here we looked at materials and formats and their impact on image capture, condition checking and if it needs the attention of a conservator, and preparation of documents for imaging.

And the 8 March session included –

  • How do we prevent damage? We touched on risk assessment and the prioritisation of actions.
  • How do we store and protect items? This focused on storage furniture, understanding and sourcing archival quality materials, and using protective enclosures.

Each session took place over a day with participants able to buy their lunch at Roots, the lovely community café just around the corner from Archives, in Alvin Street.

‘Carole Maxwell (Gloucestershire Local History Association) said how much they enjoyed and appreciated the training you delivered recently.  She said it had really inspired them, and they had gone straight back and said to the Town Clerk that they know exactly what they needed.’




Artist Activity at the Heritage Hub

Mosaic making sessions

Lynda and Angela, the two artists who are TomatoJack Arts, recently spent two days at the Archives running mosaic drop-in sessions. Everyone was welcome to come along and meet the artists, find out what’s involved in making the mosaic panels destined for the community garden, see the artwork in progress and have a go at mosaicing.

Visitors, volunteers and staff helped to complete the ‘Notable People’ mosaic by sticking vitreous glass tiles to the panel.


Lynda and Angela also ran two workshops for young people involved in the Aston Project. The Aston project seeks to engage young people in positive community activity and is run by Gloucestershire constabulary. The young people, as well as helping to make the panel, also made a coaster to take home and had a guided tour of the Archives. During the tour Collections Care introduced them to the resident rat (or his bones at least!).


The completed industry panel

There will be five panels each one focusing on a different aspect of Gloucestershire life and heritage and are due for completion the end of May

Illustration sessions

Imogen Harvey-Lewis, the illustrator, has been working with young people from Kingsholm Primary School. Imogen encouraged the young people to use where they live and their own family history as inspiration for stories and drawings . Imogen will use the young people's ideas as part of her design for the mural on the Bridge House wall.



 Imogen will be on site later in the year and you can drop in and watch her as she prepares and completes the mural.

Kim Kenny, For the Record Project Officer



Did you know?

Gloucestershire Heritage Hub is virtual – as well as physical?

We have a website at, as well as social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter – look for @GlosHeritageHub. There have been lots of fabulous items posted, but my favourite so far has to be PI day complete with Gloucestershire’s most glorious Royal Lamprey Pie…


We’re using Twitter and Facebook to share fascinating facts, notices, events or other information that we think will be of interest in an informal, immediate way. We want to provoke discussion and memories, and facilitate conversations between our followers.

If you’d like to participate follow or like us on Twitter and/or Facebook. If you are a particularly keen social media user why not volunteer with us like, re-tweet and share our posts with your own networks.

Local History

Avon Local History & Archaeology

In association with the Regional History Centre UWE

9.30 – 4.30 Saturday 21 April 2018


Religious beliefs and practices have influenced many aspects of our area’s past and present: the coming of Christianity; the reformation; the fierce conflicts of the 17th century; the rise of nonconformity; churches’ struggles to cope with the rising population in the 19th century; the subsequent decline of religious observances; the advent of other religions from abroad: Mormons from America, Sikhs and Muslims from the east. Religion has shaped government and politics, individual morality, defined and altered social status, altered the landscape and the streetscape.

We hope to look – selectively, because the topic is so vast – at the origins and early years of a church in medieval Bristol; the local shattering of the church of England in the 17th century; the social impact Wesley’s ideas made on 18th century people; the catholic emancipation furore of the 1820s and 1830s; local mission churches in the 19th century; how religious observances and building affected a Bristol Victorian suburb; and how the Mormons came to Bristol and grew.

Speakers lined up include Rob Harding and Jonathan Harlow of UWE; Gary Best of Wesley’s New Room; ALHA books author John Stevens; Mike Youings from Nailsea, Bob Lawrence of ALHA and B&AFHS; and Wendy Thompson of Weston-super-mare and the Church of JC of LDS.

