Gloucestershire Heritage Hub

Gloucestershire Archives

18th Century slave song added to the Memory of the World register

A unique African slave song preserved by Gloucestershire’s county archives has been added to the United Nations Memory of the World register.

The work song, or chant, comes from the sugar plantations of Barbados at the height of the transatlantic slave trade. It features voices of enslaved people as they tell of their brutal treatment at the hands of their master or “massa”.

The song was written down in the late 18th century by anti-slave trade campaigner Granville Sharp who has Gloucestershire descendants. The document was nominated by Barbadian music expert Roger Gibbs who saw a digital image of the song on Gloucestershire Archives’ website.

It is preserved and protected for future generations and is recorded alongside some of the world’s most historically significant documents on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Memory of the World register.

Roger Gibbs said: "I'm honoured to be associated in some small way with a remarkable piece of music that speaks volumes about a painful chapter in the history of Barbados. I hope the UNESCO recognition leads to more public interest in the folk music of the island."

County Archivist Heather Forbes, said: “I am delighted that the international importance of this unique document has been recognised by UNESCO. It’s one of only 427 documents and collections on the Memory of the World register.”

Slavery is an issue that is not confined to history and is still happening in the 21st century. Modern slavery can take many forms, from forced labour to human trafficking or sexual and criminal exploitation.

Pete Bungard, Chief Executive of Gloucestershire County Council and chair of the Gloucestershire Anti-Slavery Partnership, said: “Although this slave song is over 200 years old, it is a timely reminder that the fight against modern day slavery continues across the world.

“Modern slavery is an international crime, affecting an estimated 46.8 million people globally. It often goes unseen and all organisations across Gloucestershire are working together to make sure we recognise it and take action.”

For more information on the Gloucestershire Anti-Slavery Partnership, visit

If you are concerned about modern slavery or need any advice you can call the Modern Slavery Helpline on 08000 121 700.

Oliver Somervell, Media Team, Gloucestershire County Council, 

The document was featured in Explore Your Archive a national campaign co-ordinated by The National Archives and the Archives and Records Association (UK and Ireland).

The Memory of the World Register now includes a total of 427 documents and collections, coming from all continents and safeguarded on various materials from stone to celluloid and from parchment to sound recordings.

You can read more about the song on Gloucestershire Archives website here

You can hear a recording of the slave song, by Barbadian music expert Roger Gibbs on YouTube

Roger Gibbs is a Barbadian-born musician/ ethnomusicologist living in Canada. He prepared the submission to UNESCO's Memory of the World program in collaboration with Elizabeth Watson and Alissandra Cummins, Director of the Barbados Museum and Historical Society.

Granville Sharp’s papers are preserved at Gloucestershire Archives. They came to Gloucestershire through the marriage of his niece to a local man, Thomas J Lloyd Baker of Hardwicke.

Volunteers and Volunteering at Gloucestershire Archives

Here at Gloucestershire Archives we currently have between 70-80 volunteers, ranging in age from 17 to 80+. Many of the older volunteers want to do something useful and engaging in retirement, and have a lifelong interest in heritage and history. The younger volunteers (including one University of Gloucestershire intern) volunteer because they want to either improve their CV, or gain experience before considering a career as an archivist.

Volunteers give us thousands of hours of their time each year, and we couldn’t do our job without you! We are reviewing the tasks we offer future volunteers and we have identified at least 15 separate work tasks they can do. When we open the new Heritage Hub, many of these volunteer role descriptions (a bit like job descriptions) will be advertised on the virtual Heritage Hub, our new website.

Volunteers carry out a range of tasks, including transcribing, working on CALM (our online catalogue), acting as search-room buddies, repackaging, helping draft funding applications, assisting at events, giving talks to community groups and a whole range of other things. Some are involved with providing practical support for specific project work, such as working on the constabulary heritage project. And one has been carrying out tasks helping us to design and build our new website.


Volunteer Ann Alford cataloguing a document. 

The way we make use of volunteers may well change in the future, so that volunteers can work for us remotely and spend a few minutes each week, for example, re-Tweeting or using Facebook. Offering just a few minutes a week, like this, is sometimes referred to as “micro-volunteering” and could appeal to people of working age who would not normally be able to commit to us in the way that most volunteers do. We want to create opportunities for more people to volunteer, even if it is just for a few minutes each week or each month – it all adds up, and it all goes towards raising our profile.

