Gloucestershire Heritage Hub

Gloucestershire Archives

Building update

Since April, our building site has been re-activated, with our new contractors, Beard Construction.

As a result there has been plenty of activity on site. The tarmacking is complete at the back of the building with the front scheduled in the week beginning 22 July. We know that visitors and volunteers will be particularly pleased when this is done.

Other parts of the building have come a long way since last year.  The new strongrooms are now nearly complete and three miles of new shelving has been installed.


The new entrance is nearing completion with the windows and doors now fitted. It's possible to get a real sense of the lovely light and airy space this will be. One of the new murals, the Donor Tree, designed by Imogen Harvey-Lewis, will be painted on the wall to the right as you enter the main building.  Imogen will be on site to complete the final artworks for the Arts Council England funded artist project which also includes artwork on the boundary wall at the front of the building.


Other spaces also nearly finished include the Dunrossil Centre, Gloucestershire Family History Society’s office, the Registration Service's new office and the Chester-Masterson room where volunteers from the Police Archive will be based.

Although we have been enjoying many of the new facilities for well over a year now it is still an exciting prospect to know it will soon be completely finished. We are so looking forward to August when visitors and staff can fully enjoy the beautiful new building.

We are grateful to Gloucestershire County Council, the National Lottery Heritage Fund and our other funders for making this possible.

The building is only part of our 'For the Record' project. We will continue to deliver the associated Activity Plan until December 2020. Further details of opportunities to get involved are included in this newsletter and on the website.

Playing around with place names

Sometimes we like to have a bit of fun with local place names, in between helping people with their research and all the other things we do. Once we made up the cast list for a melodrama (including Maisey Hampton, our heroine, Stanley Pontlarge her hard-up clergyman uncle, Acton Turville, a cad and a bounder, and Temple Guiting and Clifford Chambers, a pair of unscrupulous lawyers…) – although we never actually managed to write the melodrama itself.

Another time, we found ourselves explaining the pronunciation of various place names through the medium of limericks. It was back in the days before blogs and suchlike, and we never got round to sharing the results, but I’ve used several of them as reminders to myself on how to pronounce the places concerned, and I thought it would be nice to share them now – and to challenge all of you to write some of your own!

There was on old lady from Siston                         
Renowned for her champion bison
To determine its sex
Made her very perplexed
Said she, “this I must take some advice on”     

There once was a young man called Berkeley
Whose name made him terribly narked, he
Said don’t call me berk
Else I’ll call you a jerk
And a jackass, he added, quite darkly

 Berkeley town centre

A gentleman living in Over
Fell madly in love with his hoover
But I’m sad to relate
Passion soon turned to hate
Now they’re living apart in Vancouver

Over Farm Market

There was a young fellow named Carr,
Who lived in the village of Awre,
He was shocked to the core
When he heard it called ‘Ore’,
And he fell to the floor of the bar.

 St Andrew's Parish Church, Awre.

A young rambler walking the lanes
said ‘I always get lost when it rains.
As the sky is so grey,
Please tell me the way
from here to Somerford Keynes.’

Credit for these works of poetic genius goes to Kate Maisey, Averil Kear and James Turtle.

Fancy having a go? Do you know of a Gloucestershire place name that’s always being mispronounced? Now’s your chance to put it right!

Community Garden update

Thank you to everyone who supported our crowdfunding campaign to raise money for 'ShrubHub', our fledgling community garden. Online and offline donations raised about £1,000. We’ve also been awarded just under £1,000 by the One Stop Shop’s “Carriers for Causes” scheme and have got several other funding bids in the pipeline, so fingers crossed.

We’ve had lots of offers of practical help. Young Gloucestershire’s Princes Trust team spent a damp two weeks with us in May. They did a great job renovating our garden furniture and preparing the ground for a wild flower meadow.