This will be the fourth ALHA Local History Day held at the Frenchay campus of the University of the West of England. Talks and displays will be in the B block lecture theatre; refreshments in the café in S block (the New Redland building). Ample free parking.

Doors open from 9.15. Food and drink from the S block cafe in the coffee break and in the lunch hour (arrangements for ordering in advance the same as last year), or bring your own. We welcome displays and sales stalls – with two free tickets per booked exhibitor.

To book please visit the ALHA website

Further information can also be found on the booking form.

Cirencester Archaeological & Historical Society

The Society was, perhaps unusually, founded by members of the Urban District Council, led by Councillor Gordon Young. In 1955 the postwar redevelopment of Cirencester was beginning to stir. It was known that Cirencester was rich in archaeology, as something was unearthed almost whenever a hole was dug. There were at that time no legal requirements to search for, save or document archaeology.

Councillor Gordon Young

Councillor Young floated the idea of a society to monitor developments at a Rotary meeting, and considerable interest was raised. Within a few months the Society was formed and started visiting various excavations. A 1980 Newsletter article describes these beginnings.

So much work was needed that a separate organisation was formed of interested people and professionals, which became the Cirencester Excavation Committee. The Committee’s annual activities were summarised in the Society’s Newsletter, which started in 1958.


The Cirencester Excavation Committee eventually became Cotswold Archaeology, now one of the leading archaeology companies in the country, which spreads its interests far and wide.

Like most local societies we hold a series of talks every year. They are now reported on our website, as well as in the local press. The Newsletter includes submitted articles. We also published longer articles in the Miscellany series, which ran for several years.

Over the years the society has run numerous projects, many described on our website. One of the longest running was to do with turnpikes and milestones. Reports appeared for many years of members’ activities on the various roads radiating from Cirencester. We are hoping to gather all this together in one place. It will be no surprise that a founder member of the Milestone Society is a recent Chairman of our Society.

As with many other societies, we have a project on the memorials to the dead of the First World War. An exhibition was mounted for a month in 2014 in the Corinium Museum, supported by a Heritage Lottery grant, which also funded related activity by Arts groups in the town.

Cirencester has two major memorials to the dead, one on the Parish Church wall, and the other on the walls of the Memorial Hospital. The names do not agree! You can read the story as we know it so far on our website. This lists all the names and what we know so far about the dead, in some cases, nothing, and in others a great deal, much culled from the newspapers of the time. The Memorial Hospital has a history of its own, see Newsletter 48.

Last year we joined with other local organisations to celebrate 900 years since the founding of Cirencester Abbey, giving talks and helping the public to build a Lego model of the Abbey. Our Newsletter contains articles about the Abbey on many occasions over the years, starting with issue no.2.


The Lego team 

This year we are hosting the annual Summer Meeting of the Gloucestershire Local History Association on Saturday June 23rd.  Members of the public welcome. Details and booking form are on our website. Spaces are limited, so book early.

News from Victoria County History, Gloucestershire

Founded in 1899 and originally dedicated to Queen Victoria, the VCH is an encyclopaedic record of England's places and people from earliest times to the present day. Based at the Institute of Historical Research in the University of London since 1933, the VCH is written by historians working in counties across England.

The latest newsletter from Gloucestershire (8) contains all the news of the latest developments as our editors and volunteers continue to research our three areas of activity: the Sodburys, Cheltenham and Cirencester.

We also say goodbye to two of our hard-working editors: John Chandler, our Consultant Editor, who has been with the Trust since its inception, and Francis Boorman, who has contributed so much as editor of the Cirencester volume. John is not completely severing his links with the Trust. We thank them both for their exceptional contributions to the success of the Trust in continuing the work of the VCH. As we bid them farewell, we also say welcome to new VCH researcher Katy Layton-Jones.