We are also looking forward to working closely with Family History Centre volunteers in the new building.

Family History Society volunteers working in the temporary Family History Centre.

Volunteers cannot replace staff, of course, but they bring new enthusiasm, ideas, energy, enquiring minds, different expertise and experience. We would like to thank all of our volunteers for everything you do for Gloucestershire Archives.

Sally Middleton

Community Heritage Development Manager

Artist activity at the Heritage Hub

In our Summer E-newsletter Gloucestershire Archives was delighted to announce it had received funding from Arts Council England to work with 5 artists. We wanted this collaboration of heritage and art to bring together the local community, members of the Gloucestershire Heritage Hub network and our partners with the artists to create beautiful eye-catching public artworks. These artworks will tell the story of Gloucestershire’s history and be inspired by its people, heritage and geography.

In the months since the summer there has been a flurry of activity as the artists have begun their research. They have been having a wonderful time hearing stories, collecting memories and looking at photographs. The artists have visited care homes in Gloucestershire and South Gloucestershire, talked to our partners including the Friends of Gloucestershire Archives, Gloucestershire Family History Society, Gloucestershire Constabulary and Gloucestershire and Avon Local History Association members. The artists have also visited the Archives taking time to talk to staff and look at some of the wonderful documents, amazing maps, photographs and archived material kept at Gloucestershire Archives.

'Had a fascinating day at Gloucestershire Archives yesterday doing research on various types of maps...we are really enjoying the research side of this project!' TomatoJack Arts on Facebook

Natasha Houseago

The very large oak tree trunk lying on the ground in the community garden is the raw material for the new vertical sculpture to be carved by Cheltenham based sculptor Natasha Houseago. The oak tree was sourced from a country estate in Oxfordshire.


Natasha is sealing the ends to keep the moisture in and worms and critters out.  

Natasha will be on site for about 12 weeks in the summer and during this time visitors to the Archives will be able to watch her carve and talk to her about the emerging sculpture and her process.

TomatoJack Arts

Angela Williams and Lynda Knott (TomatoJack Arts) are Berkeley based mosaic artists and if you have visited the Jenner Museum recently you might have seen their beautiful obelisk standing in the middle of the museum’s herb garden.

Angela and Lynda have met with members of Gloucestershire Local History Association many of whom have sent photos and stories about their local community. They have worked with three care homes in Berkeley, Tockington and Westbury on Severn.



Staff and residents in the care homes with the beautiful plaques and coasters made during their sessions.


Angela photographing one of the beautiful maps in the temporary search room here at Archives with John Putley, Hub Facilities Manager, looking on.

Angela and Lynda will be in residence at the Archives during half-term - Tuesday and Wednesday13th and 14th February. Visitors to the Archives will be able to drop in and have a go, learn about the mosaic making process and talk to the artists about their ideas for the mosaics they are designing and making for the community garden. We hope you can make it. 

Julia O'Connell

Julia O'Connell, our textile artist, also visited a care home, this time in Chipping Campden.


 Julia is looking at the beautiful embroidery and lace made by one of the residents.


Like all of our artists, Julia has spent time at the Archives taking in the atmosphere, talking to staff, exploring the strong rooms and looking at the new space where the artwork will be sited.

Julia has also been experimenting with a laser cutter. Using the Gloucestershire family History Centre logo and text from A Song of Gloucestershire by F.W.Harvey, she has laser cut and engraved on fabric. She particularly liked the effect of the cut out words and how it mirrors the disintegration of iron gall text in old manuscripts (middle photograph).


     Fabric being cut by the laser cutter                   Laser cut letters                                                    The GFHS tree engraved on fabric

Imogen Harvey-Lewis

Imogen Harvey-Lewis, our illustrator will be designing two murals for the Archives. One will be sited in the new entrance to the Heritage Hub and the other will be on the outside wall at the front of the building.


Imogen presenting her first ideas to the Friends of Gloucestershire Archives, volunteers and staff.

In the new year Imogen will be working with young people and staff at Kingsholm Primary School, Gloucester as part of their University modules. Children there will help her design the mural for the outside wall.

As soon as the builders have finished Imogen will be on site painting the mural. Visitors will be able to see her in action, talk to her about the mural and her work.

