Gloucestershire Heritage Hub

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. 
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