Gloucester City Homes have chosen us for their Community Impact Day in September when they will make two raised beds for community use. Planting up the more formal area of the garden outside the Dunrossil Training Suite will start in July, supported by a volunteer team from Shire Hall. We need it to look good for a garden party which will be held on 8 September, during the Gloucester History festival. We hope that our colony of bees can be moved into the garden in September too.  

There’s still lots of time to get involved with all things 'ShrubHub', so do get in touch if you’d like to help or support.

Kate Maisey & Ally McConnell

MISSING Phelps Portraits!

Can you help?

We would be very grateful for any information about the whereabouts of Phelps and Clifford family portraits (and any other personal items) which were sold prior to the sale of Chestal House in Dursley in 1967.


Portrait of W. J. Phelps

The family portraits include -

- Half length portrait of  Captain Arthur Clifford 1908 by H.K.Raine 1908, in uniform of Gloucestershire Regiment (red coat and white stock), face turned to left 24 ½”  x 99”

- Portrait of Esther Gully, wife of John Delafield Phelps, standing in garden face turned to right wearing low neck blue dress with white bodice, left hand raised to breast, flowers in right hand ¾ length 40” x 50”

- John Delafield Phelps – ¾ face turned to right, wearing pale blue tunic and grey surtout coat, hat in right hand, left hand resting on hip

- Similar portrait of lady, ¾ length face to left hand, left hand holding dress, right hand held to breast, wearing low pale blue dress, short sleeves trimmed with white, landscape background. 40” x 50”.

- ¾ length standing portrait of gentleman, ¾ face to right, with wig, wearing surtout coat, frill shirt front and cuffs, architectural background

- Portrait of Miss Edith Clifford, ½ length, nearly full face wearing dark brown robe with hood and crucifix by H Heworth Raine, 22 ½ “ x 29 ½ “, signed R.

- Half length portrait of gentleman, ¾ face to right, wearing large soft hat, in right hand holding pottery mug Reynold school 19 ½ “ x 24 “

- John Phelps, ¾ length portrait standing near table face to right wearing wig, right hand resting on book left hand to breast, dark brown coat

- Marianne, wife of John Phelps, ¾ face turned to left, right hand resting on a table left hand holding a black wrap, wearing low cut crimson gown trimmed white lace and sleeves, small blue bow

Miniatures include  -

- Half length portrait of lady in silver frame

- Portrait of gentleman. ½ length, wearing black coat and white stock in original case

- Bust portrait of same gentleman

- Bust of lady in gold locket frame

- ½ length portrait of gentleman in blue coat and white cravat in case

- ½ length portrait of lady and another of an elderly gentleman, both in pierced and engraved gilt photograph frames

 - 4 well executed portraits of children, on a photo basis, framed in cabinet cases.

A copy of this list of the missing portraits and miniatures is obtainable on request from Gloucestershire Archives or from Andy Barton at

Monthly Memories Café at Gloucestershire Archives

Sunday 7th July will be our fourth Memories Café here at the archives: the café is one of the new ways in which we are trying to reach out to people in our local community.

We had the idea when Kate O’Keefe (who runs our EVOKE reminiscence project) was in the midst of her Dementia Lead training last Autumn. Kate did some research and discovered that many people feel isolated and at a low ebb on a Sunday afternoon.

We’ve invited all our neighbours,  especially people in care homes and supported living communities in the area - and attendance is gradually building. The café offers free refreshments, a broadly ‘historical’ theme (with quizzes and activities) and musical entertainment which is provided by one of our regular archives customers. The staff and volunteers who run the café are Dementia Friends; committed to providing a safe, friendly and welcoming space for our customers. Our aim is simple: that people should have a happy and relaxed time with us and leave feeling cheerful and positive.

If you know someone who might benefit, or if you have time to spare on a Sunday afternoon once a month and would be interesting in volunteering at the café, please get in touch with Kate:


Do you have a turdus in your garden?

You learn an immense amount when working on a building site. But we didn’t expect to be finding out about the breeding habits of blackbirds (turdus merulae).  A hole high up inside the room forming the temporary entrance to the Heritage Hub proved an ideal nesting spot despite the constant flow of people immediately below.  As soon as we saw the first signs of nesting activity, we contacted the council’s ecologist as the building contractors were due to convert the room into the new family history office the following week.  