If you would like more information about the project or would like to get involved email 

We’re appy and we know it!

Archives staff have been working hard on EVOkE (Everyone Valuing Older FolKs Experience), an innovative 2 year reminiscence project to tackle memory loss and loneliness in older people.   It’s one of several “projects within a project”, which contribute to the “For the Record” activity plan.  Trained volunteers will deliver monthly reminiscences sessions in library clubs, care homes and other community settings using Liverpool Museum’s award winning House of Memories app.  

The app will enable older people and their friends or carers to engage with photos, adverts and other memorabilia from Gloucestershire Archives collections, sparking memories and conversation. We’ve spent the past few months preparing content for a Gloucestershire “package” of around 100 images, along with digital stories, sounds and videos.  Our package is now in the final stages of testing before it goes live.  We’re also recruiting an Engagement Manager for Older People to lead the project’s delivery phase.  S/he will deliver the initial reminiscence sessions, recruit and train volunteers and work with partners including Gloucestershire Libraries to make the project sustainable into the future. 

Gloucestershire package in the House of Memories app, ready to be downloaded.

The virtual Heritage Hub

The new Heritage Hub website went live just before Christmas at – you might even have seen it featured in this month’s Who Do You Think You Are magazine as a website to watch for 2018! We’ll be continually revising the site to ensure that it helps us achieve our aims. We want to provide online information about gathering, keeping, sharing and using local archives as well as to help people feel part of the Gloucestershire Heritage Hub community. Huge thanks to all the partners and volunteers who helped to get it up and running. Do have a look at it, and let me know what you think.

Another element of the virtual heritage hub is our social media channels. At the end of November we launched both Twitter and Facebook accounts. We began by celebrating Archives Awareness week with some lovely themes #hairyarchives -

 #ediblearchives, #lovearchives anyone?

Over Christmas we also ran a ‘12 days of Christmas’ extravaganza, featuring archival versions of all 12 items specified in the song (except perhaps the pipers – our own Hub Facilities Manager, John Putley featured in this one). If you’ve not connected with us yet why not consider following or liking us @GlosHeritageHub on Twitter or Facebook.

Our successful blog continues – my favourite picture (if it’s possible to have one) of last year was the ghost car at the Lansdown (Westal Green) roundabout in Cheltenham. Have a look at and see if you can spot the car. Did you know that you can sign up to follow the blog? If you do, you’ll receive the latest instalment direct to your inbox.



New to Gloucestershire Archives online catalogue!

Watch out for our new customer registration and document ordering system, which will be coming on line at the beginning of February. We hope this will make ordering documents much easier for you. You can watch our demonstration on our online video at

If you are an existing customer and would like to take advantage of the integrated catalogue and ordering facility, please get in touch and we’ll be able to provide your login details.

If you’ve not yet visited us, and want to consult the original archives, you’ll need to register with us. The new system will allow you to do this before you visit – or onsite if you’d rather.

Once we’ve moved into our new hub building we’ll be running regular help sessions in case you’d find this useful.



Have you ever looked at an old map and wondered what BM means? At our recent drop in session where we were using historic maps to inspire ideas and memories, lots of visitors wondered what the BM meant. It appeared very often on the old maps we were looking at and was usually followed by some numbers.


PH appeared quite a lot too!! (Public House just in case you're wondering). 

All can be revealed - BM stands for Bench Mark. And, of course now you are wondering what is one of those? 

A Bench Mark is a surveyor's mark cut into a wall, pillar, bridge or building and according to Ordnance Survey they are used as a reference point in measuring height above sea level. If the exact height of one BM is known, the exact height of the next can be found by measuring the difference in heights, through a process of spirit levelling.

They are most often found on the corner of a street and usually placed about a quarter of a mile apart. Or at least they used to be. Lots no longer exist because buildings and walls have been demolished or the marks have eroded.


This bench mark, situated near the Archives, is according to our Relief Site Manager, Henry, quite unusual because it's cast iron. We wondered if it had something to do with the foundry that used to be on Foundry Street. (On later maps Foundry Street no longer exists and instead Sweetbriar Street has been extended.)

 This bench mark is more usual and is carved into the wall about half a metre off the ground. Very handy for getting a crick in your neck if you are keen to spot one.

