The EVOKE Project and Memories Café at Gloucestershire Heritage Hub
It’s hard to believe that the EVOKE project is very nearly at the end of its 2-year span and I delivered the last session this morning. This time I was talking to a group of carers at Gloucestershire Carer’s Hub - just around the corner in Worcester Street. I had mixed feelings as I packed away the iPads for perhaps the last time: a sense of achievement at the completion of a successful project and a slightly heavy heart that it was coming to an end.
EVOKE was designed in response to the recognition that archives can bring benefits to many people who don’t currently use our service or know about us. The power of reminiscence for people living with dementia and the people caring for them is well established, and so a project which takes archive resources out to community places like day care centres and memory cafés was born.
Over the course of 2 years we’ve visited places all over the county (and South Glos.) and shared stories and laughter with around 800 people. Carers told us that they found out things they never knew about the people they are looking after, and some people who we were told ‘didn’t usually join in’ did so with gusto. As with so many of our activities at the archives, much of this was made possible because of the team of magnificent volunteers who gave their time, positivity and energy to making the sessions friendly and fun.
The monthly Memories Café was a spin off from EVOKE and has been a regular feature in our programme on the first Sunday of every month since April 2019. Sunday afternoons can be an empty point in the week for some older people, so we decided to fill that space with companionship, conversation and cake. The café offers free refreshments, live music and activities with a nostalgic flavour. It is open to everyone and we take pride in making sure that all our customers have a good time. People living with dementia and their friends and families are sure of a safe and welcoming experience. We’re having a break over the winter months with plans to emerge from hibernation in the Spring.
Over the past 2 years I’ve collected loads of quotes from people at EVOKE sessions and at the café . Here are a few of my favourites:
‘It was great fun and very relaxing. It was lovely to share my memories with you and to remember all those happy times’.
‘The residents carried on chatting for ages after you had left, and the mood around the residents’ lounge was really happy for the rest of the morning’.
‘We love coming here. Mum really looks forward to it.’
‘Usually when P and I come to this kind of thing he says ‘What am I doing here?’ - but here he just fits in and has a great time. You’re all so good at making people feel relaxed and included’.
New Book Stock – January 2020
There is a fascinating array of books on the New Book Stock shelves in the searchroom at the moment. Most of them were published and added to stock during 2019.
This is just a small selection of items available for research at Gloucestershire Archives.Gloucestershire Archives is always grateful to receive items in printed or digital format to enhance stock.
A-Z Cheltenham, Places, People, History – David Elder. Eclectic mixture of subjects covered in this format.
Woman with the Iceberg Eyes: Oriana J. Wilson – Katherine MacInnes
Laurie Lee Down in the Valley A Writer’s Landscape – Edited by David Parker
The Medieval Clothier – John S. Lee (Published 2018). Plate VII in this volume shows a portrait of Thomas Bell, a Mayor of Gloucester who acquired Blackfriars Priory after the dissolution of the monasteries. He made the main church his mansion and used other buildings as workshops for his weavers.
The Last Days, Lower Chedworth 1840 – 1959 – Barry Pilkington
My adventures with Britain’s Rare Breeds – A Breed Apart – Adam Henson. Biographical information from Countryfile presenter and owner of the Cotswold Farm Park based in Gloucestershire
Werner Zorek: From Breslau to Gloucester and Beyond – Michael Zorek. Information about the Kindertransport scheme
Maps for Family and Local History – The records of the Tithe, Valuation Office and National Farm Surveys of England and Wales 1836 – 1943 – Second revised Edition – Geraldine Beech and Rose Mitchell. This was published in 2004 but only presented to Gloucestershire Archives by the kind gift of Charlie Morriss in November 2019
Gloucestershire Record Series Volume 33 ‘Conspicuously marked’: Vehicle Registration in Gloucestershire, 1903 -13 – Edited by Peter Barlow and Martin Bootham. The Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society. This book was launched and well received during Gloucester History Festival 2019 and as usual with these volumes it includes some really useful indexes. Index of Places, Index of Names, Index of Occupations, Index of Car Manufacturers and Index of Motor Manufacturers. The vehicle registrations examined are AD for the County of Gloucestershire and FH for the City of Gloucester. There is also a fascinating introduction explaining the information that survives about vehicle registration in Gloucestershire.
The History of Tewkesbury’s War Hospitals 1914 – 1918 ‘Alien Duties for the Privileged’? – John Dixon with research assisted by Linda Kean-Price THS Publications No. 17
Historic England Gloucestershire Unique Views from the Archives of Historic England, by David Elder
Stroud and the Five Valleys From Old Photographs – Howard Beard
Gloucester From Old Photographs – Images from John Rowden – Philip Moss & Derrick Hall. This was published in 2016 but has been a constant favourite with people looking at old photographs of Gloucester.
Secret Forest of Dean – Mark Turner. Photographs and information from across the Forest of Dean district about places not always well-known.
A-Z of Gloucester, Places, People, History – Roger Smith. Eclectic mixture of subjects covered in this format.
Kiftsgate Court Gardens Three Generations of Women Gardeners – Vanessa Berridge. Sumptuous photography by Sabina Ruber helps to make this a fascinating study of these internationally well-known gardens
The New Regard The Journal of the Forest of Dean Local History Society. Contains a variety of articles about local research by some of the members.
Cheltenham Local History Journal. Contains a variety of articles about local research by some of the members.
Also on display in the research room at the moment are a few books from the English Civil War collection, which was transferred to Gloucestershire Archives from Stow on the Wold Library a few years ago. These give a flavour of the much larger collection which is kept in our strong rooms, but is fully listed and orderable on the online catalogue.
Archive & Records Association Volunteering Award 2019
Volunteers, staff and ARA representatives enjoyed the celebration afternoon which included two films showcasing volunteering at the Heritage Hub and of course lots of tea and cake.
Aideen Ireland (President of ARA), Karl Magee (Chair of ARA Board), Sally Self (Volunteer), Sally Middleton (Community Heritage Development Officer) and Heather Forbes (Head of Gloucestershire Archives)
Sally Self and Sally Middleton accepting the Volunteering Award from Aideen Ireland.
Volunteers and staff getting ready to watch the two films showcasing volunteering in action
Sarah Orton, Volunteer Makers, addressing the audience about the impact and value of volunteering
Volunteer Liz Jack hands out packets of sweet pea seeds to other volunteers as a small thank you from Gloucestershire Archives.
For more information about the Volunteering Award read the article in the Autumn 2019 e-newsletter here