Gloucestershire Branch Programme

Gloucestershire Branch Programme 2020-21

Meetings normally begin at 7.30pm, and are usually on Mondays.

This season some meetings will be held on Zoom. Some will be at the University of Gloucestershire's Park Campus, Cheltenham. Gloucester meetings are at the Oxstalls Campus of the University of Gloucestershire. Both venues have large car parks, and bus 94U runs to both campuses from the centre of both Cheltenham and Gloucester.

Meetings are free for members, and £3.00 for visitors. School and university students are always welcome to attend free of charge.

For further details please contact the secretary, Robert Sutton: 01242 574889



Monday 28 September (Zoom meeting for members followed by Zoom webinar open to all)

Annual General Meeting followed at 8.15 by James Hodsdon (Secretary, Victoria County History Society)

The Victoria County History in Gloucestershire: Progress and prospects

In 2010, 50 years of public funding of the VCH project in Gloucestershire came to an abrupt end. A charitable trust now continues the work, under very different conditions. James Hodsdon reports on a decade of progress (three books published, three more in preparation), and touches on the challenges and opportunities.

Wednesday 7 October 2020 (University of Gloucestershire talk in association with the HA, MSTeams webinar)

Black History Month event - Dr Yvonne Battle-Felton (Lecturer in Creative Writing and Creative Industries, Sheffield Hallam University)

Slavery and Motherhood


Monday 19 October (Zoom webinar)

Black History Month event - Dr Melissa Bennett (University of Warwick)

Picturing the West India Regiment 1860-1914

In this talk I will discuss my work to draw to together the disparate photographic archive of the West India Regiments. Scattered across the Atlantic in public and private collections, photographs of the men who formed the first 'official' British Army regiment made up of men of African descent represent the men in contradictory ways. The men were both racialised as “others” and accepted as a formal part of the apparatus of the British Empire. At a time when “scientific” proof was being gathered to cement ideas about race, the men were certainly identified as black, and were differentiated from the white personnel of the British Army in a number of ways. However, they were not subjected to the same racialisation as the black civilians that they shared their homelands with. In fact, they were often depicted in ways that undermined the very stereotypes so commonly assigned to their peers. I'll discuss how the Regiments' archives can be used to learn about the characteristics of the British Empire between the mid-19th and early 20th century and some of the difficult histories that their archive intersects with.


Monday 23 November (Zoom webinar)

Jo Loosemore (Curator at The Box, Plymouth's new History Centre)

Mayflower 400: Legend and Legacy

Legacy - an epic journey of survival, imagination and 400 years of America. With objects, images and ideas from museums, libraries and archives across the UK, US and The Netherlands, find out how The Box, Plymouth is commemorating the 400th anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower. Curator Jo Loosemore will reveal the partnerships changing perceptions of the ship, its passengers and an Atlantic journey made 400 years ago.


Monday 7 December (Zoom webinar)

Ruth Waycott (Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty)

William Gilpin and "The Picturesque Wye Tour"

Drawing on the wealth of historical archive material available from Monmouthshire Museums Service this talk will focus on 'The Picturesque Wye Tour'.  It was William Gilpin’s book, Observations on the River Wye and several parts of South Wales, etc. relative chiefly to Picturesque Beauty; made in the summer of 1770, that opened the world’s eyes to the beauty of the Wye Valley.  Observations started a trend. Taking the Wye Tour became the height of  fashion in the period 1780 - 1830. Thousands came to 'do the Wye Tour', to enjoy specific viewpoints, visit romantic ruins like Goodrich Castle and Tintern Abbey and to wine and dine at the sites prescribed by Gilpin. 

It can be argued that the Wye Valley was the birthplace of British tourism and that the package holiday started with Gilpin. Painters, poets, writers and diarists recorded their own Wye Tours in amazing paintings, poetry and prose. Using paintings, sketches and diaries from the collections of Chepstow Museum, Ruth will take you on 'the Wye Tour' downstream from Ross on Wye to Chepstow, revealing much of the history of the Valley during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Chepstow Museum collected Wye Tour artworks as part of the HLF Collecting Cultures programme and these paintings and diaries provide a wealth of material which sheds light on the navigation of the Wye and the lives of people living along the river - as well as the Wye Tourists themselves.


Monday 18 January (University of Gloucestershire, The Park, Cheltenham)

Susan Slater (Retired teacher)

The Silk Road - Travel, Trade and Ideas

Starting with the Geography of Eurasia, we look at the developments Economic, Cultural and Political that led to the success of the Silk Road over some 700 years; we then look at its withering and demise, and the background to the re-emergence from obscurity of the region some 150 years ago, leading to the situation today.


Monday 22 February (University of Gloucestershire, The Park, Cheltenham)

Dr Tim Brain

The history of policing in England and Wales


Monday 22 March (University of Gloucestershire, The Park, Cheltenham)

Women's History Month - Maggie Andrews (Emeritus Professor of Cultural History, University of Worcester)

Nationalising Hundreds of Thousands of Women: Evacuation in the Second World War

Evacuees, standing on stations with gas masks and cardboard suitcases have become one of the iconic images of the Second World War. This talk explore the impact of evacuation on women whose stories are rarely heard; the mothers and the foster mothers, teachers and social workers, volunteers and members of women's organisations whose everyday lives were turned upside down by wartime evacuation. 

Monday 19 April (University of Gloucestershire, Oxstalls Campus, Gloucester)

Tom Wilkinson, (Teacher)

The Battle of Tewkesbury, 4 May 1471


Monday 10 May (University of Gloucestershire, The Park, Cheltenham)

Dr. Arizou Azad (Senior Research Fellow, Oriental Institute, University of Oxford)

The Impact of Islam on Afghanistan, Central Asia and Iran in the Middle Ages