Jackie Sims, local historian
As well as being the foremost researcher and publiciser of local Filton History from the late 1990s,
Jackie was deeply involved in the community development group, ‘Filton People’,
In 1994 Stan and Jackie Sims conceived the idea of a group which would identify the Filton community’s social, environmental and recreational needs, and then promote and encourage community solutions. To this end a steering group was set up and a questionnaire was sent out to every household. The subsequent Filton Profile Report was then sent to Filton and South Gloucestershire councillors, and a copy lodged with the local Filton Library. With encouragement and funding from Filton Town Council and South Gloucestershire Council the issues of local transport, the needs of older people and of children and young people, and of the environment were addressed. The name was changed to Filton People and continued until 2008 when the work was taken over by the Southern Brooks Community Development group.
Throughout this period both Stan and Jackie Sims led the research, funding-provision and administration and were the source of many of the innovative ideas.
During this period Jackie Sims was also researching Filton’s history. Beginning with the listing of the aviation headquarters, Filton House (now Pegasus House), she worked to promote and record the local history of the community.
In 1999 she obtained a Millenium grant of £23,000 for a project working with three classes of local schoolchildren to discover Filton’s rich history. This kicked off a series of oral history interviews, with the result that eventually twelve books of local memories were published, one nationally. Where possible these were illustrated and throughout Jackie’s editorial leadership was evident.
The largest oral project was for the BAC Centenary. The stories of workers and ex-employees of both Filton’s local aviation industries were recorded, and the resulting book contained about seventy insights on many aspects of aeroplane manufacture including social, training and wartime conditions. Jackie had overall editorial leadership and the resulting published interview texts were praised by the participants themselves.
‘Your book edit was very smooth. It is excellent how it’s been done’.
Jackie worked on her own projects. Beginning by obtaining the listing of the aviation headquarters, Filton House (now Pegasus House), she researched subjects such as the local Civil Defence, the aviation factory’s development of prefabricated housing, the Shield family’s Laundry and other projects.
During the whole period of Filton Community History’s work Jackie was tireless in encouraging the committee, directing the progress and continuing her own research projects. All this material has been snapped up by Gloucestershire Archives, who now hold the bulk of the group’s work.
Jane Tozer, February 3.2021