Gloucestershire Heritage Hub

Local History

Gloucester History Festival

This year’s Gloucester History Festival will receive £40,000 from Historic England’s Covid-19 Emergency Response Fund.

The money will support the Festival and its partners in a difficult year for events and for the wider heritage sector.  The grant will support the Festival’s community programme and digital content, giving local people lots of opportunities to celebrate Gloucester and its heritage as the city recovers from the impacts of Covid-19.

Gloucester History Trust is one of 70 organisations across England to have been awarded a grant through this fund.

The announcement comes as Historic England today launch new funding for urgent maintenance and repairs at historic sites in the South West

Chair of the Gloucester History Trust which runs the Festival, Richard Graham, said: “This wonderful news of Historic England funding helps ensure our tenth anniversary Festival goes ahead in September, and in new ways that we are exploring in detail with our partners in the Gloucester Heritage Forum.  We’ll announce more news on the Festival at the end of June.”

Jacqui Grange, Manager of the Gloucester History Festival, said: “Historic England’s grant will fund a project called Gloucester Looking Up, a city-wide response to Covid-19. Heritage venues across Gloucester will inspire people to look up at buildings, look up at their heritage and to look up online, ensuring the city’s built and lived heritage is part of our shared recovery.”  

For more information about Gloucester Looking Up visit Gloucester History Festival website.

Rebecca Barrett, Historic England Regional Director said:  “This £1.8m fund was set up to help heritage organisations, such as Gloucester History Trust and its city-wide partners, that have been severely affected by the impact of Coronavirus by providing grants to help them survive the immediate challenges posed by the pandemic, and to prepare for recovery.”

More good news...

The good news for Gloucester comes as Historic England launch a second emergency fund to support the heritage sector recovery from the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic.

The new fund, which will be up to £3 million, will award grants to those who care for some of England’s most significant historic sites in the South West to help fund urgent maintenance, repairs and investigations where our support is most needed. The business generated will help heritage specialists, whose livelihoods have been severely affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Grants of up to £25,000 will be offered to fix urgent problems at locally-cherished historic buildings and sites which are normally visited by the public, so that they can re-open as quickly as possible, subject to COVID-19 restrictions, and thrive once again. The funding can be used to address problems such as damaged roofs, masonry and windows, to hire scaffolding to prevent structural collapse, or commission surveys necessary to inform urgent repairs.

More information on eligibility and how to apply:

Gloucester Looking Up

Gloucester Looking Up:

Digital Commissions Brief


Gloucester Looking Up is a city-wide heritage venue response to Covid-19 inspiring new communities to look up at the buildings, look up online, look up their heritage and ensuring the city’s built and lived heritage is part of our shared recovery. It is funded by Historic England

This brief details the first stage of this process, commissioning a range of digital outputs that will be hosted by the new Gloucester History Festival website (currently in development, to be launched in July 2020) as part of our community education programme City Voices.

A second phase of creative commissions will be advertised in July, for projects which are not exclusively digital, and can be accessed within social distancing guidelines across the city.


Gloucester History Festival (GHF), run by the Gloucester History Trust, is a flagship festival for a city rich with high-profile heritage venues. City Voices is a key part of our programme, working with local communities, artists and historians to engage new audiences to explore the rich social history in the city. GHF is a key member of Gloucester’s Heritage Forum (HF) which includes Gloucester Cathedral, Llanthony Secunda Priory, St Mary de Crypt, the museums and other heritage sites. GHF and HF are collaboratively tackling the impacts of the current crisis by:

Providing an immediate city-wide response working with the community to provide virtual access to our venues

  • Providing a relevant, innovative activity programme, bringing together heritage and cultural sectors, attracting new, younger and diverse audiences
  • Building capacity and resilience by embedding collaborative partnership working at our core, working with our communities to make heritage part of everyday lives
  • Raising the profile of our organisations and city as having some of the richest heritage buildings in the UK

We will be programming 3 interconnecting activity strands which will directly respond to the current crisis and contribute to the recovery of the heritage sector.

  1. Digital Map – providing virtual tours of venues across the city
  2. Living History – working with communities to capture history being lived right now
  3. Cultural Commissions – supporting local artists to create accessible programmes of activities, developing audiences and bringing heritage sites to life

For more information about Gloucester Looking up and how to apply visit the website


The Blackfriars Talks 2020

The Blackfriars Talks is the Gloucester History Festival’s annual programme of talk and debate events featuring top BBC broadcasters as well as the nation’s leading historians including in previous years David Olusoga, Lucy Worsley, Olivette Otele, Michael Wood, Bettany Hughes, Kate Adie, Kate Williams, Sam Willis and Alice Roberts as well as our Festival President, leading broadcaster and historian Janina Ramirez. The Festival also includes actors, comedians, journalists and politicians from Mark Gatiss to Ken Clarke, Tony Robinson to Griff Rhys Jones, Martin Bell to Cerys Matthews who all share their passion for history live on stage.


This year’s Blackfriars Talks will be a live programme in an intimate new format unique to Gloucester. Speakers will perform live in front of a small ticketed audience in the stunning and atmospheric medieval location of Blackfriars Priory. Each event will be professionally filmed, edited and broadcast on the Festival website and social media platforms the following day to be enjoyed by Festival-goers nationwide.

The Gloucester History Festival is unique amongst Festivals this year. It’s the only History Festival which unites this September live history talks from top historians with an innovative digital programme and an intriguing Heritage Open Days weekend.

Look out for the new website coming soon.

This year’s Gloucester History Festival runs from 5 - 20 September 2020.

