Gloucestershire Heritage Hub

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'.


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