Gloucestershire Branch Programme

Gloucestershire Branch Programme 2020-21

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

This season all meetings will be held as Zoom webinars, registration details can be found on the branch website.

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 (National Trust/Greater London Authority)

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 (Zoom webinar)

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 (Zoom webinar)

Dr Tim Brain

The history of policing in England and Wales

Dr Tim Brain, the chief constable of Gloucestershire from 2001-2010 and a noted police historian, will give a talk on the History of Policing in England and wales, from its very beginnings in Anglo-Saxon England until the present day, charting its transformation from a voluntary act of community duty to a 21st century professional service. Along the way he will review some of the seminal and controversial events in the service’s evolution.


Monday 22 March (Zoom webinar)

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 (Zoom webinar)

Tom Wilkinson, (Teacher)

The Battle of Tewkesbury, 4 May 1471

'afore them, and upon every hand of them, fowle lanes, and depe dikes, and many hedges, with hylls, and valleys, a ryght evill place to approche, as cowlde well have bene devysed’  

The Wars of the Roses represent a crossroads in English history, marking the end of the Medieval period and the beginning of the Early Modern. Spanning the second half of the fifteenth-century, sporadic fighting between the Houses of Lancaster and York pitted some of the most well-known figures in Medieval history against one another; Henry VI, Edward IV, Richard III and Henry Tudor.  

In 1471 the Lancastrians had begun a campaign to dethrone the incumbent Edward IV. Led by the teenage Prince Edward and his mother Margaret of Anjou, the Lancastrians hoped to join forces with Jasper Tudor in Wales before a confrontation with Edward IV. After landing in Weymouth in April 1471 the Lancastrians had moved north through the West-Country in an attempt to cross the River Severn into Wales.  After being denied entry into Gloucester by Yorkist loyalists, Prince Edward and Margaret had marched north to attempt the crossing at Tewkesbury.  

In pursuit was the Yorkist Edward IV, the dynamic Yorkist King of England. Determined to prevent the Lancastrians crossing the Severn, Edward had kept pace with the Lancastrians. Exhausted by the march through difficult terrain and hot weather, the Lancastrians stopped to rest at Tewkesbury. Edward met the Lancastrian army at Tewkesbury, and one of the most decisive battles of the Wars of the Roses began.  

By the end of the battle Prince Edward, son of Henry VI, had been executed along with many of the leading Lancastrian nobles. Margaret of Anjou had fled the field, only to be captured and exiled to France. Less than three weeks later Henry VI was murdered in the Tower of London. Victory at Tewkesbury solidified the Yorkist hold on the crown of England for the next fourteen years.


Monday 10 May (Zoom webinar)

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