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University of Gloucestershire
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Administration Series

This series covers the internal administration of the collection, including minutes of the Dymock Poets Archive and Study Centre Advisory Group, events, publicity and the Occasional Papers Series

Cheltenham and Gloucester College of Higher Education

University of Gloucestershire Archive

  • UA
  • Collection
  • [1683] 1827 - present

The origins of Cheltenham Training College grew from the reformation of the education system in England during the nineteenth century. The National Society for Promoting Religious Education was established in 1811 with the aim of providing a school in every parish that would teach the poor guided by the principles of the established church. These would be financed through voluntary subscriptions. Another movement, The British and Foreign School Society, was established in 1808 although was non-conformist. Schools established by either movement were known as “National” or “British” respectively, and both were operating before the introduction of state-co-ordinated schooling by The Forster Act of 1870. Prior to this date the government had provided school-building grants to both societies and had instigated school inspections.

Due to the growing need to supply trained teachers, The National Society collaborated with a number of individual dioceses to establish several training colleges between 1839 – 1840. This coincided with the introduction of the pupil-teacher system, where the state supported good school pupils to continue in the role from age 13 to 18. Queen’s Scholarships were introduced for those pupil-teachers passing the training college entrance examinations, with the state funding their places at college.
In Cheltenham, the Evangelical clergyman Reverend Francis Close had been appointed to the parish of St Mary’s (now Cheltenham Minster) in 1826. He had an interest in infant education and helped to found several National Schools in the town. At the same time, Dartmouth merchant and Evangelical businessman Samuel Codner had set up 43 schools in Newfoundland. Whilst staying in Cheltenham during August 1845 he wrote to Close advocating the establishment of a National teacher-training college in Cheltenham. The suggestion was pursued by Close and at a meeting of likeminded individuals on 23 September 1845 the decision was taken to open a college, under the guise of the Church of England Training School Association. The new Cheltenham Training College was eligible for both building and maintenance state grants, along with receiving voluntary subscriptions. The college opened a male department on 1 June 1847 and female department on 2 July 1847, both in separate rented accommodation in the town. Reverend C H Bromby became the first Principal. There were 200 Life Governors, comprised of 100 clerical and 100 lay. All governors paid a small subscription and were expected to recruit students for the college. The foundation trust document of 1848 states “that the religious education to be conveyed shall always be strictly Scriptural, Evangelical and Protestant and in strict accordance with the Articles and Liturgy of the Church of England”.

The executive committee set about planning the main college building for the male department, there being more male applicants to college, with the female department occupying the recently vacated hospital (now Normandy House on the Lower High Street). They received the donation of six acres of land and £500 from local resident Miss Jane Cook, along with other donations and the government grants. The new building was designed by Samuel Daukes to house 100 students and opened on 8 April 1850, costing £11,700 (now Francis Close Hall). It became the largest training college in the country.

The female department gained their own purpose-built accommodation in 1869 with the opening of Shaftesbury Hall (now Chelsea Square apartments), mainly funded by the proceeds of the closure of the Metropolitan Training College at Highbury. By 1897 the college year had moved from two terms starting in January each year to the more familiar three-term system beginning in September. In 1906 the Board of Education sanctioned the use of the names “St Paul’s College” and “St Mary’s Hall”, which had been unofficially used for the male and female departments since the 1880s. However the official titles of “St Paul’s College” and “St Mary’s College” were not introduced until 1921 when Cheltenham Training College split, still retaining the same governing body and sharing facilities. Both colleges continued to grow, with St Mary’s purchasing The Park site in 1930 (now the University’s Park Campus). In 1947 the colleges joined the University of Bristol’s Institute of Education.

In 1979 the colleges merged once more to form the College of St Paul and St Mary, and in 1990 this merged with the higher education strand of the Gloucestershire College of Arts and Technology (GLOSCAT) to form the Cheltenham and Gloucester College of Higher Education (CGCHE). The GLOSCAT merger brought with it Pittville Campus, which had been purchased by Gloucestershire College of Art in 1961, and Oxstalls Campus in Gloucester. In 1992 CGCHE was given permission to award its own undergraduate and taught postgraduate degrees, followed by research degrees in 1998. On 23 October 2001 the college was awarded university status, becoming the University of Gloucestershire. The re-designed Oxstalls campus opened in 2002.

Cheltenham Training College

The Cyder Press Special Collection

  • CP
  • Collection
  • c.1999 - 2012

The Cyder Press was a small press, established by Cheltenham and Gloucester College of Education in 1998 as an extension of the resources provided by the College's existing Dymock Poets Archive and Study Centre.

The principal function of the Press was to reprint long out-of-print or little-known works by the Dymock Poets themselves, and by other writers with cognate regional, literary or period connections. Each volume was introduced by a contemporary scholar.

In addition The Cyder Press also published the annual Laurie Lee Memorial Lecture, sponsored by the University at the Cheltenham Literature Festival.

