Branch and Local News


Chairman             (Richard Slessor)                         01242 604482 

Secretary             (Robert Sutton)           01242 574889

Publicity Officer    (Andrea Robertson)     01242 575049


The term of office of Janet Graham as an ordinary committee member came to an end at the 2018 AGM. Janet was re-elected for a further three year term.

Jenna Pateman, who had been co-opted as a committee member during the previous year,
was elected for a three-year term as an ordinary committee member. As a current student at the University of Gloucestershire, Jenna is able to provide the committee with a very useful extra viewpoint.

We would like to emphasise again the need for succession planning, particularly since the branch officers will not be able or willing to remain in office indefinitely.

We would be delighted to hear from any member who is interested in serving on the committee; please contact the Chairman or Secretary. This does not have to be before an AGM; we can co-opt you initially at any point in the year.


Resolutions were passed at the 2015 AGM to change the official name of the branch to the
'Historical Association Gloucestershire Branch’ and to authorise the Treasurer to consolidate the two existing branch accounts into one new account. The saga surrounding the implementation of these resolutions seemed endless, but we are delighted to announce that we do now – finally! – have new banking arrangements.

Please use ‘Historical Association Gloucestershire Branch’ on all cheques you make out to the branch from now on (including associate membership renewal).


School and university students are always welcome at all our meetings, without any entry fee.

Meetings normally begin at 7.30 p.m. However, speaker commitments on Mondays have led to slightly more variations than usual from that pattern this time, so please check individual dates and times carefully!

As usual, we have aimed to devise a programme of talks covering a wide range of interesting topics, both geographically and chronologically. Details are on this website at recent visitor from HA headquarters was particularly enthusiastic about the list of talks; we hope you will agree! Some topic examples:

This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the ‘summer of love’, and Dr Christian O’Connell of the University of Gloucestershire talked about it after the AGM in September.

Another anniversary this year is of course the centenary of the RAF, and we shall be marking it in November with a session on The RAF and the Berlin Airlift 1948-49. Paula Kitching from the Historical Association’s own RAF100 project will be speaking, and showing a film specially produced as part of that project.

Our special Black History Month presentation this year will feature Dr Charles Gore of SOAS talking about the pre-colonial empires of West Africa, with a special focus on Benin and its
magnificent artistic achievements.

This season we are also marking Women’s History Month in March, with a talk on Female Explorers in Antarctica, 1913-1970.


Again this year we are dividing our meetings between Cheltenham and Gloucester. The venue for Cheltenham meetings will continue to be the Teaching Block, University of Gloucestershire, Park Campus, Cheltenham, (GPS: enter The Park, Cheltenham). Gloucester meetings will be at the Oxstalls Campus of the University of Gloucestershire.

Both venues are easily accessible by car (with plenty of parking), and also by bus 94U from both Cheltenham and Gloucester. Full details of how to get to the venues are on this website at

Just a reminder that if you find it physically difficult to walk to our Cheltenham meeting venue (3-4 minutes) from the main car park at the Park campus, please let either the chairman or the secretary know. Although we are unable to guarantee it, it is often possible to make use of a small car park closer to the building in which the meetings are held.


We plan to have the branch Christmas lunch at the Star Bistro at Ullenwood again this year. The bistro enables young people with disabilities to work, train and learn alongside professional hospitality and catering teams; both service and food are excellent,and it is good to support this well-respected organisation.

We provisionally plan to book the Star Bistro for lunch on Saturday 8 December. You might like to put this date in your diary or calendar with a question mark against it; firm details and a booking form will be circulated to members nearer the time.


The subscription rates again remain unchanged at £15 (£12.50 concessions). Current associate members should have received a copy of the membership form for 2018-19 with the summer newsletter. If you have not yet sent in the form, please return it as soon as possible to the Secretary, Mr R Sutton, 9 Tom Price Close, Cheltenham, Glos GL52 2LE. Cheques should be made payable to 'Historical Association Gloucestershire'



Our summer outing on Saturday June 23 was to Whittington Court near Cheltenham.
Whittington is a small Tudor manor house with Jacobean and later additions. The present house, believed to sit on the site of a much earlier manor, was probably started by Richard Cotton of Carmarthen, with later additions built by subsequent generations of the Cotton family through the 16th and 17th centuries.

