Uncovering the past at Gloucester Archives 18.06.19

The group participating in the Tale of Two cities project here have been busy researching the incredible history of their city.

On the 18th of June 2019, learners from Art Shape spent the day at the Gloucester Archives. They were greeted by their guide John, who arrived dressed in the traditional clothes of a 1700s highway man, including frock coat, pistols and tri-corn hat. John made a shock entrance when he emerged from a shadowy corner as the group approached the entrance.

Once inside, John our knowledge guide delivered a fun and informative presentation about Gloucester’s highway men and women. It included interesting poems, legends and real life accounts of highway robbery, crime and law enforcement from Gloucester’s past.

A rare treat. The group receive a glimpse of an 800 year old document written in Medieval latin

After lunch, John led the group on a tour of the archives where they were able to see rooms usually closed to the public. This included the chilly Cold Room, where temperatures are kept very low to help preserve the important historic documents stored there. The group braved the freezing temperatures for a few moments, before retreating back into the warmer corridor.

John also discussed the various ways in which the staff at the archives care for the ancient books, and rare documents in their collection. This included how to combat pesky threats like moths and rats, and John even produced a mummified rat to show everyone.

Aside from the rat, a particular highlight from the archives collection was an 800 year old document written in medieval latin.

Stand and deliver! A pair of dastardly highway men on the loose.

After the wonderful tour, there was time for eager staff and learners to take a photo with the notorious highway man himself.

It was a fantastic day of research, and everyone learnt so many new and interesting things. The trip to the archives gave the group lots of ideas for potential creative ways tp can bring Gloucester’s history to life.

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