View from Yate Heritage Centre

September 28 2015

ALTHOUGH much traditional museum and heritage work revolves around research, cataloguing and behind-the-scenes activities, there is also a great emphasis on the proactive.

Salvaging our Heritage 

 

ALTHOUGH much traditional museum and heritage work revolves around research, cataloguing and behind-the-scenes activities, there is also a great emphasis on the proactive. 

This is well illustrated by a less well known aspect of heritage work - salvaging our local history.

Protecting our local heritage may be regarded to some degree as the preserve of the conservation departments of local councils.

But with the best will in the world, it is just not feasible for council officers to be able to salvage every element of our vulnerable local heritage.

 

What does this involve? 

 

Sometimes we are approached with items about to be destroyed or thrown away. 

Occasionally this may involve merely providing temporary care for fragile artefacts before taking them to a specified record office or archaeological store. Often we are informed of historic items which are worth saving and can be used for display, research and educational purposes.

In recent years we have acquired a boundary stone from Horton, the sign of the old Swan pub in Yate and the hand painted war memorial board rescued from the former Chipping Sodbury cottage hospital, which occupies pride of place in the upstairs gallery of the centre. 

 

The Gazette Archive 

Although many of the artefacts present a few storage headaches, they are usually easily surmounted. However, more recently we were faced with a greater challenge.

The Gazette newspaper recently moved from Dursley to Stroud but had no means to store its accumulated photographs from the last 50 years.

We recognised these were an invaluable part of our heritage and could be lost. As a result we identified images not only from the Yate and Sodbury area but also from the rest of South Gloucestershire, which we will pass on to relevant museums and archives.

 We sifted through more than 10,000 images to identify their historic value, with several of our volunteers painstakingly poring over photographic negatives, involving countless hours of work. Nevertheless, we have saved this collection for posterity.

 Although the images only date back to the mid-1960s, there are some real pearls, including key local events such as the opening of both Poole Court in 1990 as council offices and Brimsham Green School in1979, as well as the closure of local institutions such as Yate market.

The photos also contain almost forgotten social history of the area, including presentations and social events at industrial giants TI Jacksons and Newman Industries. 

As a result, we hope to be able to make copies of these negatives and make accessible the information for generations to come. The originals are too copious to keep, so will go to Gloucester or Bristol records offices. 

 

For your diary 

Tuesday, October 6, 7.30pm, Yate lecture series, history of the Gloucestershire witch-finder. 

October 13-November 26, exhibition on the history of Frenchay Hospital and world War One in Yate and Sodbury. 

Tuesday, October 27, 7.30pm, Yate lecture series, letters from the trenches.