Welcome to the Spring 2020 edition of the Heritage Hub e-newsletter
In these difficult times, we send our very best wishes to everyone connected in any way with the Heritage Hub. As far as we’re aware, this is the first time in over 80 years that we’ve had to close the archives to the public, volunteers and staff for more than a couple of weeks.
So what have archives staff been doing during the lockdown? I’m very pleased that some of us have been able to take on key roles helping with the County Council’s COVID19 response, such as shopping and picking up prescriptions for vulnerable folk. A few of us have been redeployed to set up a scanning system from scratch for both the County Council and the City Council. This enables many council colleagues to carry on delivering their services from home.
Post waiting to be scanned, then sorted and placed in folders and finally, filed and boxed.
Others from the archives team are beavering away to make previously inaccessible archive resources available on-line. We are also making sure the collections are safe and secure by regularly monitoring strongroom conditions and carrying out tasks such as emptying dehumidifiers.
Events and training sessions have been postponed for the foreseeable future, so we’ve been exploring different ways to deliver some of our services. Keep an eye on our website and social media for announcements. If you are self-isolating (or ‘under house arrest’ as my father calls it), you may be interested in the articles in this edition about newly available resources. There are also some sites where normal charges have been dropped for a few weeks.
Tell us about your experiences
Gloucestershire Archives gathers, keeps and shares the documented heritage of Gloucestershire and South Gloucestershire. Consequently, we already hold records of previous public health emergencies, from the plague in Medieval times through to the Spanish Flu and typhoid outbreaks in the 20th century. We are now launching an appeal to capture life during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are asking people of all ages to keep a diary or write a short article in the coming weeks and months, to be submitted to the Archives when the crisis is over. So, pick up a pen, Open a Word document or take up your phone and record your experiences, thoughts or feelings about this remarkable time.
Meanwhile, we wish you all well and look forward to providing a warm welcome at the Hub when the restrictions are lifted.
Heather Forbes, County Archivist