The blackbird appeared to know each time the ecologist was due to visit. After several days of not visiting the chosen nest-site, she resumed activities in earnest 2 hours before the ecologist’s first visit.  This meant rescheduling building activities and booking in another visit from the ecologist.  The first brood fledged earlier than expected and the blackbird promptly laid her second clutch of eggs on the Sunday before the ecologist visited early Monday morning. Determined not to get caught out again, we installed a wildlife camera and arranged twice-daily progress checks (including over the relevant weekend) well before the next brood were due to fledge.  The second brood of four chicks fledged early on the Monday morning, and we managed to block up the entrance swiftly before the female blackbird laid her third brood of eggs.

Work on the family history office is now proceeding well and is due to be completed on schedule at the end of July.   Meanwhile, many blackbirds are enjoying the cherries in the community garden and we hope ‘our’ turdus merula has found a more appropriate place for any further nesting activities. 

Did you know that there is a 100+ year old blackbird’s nest from Dudbridge in the Museum in the Park in Stroud?

Local History

Dowty update

The Dowty archive is still being listed by the project archivist with the help of about 10 volunteers. The project website is also going from strength to strength – please do check it out! – but we could always have more people putting photographs and scans of documents up.

We are also still undertaking oral history interviews and if anyone used to work for Dowty or any subsidiary companies, please let me know on and I will arrange for an interview.

Oral history volunteers preparing for an interview.

Publicity material for Dowty equipment, c1945

Visit for more information

Local History Day

A successful Local History Day was held at the University of Gloucestershire, School of Business and Technology, on Saturday, 11th May, organised by the Gloucestershire Local History Association. This year’s topic was “Local History Today: themes, challenges and opportunities”.

The day began with an explanation of the postgraduate course in West Midlands History that can be studied at Birmingham University. Dr Matt Cole discussed the topics that can be studied and the resources available for research. More details about the course can be found at The Centre for West Midlands History on the Birmingham University website.

An enjoyable aspect of the Day was the opportunity for people to catch up with friends from other local societies. 70 local history enthusiasts from across the County attended during the Day, which included a break for lunch and a chance to browse the bookstalls provided by Geoff North and the History Press.

After lunch, the Bryan Jerrard Award for the best article in a local history Journal published during the previous year was presented. The winner for 2018 was Louise Ryland-Epton for her article “Cirencester Workhouse under the Old Poor Law” published in Transactions of the Bristol & Gloucestershire Archaeological Society 135 (2017), with the runner-up prize going to Derek Benson for his article “The 1714 Coronation Riot in Tewkesbury” published in Tewkesbury Historical Society Bulletin 27 (2018).Thanks to The History Press for sponsoring the prizes and to Bryan Jerrard for presenting them.


Dr Alan Crosby with Bryan Jerrard and the winners of the Bryan Jerrard Award, Derek Benson and Louise Ryland-Epton

The afternoon speaker was Dr Alan Crosby, the Editor of the British Association for Local History’s Journal, The Local Historian, talking about the themes, challenges and opportunities in local history today. As an editor he has been involved in publishing 441 articles over the past 18 years! Popular topics tend to focus on how local communities have been affected by national events. However, local events have had a great influence on national history. He encouraged looking beyond “the facts” into the interpretation of events and experiences and the impact they had on society. There is a wider range of sources available to researchers than ever before and Dr Crosby hoped that groups would continue to publish their work to a wide audience both online and in books.

GLHA is now planning the next Local History Day, to be held in April 2020, with the theme of “Education”.

The 2019 Local History Day was partly sponsored by Renishaw plc.

More information about GLHA events may be found on the Association’s website,

Gloucestershire Local History Association was established in 2012 and is a voluntary organisation of around 50 local history groups, societies and organisations across Gloucestershire. It aims to promote interest in local history throughout the County and to encourage people to become involved with the history of their own communities.