 If you would like to find out more about bench marks visit

Or to look at the benchmark database visit



Gloucestershire Archives and Gloucestershire Heritage Hub: Opening Hours Consultation

From February 2018 we will be consulting on the opening hours for our new Heritage Hub. The new opening hours will be in place by the end of July, when the Hub is fully open and both Phase 1 and Phase 2 have been completed.

The consultation will last about 12 weeks, and will take the form of an online questionnaire, a user survey, discussions with focus groups and other means of consultation.

If readers of this newsletter would like to comment, please send an email to by 30th April 2018 with the subject heading “Hub Opening Hours Consultation”. Please specify your preferred option and whether you are a regular, occasional or potential visitor. It would also help us to receive your full postcode so we can analyse coverage of our service.

The options are as follows:

Option A

  • Monday 10-4. Family history and project volunteers only – research room closed to the general public.
  • Tuesday – Friday inclusive 9-4.30. Open to the general public.
  • One Saturday a month 10-4. Open to the general public. Outreach events such as workshops or family focussed activities, offered on site.

Option B

  • As above, but opening 10-5.30 (instead of 9-4.30) on Tuesdays to Fridays inclusive

Option C

  • Monday to Friday inclusive 9-4.30. Open to the general public.
  • No Saturday opening.

Option D

  • We are open to other suggestions if we can support the proposed opening hours within existing resource levels.

Local History

The Forest of Dean Local History Society

70 YEARS: 1948 - 2018

After World War II, interest in local history grew all around the country. In 1948 the Gloucestershire Rural Community Council established a Local History Committee, one of the aims of which was to establish a local history society for the Forest of Dean. Key to this was the help and inspiration of Ian Durham of the Bristol University Extra-Mural Department. He was appointed in 1946 to be the University's resident tutor in West Gloucestershire and because of his great interest in the history of the Forest and the enthusiasm of the people he met there, he became the leading light in establishing the Forest of Dean Local History Society. Ian worked very closely with Tom Bright of the Dean Forest Guardian, who reported every development in the newspaper.

The Guardian of 16 April 1948 reported: "At a meeting at Coleford last Monday attended by people from all over the Forest, it was unanimously resolved to form a Forest of Dean Local History Society. Mr. I.L. Durham MA of Newland was elected Secretary and a small committee consisting of the Rev. R.J. Mansfield, Messrs. A.J. Machen, S.D. Morgan, C.Hart, V.G. Hudson and T. Bright was appointed...It was decided that the area to be covered will be roughly that between the Severn, the Wye and the Leadon, though, of course, membership will be open to people interested in Forest history who live outside that area”. The next newspaper report noted: "Viscount Bledisloe was persuaded to accept the Presidency of the Society”, an office which he continued to hold until his death in 1952. The Society attracted about 100 members in its first couple of years.

In its early years the Society undertook a lot of hands-on archaeology, excavating a bronze age barrow at Tidenham Chase, a camp at Littledean and many other sites. Additionally, a full programme of talks and visits was developed. We still have the membership cards from 1950 to the current date showing the full range of activities.

When the Dean Heritage Centre was established in 1979 by one of our now Vice Presidents, Ian Standing, the Society worked closely with the museum.

For 30 years our journal, The New Regard, has showcased the results of research by our members. The name comes from an old term under Forest Law – a Regarder was a senior officer of the Forest.

The Society continued to grow, having over 250 members at the time of its 50th anniversary. Now there are 330 members, mostly local but some living as far away as New Zealand.

We have undertaken some large projects, including the erection of the Miners’ Memorial at the New Fancy site. In 2003 the Society obtained a grant of £11,737 from the Local Heritage Initiative. This was used to facilitate a number of different elements which made up the Miners’ Memorial Project: the sculpture, which represents 3 elements of profound importance to Forest miners – coal, iron and wood, the Roll of Honour CD, the Roll of Honour Memorial Volumes and the Mines Trails Walks. The project remembers the over 600 men who died because of accidents at work in the local mines and quarries.

The Miners’ Memorial

In 2007, at the same site, work began on the Geomap, which is an amalgam of two maps. Firstly it is a geology map of the Forest of Dean which the public can walk on, constructed using the actual rocks found in different geological layers. Secondly, it is an industrial history map showing the location of 102 collieries, 35 iron mines and 49 stone quarries, as well as the main railway lines and three tramroads.

