Gloucestershire Heritage Hub

Friends of Gloucestershire Archives

Enhancing the Heritage Hub entrance

The Friends are best known for buying documents for the Archives, for raising funds for the recent refurbishment, and for their outings and talks. Our latest activity was somewhat different. 

We were concerned that the approach to the new Hub entrance was rather barren. Two broad flower beds by the entrance were just mud and weeds after the building contractors left.  Not the most welcoming sight for visitors.

We could not afford to employ a professional garden designer so approached a firm called Garden on a Roll which provides off the shelf planting designs, and also supplies all the required plants.  In due course large rolls of biodegradable paper arrived with all the plant positions marked on them, together with four crates of plants – a kind of painting by numbers but for gardens.  The crates contained a vast variety of plants, some familiar but other much less well known, and all in tip top condition.


On a rather damp Saturday at the end of September members of the Friends, with help from some noble staff members, set about planting nearly 200 shrubs and perennials. The following few days of rain were a godsend as they saved us the task of watering them in.

All the plants have survived the early days of Winter and we look forward to seeing them flourish in the Spring. We think the plants add considerably to the appearance of the Hub’s entrance, and we’ve been so grateful for all the many appreciative comments.  And our thanks to all the Friends whose annual subscriptions make such activities possible.

Behind the scenes at Gloucester Cathedral

In November the Friends organised a behind the scenes visit to Gloucester Cathedral. It was a chance to see parts of the building that the thousands of visitors each year never get to experience.

Becky Phillips, the Cathedral Archivist, gave us a conducted tour of the medieval Library and explained its history, including how most of the early books were dispersed at the dissolution of the monasteries and how the Library served for many years as the home of the Cathedral’s school before housing the records and books of the Dean and Chapter. She displayed a selection of documents which she thought would particularly interest us, a music score annotated by Sir Edward Elgar, manuscript music used by the choir in the 1600s, an Anglo Saxon manuscript narrating the life of a saint, and much more.

After a short break during which members could explore the Treasury and the new Tribune Gallery on their own, we ascended to the organ loft and squeezed past the vast organ case to reach the console from where it is played. Jonathan Hope, the Cathedral’s Assistant Director of Music and a well-known recitalist, explained the history of the instrument, which stretches back over 350 years.  He demonstrated the great versatility of the organ, the enormous variety of different sounding stops, and its ability to create the quietest ethereal sound and yet also to fill the Cathedral with ear-deafening music.  More than one member was seen to clasp their hands over their ears when Jonathan demonstrated the harmonic trumpet located just a few feet away from us.

Our thanks to Becky and Jonathan for a delightful and illuminating visit.

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