Contact Vicki Walker secretary Additional information about the Association and its activities may be found at


Family History

40th Anniversary Celebration

Over 250 people attended our very successful anniversary event on the 28th April. Colin Chapman, President of the GFHS, welcomed and thanked many people before cutting a magnificent cake hand-crafted by our Vice-President Liz Jack.

The archive tours and the talks were a particular favourite with people. Lots of people said how much they enjoyed meeting old friends, chatting to people, seeing the new facilities, browsing the stalls and being in the lovely surroundings.


Raffle winner John Eastwood is presented with his prize by Barbara Osbourne.

The three talks were all fully booked. Thanks to presenters Jenny Eastwood (Starting Your Family History), Amelia Bennett (Introduction to DNA and Family History) and Nick Barratt (Family History in the Future) for their excellent presentations.

Feedback from people attending was very positive. Comments included –

‘Excellent day. Very interesting & informative. DNA talk was fascinating & mind boggling! Will be back to use this amazing facility. Gloucester's hidden treasure!’

‘Excellent organisation, very friendly members! Good cup of tea!’

‘A lovely facility. We look forward to using it in the future’

Very well organised. Thanks to W.I. An excellent day out

Delicious refreshments were provided by Highnam W.I. and included sandwiches, home made sausage rolls, mouth-watering cakes and of course fresh pots of tea and coffee.

Very special thanks to Andy and Janette Sysum and the team that organised this very special event.

We are also very pleased that as a result of the anniversary event social media activity on our Facebook page has increased by more than 500%. Most of our tweets are also seen by around 500 people, sometimes as many as 1,000.

Friends of Gloucestershire Archives

Documents, talks and visits

One of the main functions of the Friends is to buy documents for the Archives when they come on the open market. We’ve bought two sets of documents in the past few weeks. 

First, a bundle of Painswick manorial records dating from the 1700s. The National Archives monitor auctions and tell us if any documents relating to Gloucestershire are up for sale.  Our bid was successful, and the records have now been put into the safe custody of the Archives. 

FoGA Chair, Clive Andrews handing the documents over to Archivist Ally McConnell.

We were very grateful to Painswick Historical Society for contributing to the cost.  Manorial records were the personal property of the lord of the manor so have often been lost or remained in private hands, so this was a particularly valuable discovery.

The second set of documents was found in a local junk shop. It was a large bundle of early 20th Century documents created by a now defunct firm of Gloucester solicitors.  A deal was quickly struck with the shopkeeper and these documents have also now been handed to the Archives for safe keeping.


Now that building work at the Heritage Hub is nearing completion, and meeting rooms are available again, the Friends have re-started their annual talks programme.

The latest talk was by Sarah Hosking, artist, writer, former arts administrator, and founder of a charity which offers accommodation to women writers. She gave a very personal talk about Sir Basil Spence, who was a friend of her mother, and the spectacular art he commissioned for Coventry Cathedral.  Sarah brought with her one of the nativity sculptures which her mother created and which, after years of abuse, has been restored and now features again each Christmas in the cathedral’s nativity scene.

The nativity scene in Coventry Cathedral.

The talk will be followed by a coach trip to Coventry on Thursday 11 July. Some places may be available for non-members; details on the Friends’ website

Gloucestershire Family History Society

The Friends were please to support the Gloucestershire Family History Society when they celebrated their 40th birthday in April.  The society is clearly flourishing, and we wish them all the best for the next 40 years!

Trustees and officers

All charities need committed people to oversee and run them. The Friends have been blessed with many such trustees and officers over its 25-year history. Unfortunately, two trustees have recently had to step down, because of other commitments and ill health, and two more are due to retire in the Autumn.

If you, or someone you know, would be interested in helping the Friends continue their valuable work please contact the Chairman, Clive Andrews, for an informal discussion:  We particularly need someone who could take on the role of Treasurer, even if just for a year or two, but people with other skills, and who are keen to support the Archives, will be equally welcome.