Society members learning about the Geomap

The remnants of the New Fancy Colliery, from which coal was mined until 1944, may also be seen. In 2016 the Society placed a new commemorative stone to permanently mark the site of the shaft 2.

The Society continues to offer members and non-members a very full programme, with events in every month of the year. This year being our 70th anniversary we have an even more packed agenda than usual, culminating in a dinner for 70+ people hosted by our President, Baroness Royall of Blaisdon.

For more information visit

Mary Sullivan - Chairman, FODLHS

Fact-finding fun at your fingertips! Exploring Gloucestershire with Know Your Place…

Great news for researchers! Know Your Place West of England now offers free online access to an impressive array of maps and linked information for Gloucestershire. In addition to the historic Ordnance Survey, you can now see for the first time excellent digital images of earlier maps preserved at Gloucestershire Archives.

Our tithe and enclosure maps were uploaded to KYP just before Christmas and now there’s even more.

Interested in Gloucester? You can browse the 1780 survey by Hall and Pinnell, the earliest detailed plan of the city. It includes the names of streets, shows buildings, layout of gardens, trees, hedges, lines of fortification, and land surrounding the city such as Kingsholm Close, Barton Hill and Llanthony Priory (GA catalogue reference for the original plan is GL65.51(3)). As with all maps on KYP, you can compare two side by side, so try viewing the 1780 plan alongside the 1852 plan of Gloucester made for the Local Board of Health in 1852  (GA ref GBR/L10/1/2):


KYP screen grab shows Gloucester in 1780 on the left, and 1852 on the right. You can drag the vertical line backwards and forwards to reveal more or less of each map.

Is Cheltenham more your area of interest? Then you’ll enjoy dipping into the 1855 ‘Old Town Survey’. This large-scale plan was drawn up for the Improvement Commissioners (predecessors of Cheltenham Borough Council). Surveyor Henry Dangerfield reported that it would cover over 1,100 acres and some 6,500 houses and would show water courses and sewers. It cost just over £1,215. The amount of detail makes it a fascinating record. The original sheets were still being used regularly for reference by the Borough Engineer into the 1990s (GA ref CBR/B2/9/5/1).

Other maps available show the towns of Tewkesbury, 1825 (GA ref TBR/A18/1), Stroud, 1835 (GA ref  D1180/10/40) and the township of East Dean, 1856 (GA ref DA40/560).

For the Forest of Dean, you can see details for 5 areas or ‘walks’ mapped in 1834 for a report on the issue of squatters and others who had established themselves on Crown lands in the Forest over a long period of years. The Walks (Worcester, Parkend, Blakeney  Littledean and Ruardean) are colour-coded to show different types of property, encroachments and enclosures (GA ref Q/RGf/1/4-8).

Screen grab shows the KYP spyglass feature. You can use this as a virtual window through one layer - in this case the first edition Ordnance Survey - to reveal an earlier hand-drawn map of a Forest Walk.

And for the southern area of Gloucestershire there are three plans made in 1835 by the Court of Sewers.  The Court of Sewers was responsible for maintaining river courses and drainage in the southern part of what was then within the county of Gloucestershire (the ‘Lower Level’). The plans straddle modern county boundaries, covering the parishes of Shirehampton, Kings Weston, Lawrence Weston, Stowick, Compton Greenfield, Redwick and Northwick, Tockington, Almondsbury, Olveston, Aust, Elberton, Littleton, Oldbury, Rockhampton, Hill, Ham and parts of Hinton and Hamfallow, Slimbridge, Awre, Arlingham, Westbury on Severn, Moreton Valence, Standish, Longney and Haresfield (GA ref D272/9/1-3).

But KYP is not just maps. The ‘Information Layers’ hold masses of linked archaeological data from the County Council’s historic environment record. And everyone can contribute to the ‘community’ layer. Hundreds of images have been added to this layer so far by groups and individuals. It’s really easy to share your photos and other information this way - just follow the step by step guide at

First edition OS for Cheltenham with green symbols marking the ‘Community Layer’

Click on a symbol and an image and description pops up. Here you can see a contribution from the Jet Age Museum collection:

The website at has top tips to help you make the most of the whole resource so it’s always worth starting there first.

We hope you enjoy discovering and sharing more about Your Place!