Newsletter number 8 also includes news from Gloucestershire’s County Co-ordinator, Jan Broadway, articles about an interesting find at the Archives, the Parents’ National Educational Union (PNEU) in Cirencester Schools 1918-36 Part Two and information about a new study helping to explain the foundations upon which present-day Cheltenham was constructed (Cheltenham before the spa – Alex Craven and Beth Hartland).

To see the latest VCH Gloucestershire newsletter and read more about the work visit 

VCH Gloucestershire, c/o Gloucestershire Archives, Clarence Row, Alvin Street, Gloucester GL1 3DW.

Gloucester's Anglo-Saxon Warrior Queen:

Celebrating 1,100 years since the death of Aethelflaed

This June, organisations across Gloucester will be commemorating the life of Aethelflaed, an influential but often overlooked female leader who was buried at St Oswald’s, Gloucester 1,100 years ago.

From Thursday 7th – Tuesday 12th June, there will be activities across the city for schools, families, visitors and locals. The weekend will see the transformation of St Oswald’s Priory into an Anglo-Saxon ‘living history’ settlement. You will be able to experience 10th century life and uncover more about St Oswald’s Priory through geo-physical surveys.

Fascinating talks will take place at Blackfriars Priory on Sunday 10th with a mini Gloucester History Festival, featuring Janina Ramirez, Tom Holland and others.

To book tickets and find out more, contact

The Civic Trust will be hosting City Walls guided tours and fun craft activities at St Michael’s Tower. An Aethelflaed exhibition in the Museum of Gloucester opens on Saturday 9th June and is on display until Saturday 22nd September. 

Witness Aethelflaed being carried through the City to her final resting place at St Oswald’s Priory with a parade on Saturday 9th June from North Quay.

Gloucester Cathedral’s Evensong on Tuesday 12th June will be dedicated to Aethelflaed.

To receive a FREE education pack about Aethelflaed, available now from

There will be a buzzing programme of live performances, including period music and contemporary theatre, storytelling and music from local artists, commissioned especially for the occasion. Grove (pictured below), an up-and-coming, young, local singer and musician has been commissioned to write new music about Aethelflaed.

Witness Aethelflaed being carried through the City to her final resting place at St Oswald’s Priory with a parade on Saturday 9th June from North Quay.

Gloucester Cathedral’s Evensong on Tuesday 12th June will be dedicated to Aethelflaed.

We are grateful to our funders: National Lottery: Heritage Lottery Fund & Arts Council England, Gloucester City Council and Gloucester BID

Project partners are: Gloucester City Council, Gloucester Culture Trust, Gloucester History Festival, Marketing Gloucester, Gloucester Civic Trust, Gloucester Cathedral and Museum of Gloucester

ADVANCE NOTICE:  Save the date - Gloucester History Festival 1st-16th September

500 signatures

Sue Jones writes -

This rather fragile book in Gloucestershire Archives to which I was drawn almost by accident has proved to be a really exciting discovery. In over 14 years of intermittent research into the women’s suffrage movement in the North East and, more recently, Cheltenham and the Cotswolds, it is the only undiscovered resource I have come across.

GA reference - D5130/6/6

In 1912, the Cheltenham M.P. James Agg-Gardner introduced the second reading of the Conciliation Bill in the Commons. It would have given the vote to about one million women and would have been a milestone on the route to women’s suffrage. It didn’t succeed but the women’s suffrage societies in Cheltenham organised the presentation of a book of thanks to Agg-Gardner with nearly 500 signatures being collected very quickly. In this book, I was able to see the signatures of those prominent activists I had already identified but, more importantly, to collect names of many more women (and men) who were supporters of the cause. Using the 1911 census, I have therefore been able to put ‘flesh’ on these names and to build up a much fuller picture of the movement in the town. This is remarkable when, as in most areas, there are no existing membership lists or minutes.

So – the domestic servants have emerged alongside the retired colonial civil servants and the draper’s assistants alongside their managing director. A picture can be developed of much more colour and variety, and this has helped me in the building up of a much larger database of those involved.