Gloucester History Festival 2019, Sat 7 - Sun 22 Sept

This year’s Gloucester History Festival explores the theme of Power and the People as 2019 marks anniversaries including the Peterloo Massacre, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Velvet Revolution, the Tiananmen Square protests, the election of Nelson Mandela as President and of course the first man on the moon. We explore moments of protest and change, turning points where people have fought for their political rights, shifted the balance of power, taken a giant leap for mankind and made journeys of discovery into the unknown.

Keen to build on the successes of 2018 which saw 19,000 visitors to events, 3829 people attracted to free City Voices events and 20,000 people listening to podcasts of the events internationally the History Festival is working closely with many of the other cultural organisations in Gloucester to develop a real buzz around the City.

The exciting City Voices programme enables everyone of all ages to find out more about history in fun accessible ways through hands on activities, exhibitions, storytelling, documentaries, music and much more. With over 200 events, tours and historical buildings open to the public as part of Heritage Open Days, there really is something for everyone.

Blackfriars Priory will again welcome some of the country's leading historians. Festival President Janina Ramirez will give her keynote speech and discussion starting a week of lively talks. A wonderful variety of speakers will reveal extraordinary stories and compelling history full of humour, wonder, death and destruction.

Look out for the programme available in July and keep an eye on the website for more details

Heritage Hub Garden Party

Sunday 8 September, 1.30 - 5pm


See the new community garden, artwork and archival treasures. Behind the scenes tours, exhibitions, stalls and light refreshments available.  Watch out for the civil war surgeon who will be available to heal musket wounds and pike injuries! 

Other events taking place at the Heritage Hub garden party -

Pitch Up – a new performance inspired by camping    

The Velcro Collective present an accessible and family friendly performance experience inspired by camping. It involves walkabout performances and an interactive performance installation. This is an accessible family experience for all with rolling activities and performance. Drop in during the afternoon to catch some of the action.

Photo by Jack Offord

Celebrating 100 years of Gloucestershire Deaf Association   

2019 is GDA’s 100th Anniversary. We are celebrating our work with deaf and hard of hearing people including people that use British Sign Language as their first language.

Celebrating 180 years of Gloucestershire Constabulary

Gloucestershire Constabulary is the second oldest county force and has a rich and varied history to share. An exhibition of photographs, documents, memories and artefacts spanning a hundred years of policing in Gloucestershire.

Display of finds by Andy Frape and Taynton Metal Detecting Club

A display of coins, artefacts and non-metallic finds (pottery, flint and clay pipes) from over 40 years of collecting in Gloucestershire spanning all ages researched and recorded for posterity.



A talk about the Saxon Warrior of Operation Shallow Grave

In 2016 a high status Saxon burial was found in Gloucestershire and was recently excavated with the help of the MOD's Operation Nightingale.  This is a story of latter-day warriors dug by modern-day veterans. Talk lasts for 45 minutes.

Keeping - Collection Care

12 July 2019 @ 10:30am – 15:30pm

An introduction to collection care. 

You will learn to identify and protect against risks to your collection; understand and source archival enclosures; and appreciate a range of actions for protecting collections. 

Link collection care activity to a helpful framework;

Prioritise collection care tasks; learn about trusted sources of help and advice, and about other support Gloucestershire Archives can provide.

Book online –  |  01452 425295 

The Heritage Hub, Clarence Row, Alvin St, Gloucester, GL1 3DW


The Memory Café

The Memory Café takes place here at the Heritage Hub the first Sunday of each month at 2.30pm.

Sunday 7 July

Sunday 4 August

Sunday 1 September

Sunday 6 October

People we spoke to told us that Sundays can feel long and empty, so we’re offering a chance to meet old friends and make new ones in a friendly, relaxed and safe environment. Many of our staff and volunteers are Dementia Friends, which means they understand some of the challenges which can face people living with dementia and the people closest to them.

