Statement from Festival Chair, Richard Graham MP

To all our patrons, friends and supporters,


I’m very sorry that we had to make the decision last Friday to cancel both the King’s Talks that started that evening and the Blackfriars Talks next weekend.

And I understand the frustration of some of you that we did so – I know some people had eg made expensive hotel bookings and have had to re-arrange their weekends.

I can promise you that our own disappointment more than mirrored yours – we have all put a huge amount of time and energy into organising the Gloucester History Festival 2022.

It is true that the guidance by government was not definitive, and there was no simple instruction for us to cancel all the talks.

However we felt, as a mark of respect to the Royal Family and Her late Majesty in particular during a period of national mourning, that it would not be appropriate to try and realise the upbeat, positive spirit of talks, debate and occasional controversy that we have had for the last 12 years (and even when online only in 2020).

Most, but not all, of our loyal customers agreed with this decision, which was not an easy one but on which Trustees were unanimous.

Ultimately I am sure that we would have been criticised whatever our decision – either for showing disrespect by some or for being too cautious by others.

We chose the risk of the latter – and I am sorry we had make a decision sure to irritate some of our friends and supporters.

Those seeking refunds should have had an e mail on Saturday with advice, and there’s also a notice on our website with your options.

Our intention is to hold the postponed Kings Talks over the winter and the Blackfriars Talks in the Spring, and we’ll be in touch soon with more details about this and next September’s Festival.

Best regards

Richard Graham

Chair, Gloucester History Trust


Blackfriars Talks 2022

Blackfriars Talks 2022

 Friday 16th – Sunday 18th September


Blackfriars Talks 2022

Live at the beautiful Blackfriars Priory in Gloucester.

The Festival theme of families and innovations weaves through the programme at the magnificent 12 th century Blackfriars Priory. From the archaeological discoveries of Tutankhamun’s tomb to the fortresses of Alfred the Great, and from the dynasties of the Pharaohs and Tudors to the untold stories of families from medieval times to today, join us to hear history brought vividly to life.

Please scroll down for the full Blackfriars Talks Programme now on sale. Use the search function on the left below to narrow your search.

Blackfriars 2022 Events




fri16sep4:00 pmfri5:00 pmThe Secrets of Gloucester’s Westgate StreetAndrew Armstrong & Phil Moss

fri16sep6:00 pmfri7:15 pmIn Search of the Dark Ages: A History of Anglo-Saxon EnglandMichael Wood

fri16sep8:15 pmfri9:15 pmRiddle, Mystery and Enigma: 200 Years Of British-Russian RelationsDavid Owen

sat17sep12:00 pmsat1:00 pmFemina: A New History of the Middle Ages Through the Women Written Out of ItJanina Ramirez

sat17sep2:00 pmsat3:15 pmProfessor Alice Roberts: Buried

sat17sep4:15 pmsat5:15 pmInside The Cold War Mind: The War of NervesMartin Sixsmith

sat17sep6:00 pmsat7:00 pmThe Red Prince: John of GauntHelen Carr

sat17sep8:00 pmsat9:00 pmGloriana: Elizabeth I and the Art of QueenshipSiobhan Clarke

sun18sep12:00 pmsun1:00 pmAct of OblivionRobert Harris

sun18sep2:00 pmsun3:00 pmFortress of God: Aethelflaed, Gloucester & the Reconquest of EnglandAndrew Armstrong

sun18sep4:00 pmsun5:00 pm20th Century Prime Ministers: Harold WilsonNick Thomas-Symonds

sun18sep6:00 pmsun7:00 pmThe Partition of India: 75 Years OnYasmin Khan & Kavita Puri

sun18sep8:00 pmsun9:00 pmUnearthing Tutankhamun : 100 Years LaterJanina Ramirez

sat29oct6:30 pmsat7:30 pmInvasion: Edward III & The Hundred Years’ War | 2022 Winstone TalkDan Jones

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Gloucester History Trust Win Pandemic Pivot Award at the Museums and Heritage Awards

Gloucester History Trust Win Pandemic Pivot Award at the Museums and Heritage Awards

Gloucester History Trust Win Pandemic Pivot Award (fewer than 20 paid FTE employees) at the Museums and Heritage Awards

City Voices, Gloucester History Festival and Gloucester Heritage Forum are delighted to announce that their shortlisted collaboration project of Gloucester Looking Up has won the Pandemic Pivot Award at the National Museums and Heritage Awards on Thursday 1 July.

The National Museums and Heritage Awards have celebrated the very best within museums, galleries and heritage visitor attractions across the UK for over 10 years and the partners are incredibly proud that this wide-ranging project based on collaboration and partnership with the city’s cultural and heritage locations and organisations has been recognised. 

“In a year where the Pandemic resulted in isolation and separation for so many, for this deeply collaborative project celebrating connection and city-wide appreciation for our heritage and history to win, is incredible for Gloucester,  and a symbol of what partnerships can achieve even in the face of great challenge,”

says Jacqui Grange, Project Manager for Gloucester Looking Up.

The three lead partners in the project, City Voices, Gloucester History Festival and Gloucester Heritage forum worked closely with Gloucestershire Archives and were supported by film production company Squeaky Pedal and marketing consultants Flying Geese to ensure that Gloucester Looking Up project reached as many people as possible and deepened engagement with the City. 

In total, Twenty five artists, 125 volunteers, and over 40 organisations collaborated within an extraordinarily tight period of time to create an astonishing range of work. The descendant of a kindertransport child was traced,  and his image installed  in his former hostel – the Polish tenants who now live there were so proud they took the day off work; colourful artworks were installed across the city in windows for people to encounter on their daily walks; support for Black Lives Matter was shared through We See Gloucester ( Do You See Us?) in heritage venues across the city; the stories of all the people of the city, from the cleaners to the town crier, the poet to the veteran were told through interviews, poetry and commissioned films, in novel and accessible ways, including a British Sign Language Tour, downloadable artists maps, and activities for families and children.

To deliver this, a tiny team worked round the clock, with just 2 months to pull together the content, and create a new website for Gloucester History Festival to showcase in September 2020.

Richard Graham, Gloucester MP says,

“This award is a real boost to the exciting community based projects that bring alive the City Voices strand of our Gloucester History Festival. A great day for pride in our city, its stories, diversity and togetherness.”

As well as being well received critically by local and national audiences, this new digital content allowed the partnership to build and grow new and more diverse audiences. Over 26k people watched the films, and new social media activity generated a reach of 1.3M people – all of whom are now more aware of the special stories that Gloucester has to tell than they were before. 

The Gloucester Looking Up project was funded by Historic England. 

City Voices congratulates all the Museums and Heritage Awards winners!

Pandemic Pivot category shortlistees:

  • Northe Front – for demonstrating how heritage sites have an important role to play during the pandemic 
  • Thelma Hulert Gallery – for their project the Creative Cabin – art and nature on tour
  • Ourselves
  • Chawton House – for their project transforming Chawton House: The Covid year
  • South West Museum Development – for their Pest Partners project. 
Submit to our Memory Bank

Submit to our Memory Bank

As part of the City Voices programme, the Festival are inviting you to submit some of your favourite Gloucester based memories

These memories will be used in a digital memory box as part of the Gloucester Looking Up project

We will do our best to share many of these on social media throughout the year, and some of the most
treasured memories will be included in a special film that will be launched to celebrate our
10 th Birthday celebrations.


You can share your memories in many ways:

-Typing them out

-Creating social media content us to share

-Creating photomontages and sending them us

-Uploading an audio clip of yourself telling the story

-Any other appropriate way that you can think of


For more information and to submit your memory
click here