Volunteers' Tea Party
1st December 2018
We were thrilled that so many of our wonderful volunteers could join us for a festive tea-party on 1st December. For us it was an opportunity to say ‘thank you’ for all their time, dedication, skill and patience with our ongoing refurbishments. Among many other things, last year volunteers helped us to:
- catalogue and care for some of our collections
- raise our profile on social media
- provide ‘EVOKE’ reminiscence sessions in venues across Gloucestershire and South Gloucestershire
- add World War 1 information into Know Your Place, the award winning digital mapping resource
Many members of staff stepped up to the plate (literally) to provide delicious cakes - giving rise to the traditional cry ‘We’ll never eat all this lot!’ As always, people rose to this challenge and came back for just one more wafer-thin slice until just crumbs and a few neglected clementines remained. Kate Maisey took anyone who could still move on a spritely ‘behind-the-scenes’ tour, and John Putley entertained the crowd with his talk about ‘Christmas at the Archives. John’s talk featured The Most Depressing Christmas Card of All Time, and many other treasures from our collections. Kate O’Keefe set a fiendish quiz called ‘Proper Gloucester or Great Imposter’- she’s promised to make it a bit easier next time!
‘Racing Remembers’ in November was a great opportunity to highlight some of the work of Gloucestershire Archives @ the Heritage Hub. The Centaur Hall at Cheltenham racecourse was packed with displays from heritage groups and organisations around Gloucestershire and South Gloucestershire, including ours, all invited to showcase what they have been doing to commemorate the First World War.
Head of Archives, Heather Forbes, was helped on the day by Archives volunteers involved in creating the new World War 1 layer on Know Your Place – one of our key partnership websites. Drawing in the crowds to our Hub display were the original large boards made by local historian David Drinkwater when he first began his ambitious project to plot the homes of serving soldiers and their families in Cheltenham. Thanks to the enthusiastic group of volunteers from Cheltenham Local History Society, all the images and information gleaned by David’s research can now be accessed online on KYP.
“We spoke to well over 150 people during the day”, said Heather. “They were fascinated to see how Know Your Place shows the impact of the First World War on Cheltenham families. We are very grateful to David for sharing his hard work and to all the volunteers for contributing to this project.”
Introduction to collection care
We held an ‘introduction to collection care day’ on 22 October. Topics covered included:
- identifying risks and appreciating a range of actions for protecting collections,
- understanding and sourcing archival enclosures
- looking at the use of a broad and adaptable framework as a tool to help plan and prioritise activities.
It was great to be able to meet and work with a dedicated group of enthusiastic heritage activists from across the county. Many signed up to receive our quarterly e-newsletter and join the Heritage Hub community.
Participants told us it was a:
“Really good introduction to ‘collection care’ no matter if an individuals collection or a society’s.”
“very informative . . . and have learnt a lot”
We also had some useful feedback to help us make the experience even more helpful next time around, and we plan to hold another introduction day in the new year. Although we don’t have a date yet we already have a waiting list – watch the news pages on the Heritage Hub website for an announcement www.heritagehub.org.uk
Port of Gloucester Crew Lists all ship shape!
Working one morning a week from November 2015 and finishing October 2018, volunteers Margaret and Terri trawled through 44 large boxes of Port of Gloucester Crew Lists. The boxes included information about ships trading from the port of Gloucester, down the Severn estuary to Bridgewater and Cardiff and beyond.
The boxes contained agreements and log books from 1853 to 1913 and six monthly returns giving lots of information about ships, owners, crews, voyages and significant ‘incidents’ on board. Along the way Margaret and Terri came across mutinies, shipwrecks and desertions!
The documents have now been re-sorted by ship number with new protective enclosures to improve long term preservation, facilitate production and the catalogue and location data updated. (D3080 Port of Gloucester Crew Lists).
A very big thank you to Margaret and Terri for all their hard work and staying power and for making this enormous collection accessible to all.
Ann Attwood - Collections Care Development Officer
11 December 2018
We are delighted that three of the five commissioned artworks have now been completed and are on display in the Heritage Hub.
If you are visiting the Heritage Hub do have a look at the beautiful artwork.
Natasha Houseago finished her very dramatic oak sculpture, called The Archivist, in November just in time to catch the gorgeous autumn colours. Within the sculpture Natasha drilled small holes and staff and visitors were able to embed small personal artefacts and handwritten messages that maybe future generations will find.
Julia O'Connell finished her beautiful printed and embroidered textile panels, called Archive Five (four shown below), in December and these are now hanging in the Frith room.
TomatoJack Arts (Lynda Knott and Angela Williams) finished their striking and very colourful mosaic panels earlier in the year and are now on permanent display in the community garden, standing alongside The Archivist.
We are looking forward to Imogen Harvey-Lewis completing the final two artworks which we hope, weather permitting, will be by the summer.
For more information about the artists visit -
Kim Kenny - For the Record Project Officer kim.kenny2@Gloucestershire.gov.uk
Thank you to our funders - Allchurches Trust
The royal visit was a good opportunity to thank our principal funders. We were particularly pleased to welcome our local funders, including Allchurches Trust who were represented by Paul Playford (Grants Officer) and Emma Smith (Communications and Marketing Manager). Gloucester based Allchurches Trust - one of the UK's largest grant-making charities, kindly donated £5000 to the Friends of Gloucestershire Archives towards the development of the Heritage Hub. The Trust's funds come from its ownership of Ecclesiastical Insurance Group
Since our project is all about community engagement, we put some of Allchurches Trust's funding towards artwork inspired by workshops in care homes and communities across the county. The rest of the grant helped provide community notice boards and interpretation, including the feature photographic walls that were created from the winning landscape photos following a public competition.
We feel these features contribute significantly to the warm welcome we offer community groups and individuals who visit the Heritage Hub, including the Age UK group of Kingsholm residents who now visit each Thursday.
We are most grateful to Allchurches Trust for making this possible, and for joining us on our special day.
Emma Smith and Paul Playford meeting The Princess Royal.