This post comes from third year undergraduate student in English Literature & History, Emily Smith.
In September, I became an intern at Gloucestershire Archives to work on a co-ordinated project with Gloucestershire Constabulary on their archive collection.
The project has grown from the discovery of photograph albums on police premises and the help of retired police officers in looking after the collection. To the creation of a database of archive material and images containing almost 2,000 entries, with the prospect of new facilities at Gloucestershire archives to be able to re-house the material.
During my internship, I have taken part in further oral history training, building on knowledge from my History degree and putting it into practice. Interviewing retired police officers for the collection has certainly been thoroughly interesting, particularly since they are used to being the ones asking the probing questions! With interviews still on going, I am learning a lot and enjoying the use of digital mediums to record an important part of British history. I recently interviewed retired police officer Bob Parker, who told the story of delivering supplies to Birdlip village, when it was cut off by heavy snow during the extreme weather of 1947. I was then able to turn this into a digital story, making it much more accessible to the community and presenting history in a different way.
A large part of my time with the archives has been devoted to creating and editing content for the website. With no prior web editing experience, this has been a very enjoyable experience. Being able to work with such interesting archive material has been invaluable. For example, I recently created a webpage using newspaper articles from the collection that outlined the unfortunate death of the first police officer murdered on duty, Sergeant Samuel Beard near Speech house in Gloucestershire.
Using photos and newspaper articles, we were also able to trace a father and his three sons, all police officers, and piece together their experiences during the First World War. You can find out the story of Henry Hayward and his sons in the early part of 2016, when the website goes live.
Gloucestershire Archives holds historic archive collections, as well as local and family history resources relating to Gloucestershire and south Gloucestershire. You can find out more about the collections they hold and planning your visit on their website.