Gloucestershire Heritage Hub

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

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