Light refreshments are provided.

For more information contact Kate O'Keefe - Katherine.O'

FoGA programme of events 2019


Thursday 11th July   A day out in Coventry.

Coach trip to look at Coventry Cathedral following Sarah’s talk; also an opportunity to visit the 1430s’ ‘Doom’ painting in Trinity Church, medieval St Mary’s Guildhall, The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum and a possible tour of Coventry archives: a self-guided day out with notes and hints provided. Cost anticipated to be Members £20, Non-members £25. Booking priority given to members.

Thursday 10th October 4pm @ the Heritage Hub   Annual General Meeting.

Followed by Behind the scenes. A talk by archives staff on the various aspects of the workings of The Archives and The Heritage Hub.

Thursday, 28th November. Members' afternoon or evening,
The Dunrossil Centre in The Heritage Hub.

A couple of short talks by members on their research, followed by a chance to socialise with other FoGA members over tea and cake or early mince pies.

Check out the details on the Friends website

Saturdays at the Heritage Hub

The Heritage Hub is open the first Saturday of each month, 9.00 – 4.30pm.

In the afternoon we offer family friendly activities alongside the traditional service to encourage new audiences. No booking required.

Saturday 6th July 2019 @ 2 - 4pm

Fly me to the Moon!

Take one giant leap into the past with our tribute to the Apollo missions and the 50th anniversary of the first moon landings!

See how the local newspapers gave us the news and find out if it is rocket science by making and flying your own stomp rocket!  

01452 425295 The Heritage Hub, Clarence Row, Alvin St, Gloucester, GL1 3DW

Future Saturdays

Saturday 3rd August, 2-4pm  - Fish, Fykes & Ferries

Saturday 7th September, 2-4pm  - Fly me to the Moon! (Gloucester History Festival)

Saturday 5th October, 2-4pm - All Hallows @ The Archives

GFHS events

Wednesday 10 July@ 7.30 PM - 9PM
Gloucester Branch meeting@ Heritage Hub, Clarence Row, Alvin Street, Gloucester

A translation of the story illustrated in the Great Eat Window  By:- Richard Cann

Gloucester Branch Meeting

Wednesday 11 Sep @ 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM

Blood, Guts and a Little Off the Top @ Heritage Hub, Clarence Row, Alvin Street, Gloucester
By:- John Putley, (The Medieval/Tudor/Stuart Barber-Surgeon)

This will be preceded by the A.G.M. at which the new committee will be elected.

Saturday 14 Sep @ 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Forest of Dean Branch – OPEN DAY @ West Dean Centre, Bream

Thursday 19 Sep

Coach trip to The National Archive and Kew

(Pick-ups at various times from different points starting at 8.00am in Whitminster. Return to Gloucester approx. 8.30pm)

For more information about all the events visit

Summer holiday family events @ The Hub

Come along for some free family fun at Gloucestershire Heritage Hub! Sessions start at 10.00am and 2.00pm and last 2 hours. No need to book! Suitable for ages 5 and upwards (children must be accompanied by an adult).

Fly me to the Moon!  

Wednesday 7 August


It’s all systems ‘Go!’ for our tribute to the moon landings! See how local newspapers reported the event and make your own stomp rocket!

For King & Parliament!

Wednesday 14 August


Shot by a musket, poked by a pike or slashed with a sword? You need to see our Civil War barber-surgeon for some 1600s first aid! Then make your own regimental flag!

Stand & Deliver!

Wednesday 21 August

Discover all about Gloucestershire highwaymen in the company of the notorious local highwayman The Shadow! Then be a proper dandy by making a tricorn hat and mask!

Fish, Fykes & Ferries!

Wednesday 28 August


It’s all aboard the Skylark for an archival cruise along the River Severn to discover of its wonderful history! Play ‘What cargo is in the bag’ and get crafty by making a fishy mobile!

