Birth of the GBRG

The Birth of the Gloucestershire Buildings Recording Group

By Tim Blatchford

I was one of the original members of the GBRG and thought it would be helpful to describe the Group’s origins and what it has achieved.

The inaugural meeting was held at 2.00pm on Saturday 27th March 1993 in the council chamber, Cotswold District Council, Trinity Road, Cirencester. The agenda listed three speakers:

Mr A. Brodie of the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England-Recording Buildings.

Mrs Linda Hall, Council of British Archaeology’s Glossary of Fittings and Fixtures.

Mrs P. Slocombe-Wiltshire Buildings Record.

The call was for interested people to step forward and offer their services for recording or documentary research. Sheila King, (later Ely) set up the group and still lives near Stroud.  At that time she worked in the planning department at the Cotswold District Council. She was shortly to move to RCHM (later to be absorbed by English Heritage-the successor to HBMC). At that time she was concerned that many buildings were not of sufficient worth to be the subject of investigation by RCHM, but nevertheless had merit and deserved investigation and recording.

Several people were interested in this initiative and some were also aware of achievements made by the well established group in the next county, The Wiltshire Buildings Record. In the course of the next few years we made some memorable recording visits to interesting Gloucestershire houses. These included the Ancient Ram Inn at Wotton-under-Edge, which was owned by a gentleman who had been an engine driver in the last days of steam locomotion.

A particularly memorable visit was made to Sonia Rolt’s house ‘The Cottage’ at Stanley Pontlarge. She was a most hospitable and knowledgeable host. This was an illustration of how a building inspection can develop into something much more than a survey.

Various initiatives were taken up by individual members of the Group. One was to obtain estate agents particulars of historic properties that came on the market. The Group meant different things to different individual members.  Some were interested in the recording and documentation. Others were more interested in the historic development of a building. Yet others were more interested in the social side of the Group and its programme of talks and visits.

Two further examples of buildings thoroughly investigated by the Group were:

The Surgery, Hardwicke Green

Yew Tree Farm, Brookthorpe with Whaddon.

One of our visits was organised by Malcolm Foster the then Conservation Officer to Tewkesbury District Council and he conducted a walk for members round Tewkesbury, and drew attention to a number of notable buildings including the unique row of 23 shops dating to 1450.

Note: The GBRG would be very grateful for any photographs of the early outings ,or buildings mentioned here to help illustrate this article.