The Gloucester Theatre Company

PACIFISTS AND PROTESTERS, THE LOST STORY OF RESISTANCE TO WORLD WAR ONE is an exciting theatre production that commemorates the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One.


The two part presentation features a first-half performance of a new play A DANGEROUS WOMAN by Alexander J. Gifford (shortlisted for the Adrian Pagan New Writing Award followed by a devised presentation, inspired by the words of poets, pacifists and other protesters.

A DANGEROUS WOMAN tells the incredible story of Alice Wheeldon, a Suffragette and single-mother, who sheltered young men avoiding conscription. On the basis of fabricated evidence, Alice was imprisoned for "attempting to poison the Prime Minister", though she was later cleared of all charges. Alice's story is a powerful human drama, which exposes just how far the British Government was prepared to go to silence objection to the war.

The production has received support from the Heritage Lottery and explores a largely forgotten aspect of the history of WW1 - namely that many people opposed it on the basis that it was a unnecessary "politician's war", which could have been avoided through peaceful means.

PACIFISTS AND PROTESTERS will tour venues in Stroud, Bristol and Cheltenham 9-17 Feb 2018.

To book tickets please go to:

The Gloucester Theatre Company

Sydney Savory Buckman

One of Gloucestershire’s forgotten celebrities is Sydney Savory Buckman of Cheltenham, arguably the foremost geologist of the Victorian era. His constantly evolving ideas upset the geological establishment, who thought their subject was set in stone. For much of his life he scraped a living by selling fossils and writing freelance articles for the newspapers.

I first encountered him because of his interest in rational dress, rational being the Victorian buzzword for anything right-thinking people should adopt. In this case it meant the divided skirt, a euphemism for women’s trousers.

Sydney Buckman espoused it because it meant his wife and four daughters could accompany him and his four sons on their bikes on fossil-hunting expeditions in the Cotswolds.

Buckman’s family fossil-hunting somewhere in the Cotswolds. He was the photographer.

He set up the Western Rational Dress Club, of which Lady Harberton, the champion of rational dress, who spent the summer at Great Malvern, became president.

His skill as a journalist ensured it got widespread publicity. Among the people who responded was J. D. Ainsworth, who had just established the Yoroshi Wheel Club in South London. Together they dreamed up the idea of a rational dress cycle ride from London to Oxford.

It was a dreadful day. The last ladies arrived for an 8.30pm dinner at 3.30am the next morning.

if you would like to find out more about the history of the rational dress movement Don Chapman's book, Wearing the Trousers: Fashion, Freedom and the Rise of the Modern Woman, is available from Amberley Publishing. 



Stroud Voices

Stroud Local Oral History

Recording old stories in and about the five valleys, Stroud

Stroud Local Oral History is a non-commercial audio archive project to record Stroud memories from people living in the area. It started as a project within the now departed “Stroud FM” and continues with the co-operation of local history groups in the wider Stroud District Council area. The intention is to document the minutiae of life in the old days, arbitrarily set as "before 1970". The stories are mostly about the wider Stroud District.

The current archive extends to some 40 hours/1500 clips from 130 people. Each audio clip is about 2 minutes long. The archive is lodged with Gloucestershire Archives (reference number D13666) & Museum in the Park, Stroud.

We are still collecting and welcome contributions. We are able to visit people at home and normally the conversation lasts about an hour. It is always nice to have a family member present too. CDs of their contributions are given to contributors, as a thank you.

If you are interested in having your story collected ring 01453 821436 and leave a message or email

To find out more and hear the recorded stories visit

C I Brown (aka Mr Red)

Romance Of The Clouds

For more information visit

Doomsday Book Afternoon

On Saturday 17th February   2pm—4.15pm in the Chapter House at Gloucester Cathedral

Two talks on how Exeter Cathedral’s EXON project has enhanced our knowledge of the great survey of England ordered by William the Conqueror whilst at Gloucester over Christmas in 1085.

Dr Frank Thorn and Dr Chris Lewis have been members of the project to examine 500 plus pages of the original 1086 Domesday survey held in Exeter Cathedral's archives.

In 2011 “Exon Domesday” was removed from its 19th-century binding so that digital photography and detailed study could begin. Since then a major research project by a team from King’s College, London and the University of Oxford, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, has been uncovering the document’s secrets.