01452 425295

South Gloucestershire

Dyrham Park

The National Trust’s Dyrham Park in South Gloucestershire is undergoing a transformation. With the leaking roof on the 17th-century replaced a few years ago, attention has now been turned to the interior. Work is underway to conserve the 300 year-old staircases in the house and a full programme of conservation work is planned for the coming years. As part of this, some of the 17th-century artwork which was displayed on the walls of the house has been taken down and is now on display at floor level which allows you to see much more detail. There are some fine examples of Dutch paintings by the likes of Hoogstraten and deHeem.


Samuel Van Hoogstraten                              Bartolome Esteban Murillo

You can learn more about the ongoing conservation efforts with ‘behind the scenes’ tours, which run most weekdays. No pre-booking needed, just turn up and collect a ticket at reception. If you pick up a copy of your Local Voice newspaper in September, there will be a voucher for free parking for non-National Trust members if visiting Mon-Fri  that month. More information on Dyrham Park at:


Laura Williams, Senior Marketing & Communications Officer 

National Trust, Dyrham Park, Dyrham, nr Bath, SN14 8ER 


Rolls-Royce Heritage Trust (Bristol Branch)

Heritage Open Days 2019:

As previously confirmed, the Trust will participate by having an open morning on 21st September.  As in previous years, there will be four conducted tours at 0900, 1000, 1100 and 1200.  The event has been registered on the Heritage Open Days national website and locally with South Gloucestershire.  Advance booking is obligatory and booking arrangements have been set up on Eventbrite, which will open at 0900 on Monday 8th July.

Workshop Activities:

The Fedden single-cylinder sleeve-valve engine has recently been returned to full working order in the workshop. It was built shortly after the war as a demonstrator engine by Sir Roy Fedden, who was responsible for the range of Bristol radial aero engines until his departure from the Engine Division of the Bristol Aeroplane Company during the war.

The single-cylinder engine was used to demonstrate and prove the principle of the sleeve-valve prior to its use in a proposed ‘flat six’ aero engine, intended for use in helicopters and light aircraft. Although expected to be relatively more powerful than equivalent engines in the USA, the project did not proceed.

Assistance to Aerospace Bristol:

The Trust has recently been active in supporting investigative work by Aerospace Bristol on their sectioned Olympus 593 engine from Concorde. For exhibition purposes, the engine was ‘motorised’ to show both low- and high-pressure spools rotating at low speed.  Unfortunately, however, the drive to the low-pressure spool has failed, probably at an internal engine component that was specifically designed to fail in an overload situation.

The component in question, as small quillshaft, has been identified and the Trust is in the process of identifying a replacement, which may be obtained from another Olympus 593 engine on display elsewhere.

Heritage Trust

The Rolls-Royce Heritage Trust was formed in 1981 to promote and preserve the history and engineering excellence of Rolls-Royce. There are five branches serving the historical interests of the company.

Winterbourne Medieval Barn

Although Winterbourne Medieval Barn has builders on site, we are far from quiet! Our July to December events have just gone live on the website and include summer holiday clubs, a concert from the Bristol Male Voice Choir, lectures, and craft workshops such as basket weaving.

The build is progressing well, with the completion of various demolitions and groundworks and work beginning in earnest on the West Barn and converting the cow byres. All of this work will help to realise our ambition of become a heritage centre for the local community.


For all the latest Barn news, please visit

You can also keep up to date through social media. Facebook @winterbournemedievalbarn, Instagram @winterbournemedievalbarn, Twitter @WM_MedievalBarn

Contact for any other enquiries.

The South Gloucestershire Second World War Stories Project is now entering its final few months

We have completed over 60 reminiscence sessions, recording quotes from many of the stories onto postcards which have been a fantastic resource to accompany the touring exhibition and school visits.

To date we have visited over 30 schools, with objects kindly lent to us by museums and heritage centres, presenting an overview of the impact of the war on South Gloucestershire. We have also been joined by three wonderful living history volunteers, Eric Garrett, Bill Bombroff and Margaret Bracey, who have captivated school children with their memories of the war.

