About the Project

Excerpt from BBC Radio Gloucestershire Interview, 2 Jan 2010

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'About the Project' page

The Background Story

By Annette Chapman

The Gloucester Rugby Football Community Heritage Project aims to capture, preserve, celebrate and share Gloucester's rich rugby heritage, revealing its impact and importance for the City and the County.

The origins of the Project lay in work to build a new grandstand at Gloucester Rugby Club's ground at Kingsholm in 2007. Preparations for demolition of the old South Stand brought to light 31 boxes crammed with old photographs, papers and other memorabilia, dating back to the 19th Century. Saved from the skip by Gloucester Rugby Club Community Marketing Manager Gary Little, the boxes' contents were handed over to Gloucestershire Archives and a small team (Malcolm King, John Theyers and John Cowen) went through all the material to assess its value. It was decided that there was indeed much of interest and that it should form the basis of a Gloucester Rugby archive within Gloucestershire Archives and of an on-line archive; it was also assessed that there was plenty of potential for using the material for educational purposes.

As a member of Friends of Gloucestershire Archives and longstanding rugby season ticket holder, Malcolm King took up the role of Project Manager. The next step was to secure funding. Gloucestershire Archives, Friends of Gloucestershire Archives and Gloucester Rugby Club (all partners in the Project) donated resources. However, with such a range and quantity of material to collate, and the Project's aims becoming ever more ambitious, it was decided to bid for finance from the National Heritage Lottery Fund. In late 2008 the good news came through - the Project had secured nearly £50K, to be spent in 3 years, spread almost equally across capital and activity costs. This brought funding to a total of £88K. This financed the delivery of this web site, permanent static displays at the Gloucester Rugby Club, educational materials for the National Curriculum and temporary displays for events around the County. All the objectives of the HLF funding were met within the three year period.

Further growth of the project resulted from follow-on sponsorship by Ecclesiastical Insurance from 2012 to 2015. This allowed additional displays, expansion of the on-line archive, additional educational materials, the subsidy of educational visits and the publication of books. The Citizen newspaper and BBC Radio Gloucestershire have also supported the project, and material has been donated or loaned for copying by some 90 individuals so far, including many former players and members of the public. Although the Project is very much focussed on the Gloucester Rugby Club, its remit also encompasses Gloucestershire and England rugby where Gloucester players are involved.

This page was added by Dick Williams on 16/06/2009.
Comments about this page

Although I read about the lottery award a couple of years ago I hadn't come across the site until now. As a professional archivist who's been involved with similar projects elsewhere I think it's got the potential to develop into something really excellent. I was a regular at Kingsholm between 1990 and about 2003 and still, of course, follow the club, although I find it hard to get to Gloucester these days. I have a very large collection of programmes, fanzines, documents and memories, and, in time, I look forward to contributing to the site.

By Brian Carpenter
On 09/01/2010