CHELTENHAM’S 'BIG RED BOOK'
Victoria County History Volume 15

For more information on the Victoria County History have a look at the national site.

PROGRESS SO FAR

The most recent achievement has been the very successful launch of the VCH Short Cheltenham Before the Spa – so successful that more copies have been printed. The book, well-illustrated and with explanatory panels, is the fullest account of the early history of our town before it became renowned for its spa waters, architecture, educational establishments and festivals. Dr Beth Hartland researched the medieval sections, Dr Alex Craven covered the post-medieval period up to 1740, and Dr John Chandler provided the editorial input that brought the whole thing together.

In due course, the text of this paperback will form part of the ‘Big Red Book’ itself (or VCH Gloucestershire Volume XV, to give it its formal title). Also now completed are the first drafts of many of the planned sections of Cheltenham’s history up to 1945.

WHAT IS HAPPENING NOW?

Work on the last time period, 1945 to the present day, is being carried out by Jan Broadway, County Volunteer Coordinator.

With much of the work on the parish, hundred and manor of Cheltenham completed, we are now turning to Leckhampton, Swindon and Charlton Kings. At present, much of this initial and consolidation research is being carried out by volunteers from the Local History Societies.

Swindon - Spurred on by John Chandler, and with the title ‘It’s Bedlam Down There’, Eileen and Sally are researching the history of the commercial and retail development at Kingsditch and Gallagher Retail Park. If you have any personal memories, information or photographs we would love to hear from you.

Leckhampton – exploration of how to build on the extensive local knowledge of Eric, Mike, and Carol is now being undertaken.

Charlton Kings is in the very early stages – an important deposit at Gloucestershire Archives, the Prinn, Russell and Hunt families of Charlton Kings, is being fully catalogued by Sally and will in time feed into its history.

CONTINUED APPEAL FOR FUNDS

Raising funds is a priority. As you can read here, much of the initial work is being done by volunteers, but to complete the project we need to employ professional historians and they only work for a salary – and in some cases a very modest one!

A MONTHLY DONATION?

All support is welcome – even the price of a coffee once a month (though a coffee and a big slice of cake would be even better!). Please follow the link below and see how you can set up (and of course cancel) a monthly donation.

www.victoriacountyhistory.ac.uk/counties/gloucestershire/support

VOLUNTEERING

The volunteers who are already working for the VCH have a very good time – we are a really social bunch and have coffee breaks and lunch hours and many a good ‘chinwag’, apart from contributing to such a worthwhile project.

Please get in touch, phone or email - we can give you more information person to person rather than by lengthy explanations here!

Contacts:

Sally Self - volunteer co-ordinator: 01242 243714, projects.clhs@btinternet.com

Jan Broadway - VCH Gloucestershire Co-Ordinator: 01452 616387, janb@xmera.co.uk

James Hodsdon - Gloucestershire County History Trust: 01242 233045, jj49@btinternet.com