For more information visit

Discovery down under


A recent enquiry to the local Dursley & Cam Historical Society was referred to me by their Chairman, Andy Barton. He had received a photograph of an AC/DC motor generator set mounted on a cast iron bedplate clearly bearing the name Mawdsley’s Ltd. Dursley, Glos.


Shows AC/DC MG set as found.                                               Detail showing field coil clamp.                                            


Detail of brush gear and rocker with coiled collector lead to allow rocker adjustment

The machine had been discovered in the Hawkes Bay, New Zealand  Opera House when work was started to reinforce the foundations against future earthquakes. Many tons of concrete have been pumped into these basement areas and the motor generator set was one of the many old artefacts found in a sealed room before the pumping operation commenced. The Opera House was built in 1915 and the enquiry was whether the set dated from then or a later period.

Mr Mawdsley began manufacturing his machines at Dursley in 1907 and his earliest designs employed yokes of cast iron with the poles cast in as one piece and no Inter/Commutating poles.  With the nameplate carrying patent No’s 6666/02; 9604/03 and 19174/07 and the yoke and poles clearly of solid cast iron I realised it must be one of these very early designs and so could date the set from the very early years of the Opera House where it may have been used to supply DC power for arc lighting or scenery hoists motors.


            Generator(Dynamo) nameplate

The nameplate data  of 80 volts and 80 amperes gives an output of 6.4kW at 900 rpm and, from the  information I had found from this period and included in my book, “The Mawdsley Story”, I deduced it should be in the M6 frame size and subsequent measurements taken in New Zealand confirm that this is the model,  with its 10 inch diameter armature.

The AC  induction driving motor, an early model of a type invented in 1888, was made by General Electric, Schenectady, USA. With a nameplate output of 20HP at 960 rpm it may have been the nearest stock size machine that was then available.  Mawdsley’s, themselves, did not manufacture AC motors until the late 1920’s 

This is a very rare find of one of Mr Mawdsley’s original design machines and could well be the only one still in existence.  In 1957, to celebrate the Firm’s fiftieth anniversary, an exhibition of old machines was held and, despite enquiries made at the time, no “M” type machines were found.

I understand that the Opera House people intend to make a museum space for the various artifacts found so, hopefully, these very old machines will be preserved .

L H Jones CEng. MIET.      




Family History

The third move

Well our third move as a Family History Centre is now upon us. We will have been at the Family History Centre in Clarence Row since 2009 having moved from Northgate Mansions our first permanent centre. We are now really looking forward to moving into the new Heritage Hub.

Pictures showing the Centre in Clarence Row after the move from Northgate Mansions.


Preparations for the move from the Frith Centre into the Heritage Hub


Patiently waiting...but still smiling!

Finally....on the move.


Home at last!


 We look forward to meeting you all in the new Heritage Hub.

For more information visit


Friends of Gloucestershire Archives

A very special welcome.

We are very pleased to have helped with the fundraising to enable the ‘For the Record’ project to become a reality. From an early stage we were keen to support the production of iconic welcome desks in the Heritage Hub.  The ash desks were commissioned from Smith and Choyce based in Barton Street, Gloucester, a traditional firm specialising in bespoke architectural joinery with over 80 years’ experience.  

Here is the Family History desk under construction in their Barton Street workshop in January 2018 and the finished desk installed in March 2018.


We’re particularly pleased with the engraved Heritage Hub logo on the main visitors’ reception desk.


There is also a third matching ash desk in the research room from which original archives are issued to researchers. This has kindly been funded by the Wolfson Foundation, along with the rest of the furniture in this area.


South Gloucestershire

Filton Community History Group

Saving Filton’s History in word and Image

On 9 March 2018 at the Heritage Partnership meeting, heritage groups in South Gloucestershire celebrated the work of Filton Community History Group, which is winding up after 20 years of oral history and publication.  A cake was provided by the group and Linda Coode, Collections Manager, Aerospace Bristol outlined the achievements of the group. 