The mother of the present owner Jenny Stringer inherited it unexpectedly from her godmother, and found herself the possessor not only of a house massively in need of repair, but also of much of an estate village where the houses lacked even the basic services! We saw photos showing just how much work needed to be carried out, and were impressed by how much has indeed been done in the last 20 years or so.

At the beginning of our visit a local resident gave us a fascinating and frequently highly amusing introduction to the house’s complicated history, and highlights of the tour itself included the dining hall, the most complete part of the early house with its four-centred arch chimneypiece of around 1590; the library in the east wing with its elaborate and ambitious Renaissance fireplace; and the massive oak staircase dating from before 1637 (with its rare early dog gate!).

The house contains some interesting furniture as well as a substantial collection of glass, ceramics, textiles, minerals and fossils, Egyptian artefacts and books. Much of this came from the personal collection of Jenny’s father, a noted museum curator and collector.

The day also had its culinary highlights! Many of those going on the tour had lunch beforehand at the Craven Arms in Brockhampton, and the afternoon ended with the possibility of home-made cakes at Whittington Court – in the attractive garden, for those tempted by a sunny afternoon!


On Tuesday June 19, thanks to the hard work of a planning subcommittee consisting of  committee members Andrea Robertson, Janet Graham and Jonny Sheldon, the branch organised its first teachers’ event for a number of years.

A member of staff from HA headquarters, MaheemaChanrai, came to talk about how the HA resources for schools can be used, and there were valuable presentations from Christian O’Connell of the University of Gloucestershire and from Cathy Feltham of Dean Close School about the future of the study of history. In addition, a number of organisations including English Heritage, Historic England, Gloucester Civic Trust and the Friends of Pittville set up stands, and were available to discuss how students, teachers and members of the public can work with them.

At the end of the morning there was a lively and productive discussion session involving teachers, organisation representatives and members of our branch. Although the number of teachers attending was smaller than we had hoped, we received some excellent feedback both from participants and from the local organisations, and we plan to have a similar event in 2019. We aim to do further research to establish the best month, day of the week and time for maximum attendance. If you are involved with history education in Gloucestershire, we would very much welcome your thoughts on this. Please contact Andrea Robertson at


We would like to express our thanks and appreciation to Margaret Tweedy for many years of service and support to the branch. A history teacher who undertook research on the history of the West Indies, in particular Antigua and Barbuda, Margaret stood down from the committee at the 2017 AGM having served the branch latterly as an ordinary member of the committee, following periods of office as branch secretary and later as branch chairman in the 1970s and 1980s.

Under her leadership and working with other branch stalwarts, including Roger Whiting, Mary
Bowen, Evelyn Christmas and John Howe, the branch had a varied programme which attracted large audiences, with speakers including A.J.P. Taylor. During her period as a branch officer a successful series of sixth form conferences was also run. Margaret wrote an article on the history of our branch for the first edition of the HA magazine The Historian in 1983, and was one of the branch representatives at the 75th anniversary celebrations of the HA in 1984. We wish her well in her continuing active retirement, particularly as she rejoices in becoming a grandmother.


Andrea Robertson continues to do great work on developing new publicity approaches for the branch, including focusing on specific groups of people who might enjoy attending particular meetings.

Ideas for publicity from members are always welcome; please contact Andrea at


Many of our members are now receiving branch news by e-mail, which keeps our costs down, though we recognise that not all members have computer access. If any member's situation has changed, and they can now accepy material by e-mail, the secretary ( would be pleased to hear from them.


Ideas for content, improvement or format of this website are always very welcome; please contact Richard Slessor.


Each year a local history society hosts a regional meeting in the summer where, through talks and guided walks, the history of the area is explored.

Tidenham Historical Group will host the next Summer Meeting, on Saturday 29 June 2019.

Details and a booking form will be available on the GLHA website in due course.