Cheltenham and Gloucester College of Higher Education

University Archive Miscellaneous Donations (D-Numbers)

  • D
  • Collection
  • c.1824 - present

Paper documents, bound volumes and ledgers, photographic material, textiles, multi-media, born-digital records, ephemera and objects donated by former staff and students of the University of Gloucestershire and its predecessor colleges

University of Gloucestershire

Articles and flyer relating to the Dymock Poets

Magazine article "The origin of a famous war poet" on Wilfred Owen by John W Foster c.1990s
Newspaper article "Poetic injustice" on the decision not to name a road "Farjeon Way" in Ledbury. Published in the Western Daily Press on 22 February 1997
"Dymock Poets: The Four Churches of The Windcross Parishes" flyer c.1990s

University of Gloucestershire

Artists' Books Special Collection

  • AB
  • Collection
  • 1882 - 2014

The Artists’ Books Collection was established in 1998 following the exhibition Books As Art held at Cheltenham Museum and Art Gallery, Cheltenham Town Hall and the Cheltenham and Gloucester College of Higher Education’s Pittville Campus

Artists’ Books are created by fine artists and are also known as book art or bookworks. They come in all shapes and sizes, covering diverse topics from Trump to the Trojan War. They can use traditional book bindings or other material, and are often published in small or even single editions

Our collection includes works by Andrew Bick, Melanie Council, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Hamish Fulton, Robert Lax, Chris Ophili, Terry Smith and Andy Warhol

The collection is available to search on the University’s Library Catalogue

University of Gloucestershire

Cotswold Centre for History and Heritage Archive

  • CC
  • Collection
  • 2017 - 2018

The Cotswold Centre for History and Heritage brings together the work of undergraduate students and staff in History (School of Liberal and Performing Arts) at the University of Gloucestershire. Primarily student-led, the research conducted as part of the Centre aims to uncover and valorise the rich history of the area surrounding the University’s Francis Close Hall Campus by exploring historical change through a local lens.

The Centre has also been established with the intention of creating partnerships between the University, the local community and important local organisations, so that the research benefits local stakeholders as well as students.

Each year the Centre focuses on a number of different themes with the aim of producing public-facing exhibitions. In 2016-2017, staff and students worked on the first project, entitled ‘Cheltenham’s Lower High Street: Past, Present, and Future’, in collaboration with the Cheltenham Civic Society and the Cheltenham West End Partnership. This project explored one of the oldest but most neglected parts of the Regency town, aiming to appraise the area and create a more inclusive history of Cheltenham. The project culminated in an exhibition at the Chapel Arts gallery between 17-30 June 2017 and the production of a short documentary film. Staff contributions to the project were supported by the University of Gloucestershire’s Being Human Research Priority Area.

For more information on the Cotswold Centre for History and Heritage, visit their website

University of Gloucestershire

Dymock Poets Special Collection

  • DP
  • Collection
  • 1842 - 2022

On the north-west borders of Gloucestershire, in the years immediately prior to the outbreak of the First World War, a literary community was formed which came to represent a significant development in the modern poetic tradition. By August 1914, the poet and playwright Lascelles Abercrombie, Wilfrid Gibson, and the American poet Robert Frost had all taken up residence in and around the village of Dymock. Inspired by the beauty of their surroundings and encouraged by a succession of visitors, including Rupert Brooke, John Drinkwater, Edward Thomas and Eleanor Farjeon, a new literary currency was established during that final summer before the outbreak of war.

Their writings represented a movement away from the prevailing literary idiom, regarded by many as rhetorically ornate and emotionally restricted. Instead the Dymock Poets sought inspiration in natural settings and everyday experiences. In this, and their desire for a more direct, authentic register, their work can be located within the traditions of Wordsworth and the principles set out in Lyrical Ballads.

It was a productive time for all concerned, with four issues of a periodical, New Numbers, being written and printed as a true cottage industry. This period was also to see the emergence of Edward Thomas as a gifted and prolific writer of verse and to lead to Robert Frost’s formation of a new poetic philosophy.

This brief idyll was to prove short lived. Within three years both Brooke and Thomas were dead, Frost had returned to North America, and Abercrombie, Drinkwater and Gibson were involved in war work. Their writings, however, continue to form an important literary legacy to this day.

The institution has actively sought to collect material from various sources that centres on the Dymock Poets (Edward Thomas, Robert Frost, Wilfrid Gibson, Lascelles Abercrombie, John Drinkwater, Rupert Brooke) and related authors such as Eleanor Farjeon. Items are donated or deposited by a wide range of people, including some of the families of the poets. Material has also been deposited by both The Edward Thomas Fellowship and Friends of the Dymock Poets regarding the administration of both societies.

The collection is comprised of original paper-based documents, monographs, journals, articles, photographic material and multi-media. Secondary-source material is catalogued on the University’s library catalogue

Cheltenham and Gloucester College of Higher Education

Whittington Press Special Collection

  • WP
  • Collection
  • 1972 – present

The Whittington Press was founded by John and Rose Randle in 1971 at Whittington Court near Cheltenham. The Press continues to produce hand-made books by letterpress, often incorporating text and wood engravings. Material is comprised of monographs, the Matrix journal [we are the only HEI in the UK to hold a full set], documents, posters, Christmas cards and photographs

University of Gloucestershire