Linda said “It is important to recognise how Filton Community History protected a very unique history. Some of the people originally recorded have now died, but thanks to Filton Community History, their memories live on.”

Linda also said “All have championed the unique heritage of Filton, and their hard work has provided the foundations for the exhibitions at Aerospace Bristol. It is now up to us to continue the work that they started, and make sure that we build on this legacy for future generations.”


Linda Coode, Stan Sims, Jackie Sims, David Hardill               Jackie and Stan Sims cutting the cake

Jane Tozer takes up the story:

It all began with a millennium-funded history project for Filton schools. Jackie Sims, the enthusiastic driving force in the group, led the exploration of our Victorian history.

We recorded the stories of older Filton residents. Memories of work and play going back to the 1940s were published locally in eight more booklets and one that was professionally published - Filton Voices (Tempus) came out in 2003.  Many of the stories are about working at ‘the BAC’ but there are accounts of the butcher, the baker, the dairy, the laundry and many other businesses in Filton.

Lottery funding and South Gloucestershire Council Small Grants have helped us to publish 170 interviews in all. Jackie Sims was instrumental in getting Filton House listed. When, in 2006, we saw the BAC centenary coming up, we convened and hosted the group meetings which resulted in the area-wide BAC 100 celebration in 2010.

For the British Aircraft Corporation Centenary we did sixty five interviews which were locally published in 2011 in the book, British Workmanship at its Best.  These interviews have also been made available to the archive at the new Aerospace Museum on Filton Airfield for their ‘listening posts’.  They are also being kept for family and local history purposes at Gloucestershire Archives.

Meanwhile Stan Sims has been keeping a photographic record of the changes in Filton’s infrastructure, and several people have passed us their own collections of documents and photographs. These will also be archived.

We published a history of the 1940 Filton Air Raid, helped Airbus while they were restoring Filton House and have advised other groups on interview techniques and best practice, but now, reluctantly, we have decided it is time to retire.

Note: all our books are available on sale or loan at Filton Library.

For Further information contact: Jane Marley

Filton Community History Group's achievements  

  • 1999 – 2000: Schools project working with three classes of ten year olds teaching the history of Filton (Heritage Lottery Fund Grant)
  • Memories of old Filton collected and published ‘Filton Talking’. 
  • 2003: Awards for All grant for further oral history – resulted in approximately 30 interviews and a second book, ‘Filton Voices’ (published by Tempus) 
  • 2010: for St Peter’s Church - a history of the 1940 Filton Air Raid was published. 
  • 2011: interviews from workers at BAC and R-R called ‘British Workmanship at its Best’ published as a book (BAC 100 project, Heritage Lottery Fund). 
  • 11 books published; 170 interviews recorded.
  • Jackie Sims instrumental in getting Filton House listed
  • Information exchange with Airbus whilst Filton House is restored. 
  • Contributions made to the Three Centuries of Transport Aviation Archive website.
  • Contributions made to the BBC People’s War project in South Gloucestershire. 
  • Other groups advised on interview techniques and best practice. 
  • Talks about old Filton given to many local groups. 
  • Gloucestershire Archives, houses our interview audio files together with the texts, and other material. 
  • Aerospace Bristol provided with books from our library, audio for their display and our British Aircraft Corporation history archive.
  • Jackie Sims is working on several individual studies.
  • Stan Sims has a huge collection of Filton photographs (to be archived). Stan encourages promotion of heritage at South Gloucestershire and local council meetings  
  • Large collection of local memorabilia and books held. 

WW11 Stories project update

We are delighted to announce that we have been awarded funding by the Heritage Lottery Fund for our South Gloucestershire Second World War Stories project. Made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, the project will explore the impact of the Second World War and growing up in the post war period. A huge thank you to all of you for helping to develop the project plans and for your letters of support.