Tickets £5.00 (tea and biscuits included in the cost) from

The Friends’ Office, 11a College Green, GLOUCESTER GL1 2LX

Open on Tuesday and Thursday mornings; or online at

telephone enquiries: 01452 522419        

Family History

SWAG fair

The largest family history show in the South West

With Societies and Specialist Suppliers in attendance, we are known as the largest family history show in the South West of England. Many family history societies and companies attend each year.

Free Talks are hosted throughout the day.

Beginner or Expert? Everyone is very welcome and there is lots to see. There is plenty of parking, refreshments are available all day, and there are over 40 exhibitors.

This event is organised by family historians for family historians. This is our 10th show (We've been going biennially since 1997) and it gets ever more popular each time.

Do you really know who you are? Come and find out - you may be surprised!


From David Howells - Chair of Gloucestershire Family History Society

As well as Societies shown on the flyer both Gloucestershire Archives and Gloucestershire Local History Association will be promoting the Heritage Hub at the Fair.

Please put a note in your diary and collect a flyer from the Family History Centre or Gloucestershire Archives to obtain a 50p reduction on entry fee.

We all look forward to meeting you and will be pleased to hear your views on the Heritage Hub.

What is SWAG?

The South West Area Group (SWAG) is open to all recognised family history societies and groups in the South West region of Great Britain. In addition to promoting the study of family history and genealogy, it aims to co-ordinate and support activities of its members and to represent their interests by liaising with appropriate bodies.

For more information visit

Friends of Gloucestershire Archives

We met on a boat!

The Friends of Gloucestershire Archives have had a quiet few weeks since the Gloucester History Festival. During the festival we sponsored one of the Blackfriars talks, supported numerous events organised by Archive staff, and ran our own event at St Mary de Lode Church.

However, since then we have made history – in a very modest sort of way. We usually hold our Annual General Meeting at the Archives but that was impossible this year because of the building works.  We hunted for an alternative venue but it was graduation day at the Cathedral, and all the other venues we tried were unavailable.   The solution?  We met on a boat!  How many charities have held their AGM on a boat?

The boat in question was the ‘Sabrina 5’, which is moored next to the National Waterways Museum in Gloucester Docks. She was built in 1944 for the Ministry of War as a cargo transporter.  She is part of the National Historic Fleet, putting her in the same league as the Cutty Sark and HMS Victory.  The boat has recently been refurbished as an education centre and a meeting space.  She has disabled access, a galley kitchen and space for up to 60 people in a very smart and pleasant environment.  Our thanks to everyone at the Museum for making Sabrina available to us.

After the meeting we had a fascinating tour of the Museum, exploring the unique history of Gloucestershire’s waterways.

Who says Annual General Meetings are boring?

South Gloucestershire

South Gloucestershire Museums Group visits Aerospace Bristol

28 members of the museum group accepted an invitation to visit Aerospace Bristol on 8th November and were provided with refreshments and a talk by Linda Coode, Collections Manager. Linda gave the group a talk which outlined how the museum team brought this complex project to fruition overcoming many obstacles.

The museum certainly succeeds in showcasing the remarkable role played by the Bristol site in Britain’s aviation history and has many fascinating exhibits; Concorde being the star. The museum will as Linda says, “inspire the next generation” about science and engineering. Numerous exhibits – such as flight simulators and interactive options – show the museum is most definitely not just aimed at “plane spotters”.


South Gloucestershire Museums Group visiting Aerospace Bristol with Linda Coode, Collections Manager.

For more information about Aerospace Bristol visit

Those that lived to tell the tale

The War Memorials Launch of the Digital War Memorials Project and the New Project Exhibition: Those that lived to tell the tale took place on Thursday 9th November at Marshfield Community Centre. The project commemorates the contribution of the local people during the First World War and the challenges they faced.

Cllr. Ian Blair, Chair of South Gloucestershire Council and Cllr Tony Crouch, Chair, Marshfield Parish Council and City of Bath World Heritage Site Manager launched the event and 33 children of Marshfield Primary school sang two WW1 songs to commemorate the fallen..


Marshfield War Memorial - Launch of the Digital War Memorial Website and Exhibition 3

Capturing that moment of curiosity  

The family and military history of each name on the South Gloucestershire war memorials is being researched. Each completed memorial is given a QR code which is placed close by so that the information can be instantly viewed. Some have details that enable the identification of the local houses where they lived. This can be viewed at:

QR codes are now installed on 12 South Gloucestershire memorials with more in the pipeline.