We have just completed the first of our two evacuation days at Avon Valley Railway where we were joined by 90 children who dressed up for the event, took a steam train ride, learnt about Operation Pied Piper, rationing, experienced a billeting officer and being selected by local people. Again, huge thanks to all the volunteers who made the day such a memorable occasion, including volunteers from Avon Valley Railway and Kingswood Museum.

Our community events at the libraries have been hugely successful and supported by the library staff. They have included cake and spam sandwiches, singalongs, choirs, brass bands, sharing stories, poetry readings, adding photos to Know Your Place and making your own medal. The Touring exhibition continues to tour the libraries.

The war memorials information is being steadily added to the website, aided again by a wonderful team of dedicated and thorough volunteers.

We are also offering Oral History Training with Paul Evans of Gloucestershire Archives on Thursday 11 July, 1.30pm at the Council Offices in Yate. The training would be suitable for local history groups or those working with older people. To book visit our Second World Stories page on the South Gloucestershire Council website.

The ten short films are in the process of being edited, with stories from dispatch riders in the North African desert during the war, to being bombed out in Kingswood and Filton, to memories of soldiers coming in after the D-Day landings.

The films will be shown at the Armadillo Cinema in Yate on September 3rd.

Other events can be found at

The whole project will be celebrated at a commemoration event at Aerospace on Saturday 7th July. This is coincides with the 80th anniversary of the beginning of the war. There will be free entry to the event and will include, activities for all the family, displays, films, and music from the era. 

All resources, including school materials, films, and pdfs of the exhibition will be uploaded to the webpages as part of the legacy of the project.

Acton Court

In 1535 Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn stayed at Acton Court whilst on their summer Progress around the West Country. In honour of the occasion, Nicholas Poyntz, the owner of Acton Court, built an entire new wing onto his existing moated manor house. Remarkably this East Wing,hastily constructed in nine months, is still standing and is said to be the most ‘original’ Tudor building in England.


This is the first year that Acton Court is participating in the Heritage Open Days. There will be tours of the house and grounds on the 13th, 14th and 15th of September, 2019. Blue Badge guides tell the story of Acton Court, the Poyntz family who lived here, the monarchs they entertained and the state apartments they built for Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. Allow approximately an hour and a quarter for the tour. Please wear soft soled shoes.

Tours of the house and grounds are already fully booked. Any return tickets will be available on the Eventbright site which can be accessed via the events page at 

On Sunday 15th September, there will be a ticketed afternoon concert. The Odhecaton 1501 - A Musical Revolution. A programme of music from the world’s first ever book of printed music performed by In Echo.

Tickets still available at  events page,  or 01454 228224

Gloucestershire Police Archives

A busy few weeks

The Police archives have attended Gloucestershire Family History Society’s 40th anniversary event, and the South Gloucestershire Heritage Partnership Meeting. We also provided a display for the International Women’s day event in Headquarters.


The display at GFHS 40th anniversary and Sue Webb talking to members of the public.

The team have also been busy preparing for the move to the Heritage Hub which will take place on 31st July and we will then have a Police Archives presence in the hub for several days a week. We are looking for some new volunteers if anyone is interested they can contact us through the website.  

The next few months will see us preparing for the Force Open Day on the 14th September as well as talking to groups across the county  Cheltenham, Prestbury, Chipping Campden to name but a few. The Cirencester Emergency Services event on 31st May is coming up we will be there in the afternoon as well as for the evening service.


The entrance to and the inside of the new Police Archive office called the Chester-Master Room

This room is named after Lieutenant Colonel Richard Chester Chester–Master (1870-1917), Chief Constable of Gloucestershire Constabulary from 1910-1917. While in post, Chester-Master oversaw some significant events such as the first use of motor vehicles in the Force and the registration of several hundred special constables as part of the war effort. He had been a Major in the army before becoming Chief Constable, and was recalled to his regiment in 1915. He was killed in action on 30 August 1917 and was awarded the Distinguished Service Order. You can learn more about him here:

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