Gloucestershire Heritage Hub

Local History

Victoria County History

“Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”

Winston Churchill

As we near the end of 2018 all three volumes – Cheltenham, Cirencester, Yate and the Sodburys - are at a point where, although there is still a lot of work to do and I can't claim the end is in sight, I do at least feel that we know where we're going and how to get there and that we are already a good way down the right road. Listening to the lunchtime news today, I could only have wished that our politicians could say the same about the project that Must Not Be Named.

You'll find drafts of our Work in Progress are posted on the VCH Central website ( and we will be posting more over the next few months.

We welcome comments on these, so do please have a look and let us know what you think. We also make transcriptions of documents we've used in our research available through the VCH Explore website (

During the building work our regular meetings for volunteers have been suspended, but we are now planning a get-together early in 2019. We are also contemplating running some short training sessions for volunteers on specific aspects of research. Do get in touch, if there's some skill, area of research or type of document you'd be interested in learning more about.

If you are interested in being kept in touch with our activities by e-mail, do let me know.

Jan Broadway, VCH Co-ordinator

GlosDocs – A New Way for Local History Groups to Publish.

Gloucestershire Local History Documents Online (or GlosDocs for short) is an experimental project of the Gloucestershire Local History Association which enables any member group to “self publish” material online.  This might be complete articles, exhibition displays, research notes, image collections, maps, transcriptions, online versions of out of print publications or any other type of document. 

Thames and Severn Canal Company: Minute Books 1783 - 1874 [GA TS\166]

This facility is not intended to replace the publishing of books, journals, monographs and pamphlets in hardcopy format which many groups do very successfully. However, GlosDocs makes available online, valuable material compiled by groups, which cannot be published in hardcopy format due to the constraints of printing costs and distribution. Furthermore very large documents and image collections can be accommodated which are likely to be too big for a groups own website (which would provide links to the material on GlosDocs.)  One way of thinking about the site is that it is an “electronic filing cabinet” where each group  can manage its  “own drawer”. The aim is that if you can use a word processor and book a holiday online then you will be able manage your part of GlosDocs!

Former Llanthony Corn Mill, Merchants Road, Gloucester [Hugh Conway-Jones]

The idea for the website came about at a recent GLHA Local History Day, where as usual, there were some excellent displays by groups on view. A lot of hard work had gone into researching and mounting the displays and it seemed a great pity that they could not have a wider audience. Fortunately this coincided with the emergence of low-cost “unlimited” web space and the availability of suitable open source (“free”) software to handle it online It was also immediately clear that the scope should be widened as described above.

Dauncey's Mill, Uley, Gwladys Davies Photographic Collection [GA D14791]

Over the last few months the site has been slowly under development and the best way to learn about it is to take a look ( Try terms like canal, Stonehouse, Painswick, Redler, Conway-Jones, industrial archaeology in the search box. Just like a Google search you will get a list of ‘hits’ which you can click on to take you to the relevant “index page” This will give you information about (and links to) the documents available for that topic (normally in PDF format).

Painswick Exhibition - Coats of Arms [Painswick Local History Society]

The Gloucestershire Society for Industrial Archaeology have uploaded a digitised version of the first minute book of the Thames and Severn Canal company (1783-1822) which contains more that 360 pages and is proving popular with canal historians. We have several more volumes to follow. You will find the Local History displays from Stonehouse Local History Group and your group’s could also be put here! At this stage of the project we are happy to advise on the preparation of material and even upload it for you. Please contact the author on 01453 860595 or for more details

Local History Day Display 2017 [Stonehouse History Group]

GLHA is running an introductory workshop on GlosDocs at Gloucestershire Archives on Monday 4 March 2019 at 2pm. This will not be a technical session but a discussion focussing on how groups might want to make use the facility.

Ray Wilson     Gloucestershire Society for Industrial Archaeology

Dr Jenner's House

In September, Dr Jenner’s House, Museum and Garden announced that it was facing potential closure unless £20,000 could be raised by March 2019. In just two months, over three quarters of the target had been raised, primarily through generous donations from individuals.

Owen Gower, Museum Manager, explained the situation:

“A few weeks ago, whilst being interviewed on local radio, I was asked whether museums still have a purpose in this digital age. It is true that now, more than ever, it is possible to see objects and engage with their stories outside of the museum building, something we’ve seen ourselves this year through our work with virtual reality. Yet there is something simply wonderful about being able to walk in Jenner’s footsteps, to find yourself perhaps standing in the spot where he realised that his discovery could save millions of lives. Or to stand outside the Temple of Vaccinia in the same place that people came for their first ever vaccination, placing their trust in Jenner in the hope of a world free from smallpox. This is what we want to save.

The Temple of Vaccinia, where Jenner vaccinated locals free of charge, has recently been named as one of Historic England's 100 Places telling the story of England

But Dr Jenner’s House isn’t just about looking back. We want to celebrate Jenner’s legacy and part of that is recognising that vaccines still save between 3 and 4 million lives every year. We want to talk about polio, which is so close to being eradicated, to explore the recurrence of measles, and to chart the race to find vaccines for new diseases. We want young people to be inspired by Jenner’s curious mind and to follow his example in asking questions of the world around us. We think that matters and that it is important that we do this against the backdrop of Jenner’s former home.

Clearly I’m not alone in this view. When we asked people to come to Dr Jenner’s House for a photocall in support of our fundraising campaign, over 230 people turned up.


Over 230 people came to show their support for Dr Jenner's House, Museum and Garden, which faces closure unless £20,000 can be raised by March 2019

Supporters are welcomed by Dr Timothy Wallington, Chair of The Jenner Trust (L), and Charles Martell, High Sheriff of Gloucestershire (R)

This year we’ve had a 7% increase in regular visitors, despite the best efforts of the weather to keep people away. We’ve opened new exhibitions, refreshed our existing displays, developed a virtual reality game that can be played at home, hosted scientists from around the country on Discovery Day, and so much more. But we know we still have lots to offer. We’ve already been speaking to a range of potential long-term funding partners and over the coming months we will be putting in grant applications to help us develop our offer and make us less reliant on charitable giving. This all takes time, so we hope that you’ll continue to support our campaign to keep the museum open and to raise £20,000 by March 2019.”

Donations in support of the Together for Jenner campaign can be made at Further details can be found by contacting Owen Gower, Museum Manager, on


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