We are currently in the process of recruiting two part-time project officers to deliver the project over an 18 month period starting in April this year. Once they are in post, they will be begin to research the Second World War in South Gloucestershire. Please do let us know if you have any photos or information that you have already collected about the Second World War in South Gloucestershire. They will use their research to inspire reminiscence sessions for older people to share memories and they will record a selection of their stories through further interviews.

We aim to create a small collection of stories that are easily accessible. For a younger generation raised on You Tube, we want to create a series of short films that are concise and engaging. With these, we aim to create a real understanding of what the war and post war periods were like and seek to generate understanding between different generations.

We will share the project through schools workshops, public events, a touring exhibition, publishing the stories and films on-line alongside resources for future work and extending existing digital platforms such as Know Your Place. We hope to hold some special commemoration events featuring evacuation days with Avon Valley Railway. As part of the project we will also work with Gloucestershire Archives to provide some training to museums and heritage groups on digital archiving.

Following on from the great work that has been carried out on the First World War, we also hope you will support us to commemorate those who were lost in the Second World War by publishing stories of Second World War soldiers commemorated on local war memorials on an update of the First World War website. Please do let us know if you already hold any information on Second World War casualties.


We look forward to collaborating with you on this project. If you have any comments or questions, please contact Alison Catlin on or call 01454 865835.


Alison Catlin: Public Art and Cultural Events Co-ordinator: South Gloucestershire Council: 01454 865835



Inspiring Women:

The Legacy of the First World War in South Gloucestershire

South Gloucestershire Council Cultural Services has been awarded funding by the Heritage Lottery Fund for a project: Inspiring Women: The Legacy of the First World War in South Gloucestershire. The project will explore and share personal stories of South Gloucestershire’s women to demonstrate how the First World War impacted on their lives through the last century, up to and including the present day.

The story of women’s history in South Gloucestershire will include the role women have played in the development of our distinctive local industries: farming, engineering and aeronautical and women’s achievements in culture and politics. The project will celebrate the extension of the franchise to women with the UK Representation of the People Act 1918. We will aim to inspire women from all walks of life, promoting an understanding of the legacy and value of the women from the First World War onwards and how this has influenced our lives today.

Vote for your Inspiring Woman of South Gloucestershire.

Help us to obtain information about the most inspiring women in South Gloucestershire from the First World War up to the present day by supplying the project with information.

For a nomination form please contact Jane Marley, Museums and Heritage Officer, South Gloucestershire Council

       Heritage Lottery Funding logo


Throughout the project, South Gloucestershire will work with South Gloucestershire Museums Group, South Gloucestershire Heritage Partners, Gloucestershire Heritage Hub, Gloucestershire Archives, Gloucestershire Police Archives, Imperial War Museum and University of Hertfordshire and University of West of England Humanities Research Council First World War Engagement Centre 'Everyday Lives in War'.


Gloucestershire Police Archives

100 years

The police history website goes from strength to strength and has led to a big increase in enquiries. We have also had lots more interest from people wanting to become volunteers for the Police Archive.

HQ recently had a display to celebrate International Women’s Day and 100 years since the vote and 100 years since woman joined Gloucestershire Constabulary.



Sue Webb says "This picture celebrates the event and is not taken to celebrate my birthday!"

We are hoping to attend a number of events over the next few months including the Gloucestershire Local History Association's 2018 Local History Day (at Churchdown Community Centre, Gloucester on Saturday 28 April) and the force open day on Saturday15th September 2018.   

For more information visit

About the website

The website is based on the archives of Gloucestershire Police and has been created by the Gloucestershire Police Archive Volunteers as part of “For the Record”. You can browse through photos, memories, stories and historical information related to the history of Gloucestershire Constabulary.

Gloucestershire Constabulary Archive Group was formed in 1998 and first became involved with the county’s police heritage when a number of retired police officers were asked to record details of some photograph albums which had been discovered on police premises.

The project and the group has evolved to include members of the wider police family as well as people interested in police history. A database of archive material and images has been created containing almost 8,000 entries- with many more waiting to be added.

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