Fantastic work by current volunteers, but more researchers and collators are urgently needed for this part of the project. Please contact us for further information. (Cherry Hubbard, Project Engagement Officer.


Those that lived to tell the tale'  

At the launch Councillor Ian Blair, Chair, South Gloucestershire Council spoke of the success of the first and second project travelling exhibitions. The first has had a footfall audience of 819,600 at 28 venues since it was first shown in 2014. The second exhibition has had a footfall of 72,000 travelling around 16 venues across South Gloucestershire 2016. Comments have included: ‘Great Display. Thought provoking’; ‘Dramatically improved my understanding of South Gloucestershire in WW1, did not realise we had such a connection.’; ‘Really brought home to me the impact of WW1 on local communities’

These comments show that the public have greatly appreciated the exhibitions and what they have set out to do.

Councillor Tony Crouch, Chair, Marshfield Parish Council and City of Bath World Heritage Site Manager spoke about the third WW1 travelling exhibition, it is about 'Those that lived to tell the tale', local people, whose experiences changed their lives forever. Some went on to brilliant careers; some held fast to their local communities, others were unable to pick up the pieces. One lady from Little Sodbury, the “Thankful Village”, even retrieved her wounded husband from the front by herself, so determined was she that they would live out their days in their village together, which they did.


Bill and Mary Leech from Little Sodbury, in later years, with the pretty silk handkerchief case Mary brought back from France.

Exhibition 3 can be viewed at:

02/01/2018 - 19.01.2018     Staple Hill Library

29/01/2018 - 16.02.2018     Emersons Green Library

26/02/2018 - 16.03.2018     Hanham Library

26/03/2018 - 12.04.2018     Winterbourne Library

23/04/2018 - 11.05/2018     Bradley Stoke Library

21/05/2018 - 08/06/2018   Filton Library

18/06/2018 - 06/07/2018   Kingswood library

16/07/2018 - 31/07/2018   Cadbury Heath Library

11/09/2018 - 21/09/2018     Patchway Library


Visit for more information.




South Gloucestershire Heritage Partnership Meeting

The theme for the last meeting on the 13th October at Emersons Green Village hall was local heritage and public engagement. The talks featured ways in which local town, parish and area councils and heritage organisations can engage the public with their local heritage and was an opportunity to hear about examples of good practice and network. The talks ranged from a national perspective to the local and covered: Industrial Heritage Support Networks; Know You Place; Bath and Bristol Cultural Destination Project campaigns and events; Page Park: How to develop and deliver a project with community involvement; Whitfield Tabernacle: how public consultation can inform the development of a heritage project; Kingswood Heritage Museum: recent public engagement projects; Thornbury Heritage Trails, a community project.

The 38 people that attended gave a very good feedback and comments are as follows:Enjoyed the day and learnt a lot, speakers were excellent.’; ‘Networking is always valuable. Meeting, understanding and sharing experiences is most beneficial.’; ‘I’ve enjoyed this session and the social media one. I love the opportunity to talk to others in the voluntary sector, I would like to be stimulated by similar sessions in the future.’

Know Your Place

Know Your Place is a digital mapping project to share heritage online through old maps, historic images and heritage data. An interactive legacy exhibition featuring Know Your Place: South Gloucestershire is on display at Downend Library from 29th November 2017 to 6th February 2018 and at Patchway Library from 13th February to 16th May 2018.

To find out more about Know Your Place visit

Gloucestershire Police Archives

Going from strength to strength

Gloucestershire Police Archives is going from strength to strength with 7 volunteers all working hard to get the archives ready for the move to the Heritage Hub. We have also got several invisible volunteers who give us assistance via the website and to identify faces on photos held in the archives in Stroud Police station.

We are also working with the artists linked to the Heritage Hub which has helped us to find things deep in the corners of the storage areas.

There are several projects in hand as next year sees the 100th anniversary of women officers and the 60th anniversary of the Police Rugby Football Club. We are hoping that these topics will bring a flood on information through the website  and the Gloucestershire Centenary of Women Police Officers project will lead to more collaborative working with Gloucestershire Archives and Tetbury Police museum.


Visit to see lots more photographs.

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