Editor's note  - there is no brochure this year and a decision about other live events for City Voices and Heritage Open Days will decided nearer the time in line with government guidance.  Please see the History Festival website from August 2020 onwards.

Dr Jenner’s House

The story of Edward Jenner shows how we all have the capacity to change the world, individually and collectively. Dr Jenner’s House is a monument to one of the greatest public health innovations of all time and an inspiration for the current and next generation of scientists. As the world once again unites in the struggle against disease, for many the works and values of Edward Jenner are crucial in making sense of current events.

Responsibility for the continued preservation of Dr Jenner’s House as a museum falls to The Jenner Trust, an independent charity in receipt of no regular funding. Each and every year we are responsible for generating the income required to maintain the building, open it to visitors and run our educational and outreach programmes. In common with many charities we have limited reserves and, in most years, expect at least 70% of our funding to come from our visitors. As the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic became apparent we realised that we would receive very little, if anything, in visitor income in 2020 and that we had to reach out and ask you for help.

In less than two months you have helped us to reach our target and raised over £45,000 to support the work of The Jenner Trust. This is an amazing achievement and is the result of over 1,000 people from around the world coming together in agreement that this is a time for Jenner. To everyone who has supported us, either financially, through sharing our appeal or even just in your words of encouragement: thank you.

I want to make it clear, however, that this is not a case of Dr Jenner’s House being ‘saved’. Together we’ve achieved something quite wonderful that will make a huge difference to the museum this year and allow our team the time we need to start rebuilding, but without significant and sustained investment Dr Jenner’s House will always be just one unexpected repair bill away from disaster. We continue to pursue other avenues of funding and will still need to lean heavily on government initiatives, such as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. The Jenner Trust operates on a shoestring and with a very small team of staff and volunteers. It is quite likely that for years to come we will be operating in a changed environment, one where physical distance is of vital importance and, quite frankly, one for which a country doctor’s family home is ill-suited.

Through crowdfunding we have raised enough money to help us to survive another year, however in order to thrive, to truly fulfil the potential that we have as the home of vaccination and to develop our work so that Dr Jenner’s House is as easily accessible to people who are unable to visit in person as it is to those who are, we still need your help.

Although our crowdfunder has now closed, any donations you make now will support our future development and help us to rebuild our work. Please also write to your MPs, to people in positions of influence who may be able to stand up for us and see that our work is appropriately and sustainably funded. And please tell your friends about us and about the story of the country doctor who changed the world. Because now more than ever, the world needs to know about Edward Jenner, his remarkable legacy, and how the world came together to defeat smallpox.


Owen Gower, Museum Manager, Dr Jenner’s House, Museum and Garden

The Chantry, Church Lane, Berkeley, Gloucestershire, GL13 9BN


T: +44 (0)1453 810631


A Life in Lockdown

Representatives from Gloucester History Festival, Archives, Museums, Libraries, Strike A Light, religious communities, heritage organisations and the University of Gloucestershire are working together to capture Gloucestershire’s response to ‘A Life in Lockdown’

We are working together to support and promote each other’s projects and we’re looking for your help too. We know that this is a challenging time for many people, so hope the opportunities to get creative and link up with others may appeal.  We hope to share some of the initial ‘A Life in Lockdown’ outputs at this year’s Gloucester History Festival in September.

      How you can get involved:


      1.Pitch an idea for the Gloucester History Festival to create digital content. Thanks to a grant from Historic England, we have a few small commissions which will be decided by a community panel.

      -Contact before 6 July 2020 with your idea.

      -Further information:

      2. Add your experiences of how Lockdown has affected you, your community or your business to Gloucestershire Archives’ collections for permanent preservation. Documenting the impact of the pandemic in Gloucestershire and South Gloucestershire is important to add to existing records of previous public health emergencies from medieval plagues to 20th century outbreaks of Spanish flu and typhoid.


      -Submit your information:

      -Further information:

       3.The Museum of Gloucester is inviting everyone in the county to capture their memories of #Gloucestershire during the period of #lockdown, for an exhibition titled ‘A Life in Lockdown’: Memories of Covid-19 in Gloucestershire 2020 for an exhibition at the museum, (hopefully in Autumn 2020) as well as a producing a permanent record of this period for their digital collection.

      -How to submit content:

      -Submit your entry:


      4.Your voice is unique and Gloucestershire Libraries would love to hear it! “A Life in Lockdown: In Your Words”, is an opportunity for writers of all ages and abilities to share experiences of Lockdown through personal stories, short fictional stories, comic strips, poems, Blogs, Vlogs, short creative films or animations.

      -Full details will be announced very soon.

      -Please check out the latest news here:


      5.Strike a Light will be supporting community-led creative projects in Barton and Tredworth in the Autumn, to bring people together in a safe socially distanced way and are also working on a project with members of Gloucester's black communities to share and record their lockdown experience.

      -For more information or to get involved:


      6.The University Archive houses the institutional history dating from its earliest traces in 1834. Rarely have students, staff and our community witnessed / lived through such monumental societal changes. Your perspective and documentation of the lockdown matters, and we encourage the University community to consider donating records to our archive evidencing your experiences.


      If you are already running your own Lockdown projects and would like to get involved in our umbrella ‘A Life in Lockdown’ project, please get in touch.


      We look forward to hearing from you.

      Volunteers needed!

      The Forest of Dean Family history Trust website intends to close down on 31 August 2020 unless someone or a group comes forward to look after it. If this sounds like something you could help with, you can contact the Trust via their website at

      The mission of the Forest of Dean Family History Trust is to provide website based resources for family history researchers whose ancestors and families live in the Forest of Dean and its borders.

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