Gloucester Local History: Old Photos & Films

The cathedral city of Gloucester was founded by the Romans in AD97, and granted its first charter by Henry II in 1155. Over the past century, filmmakers and residents have recorded important community events and the local landscapes which change and alter with time.

Gloucester Fair In 1917

Gloucester Fair (1917) 

The British Pathé collection holds this short film of Gloucester Fair back in 1917, when the Great War was into its third year. Many of the children seen enjoying the sack race and wheelbarrow race would have already lost close relatives in combat.

Through The 1950s, 1960s & 1970s

Gloucester Industry & Commerce – 40s/50s

YouTube channel DeansForestFlix uploaded images of Gloucester’s commerce and industry during the 1940s and 1950s. Moreover, an informative commentary describes the locations, provides explanations & includes additional insights such as site opening dates.

The 1947 Floods

The Gloucester Floods 1947

Back in 1947 when Gloucester didn’t have modern flood defences, a hard winter closely followed by a sudden thaw saw the cathedral city badly flooded. Footage of the event was uploaded by YouTube channel DeansForestFlix. The commentary provided on this film states that the city has suffered many flood through the centuries, with the worst being 1483 and 1607.

Gloucester 1950-60s.wmv 

YouTube channel Oldglos carefully selected a range of pictures taken of the cathedral city in the 1950s and 1960s, before making a video montage of them.

Gloucester in the swinging 60s 

YouTube channel DeansForestFlix uploaded this footage showing cheese rolling, Miss Gloucester and the Carnival in the 1960s.

Old Gloucester Clips. 1960s and 70s 

During Gloucester’s redevelopment in the 1960s and 1970s, Nigel Kitlar and Peter Price recorded some of the altering landscapes on both black and white and colour 8mm film. The footage was transferred onto VHS tape. Then YouTube channel Oldglos improved the quality of the film before uploading it for public viewing.

Through The City In The 1980s

Driving around Gloucester in 1982

Simon Bartholomew discovered a short film made by his father and grandfather in 1982. They drove from Quedgeley, down Bristol road, into the centre of town, and down towards Longford. It includes footage of the Longford bypass during construction.

Gloucester In The 1990s

Gloucester before Pedestrianisation April 25 1998 

On 25 April 1998 Graham Edgeworth captured images of Gloucester before the pedestrianisation scheme was completed.

Floods in Gloucestershire 2007 JULY! 

YouTube channel fishenls uploaded this footage of the floods in Gloucestershire in July 2007. Like many locals, fishenls lost all power and water supplies at home in Gloucester.

Gloucester Floods In July 2007

2007 saw the wettest June and July since records began in 1766. In just twelve hours on 20th July 2007, a record 78mm of rain fell on Gloucestershire.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the flood defences failed. The city and surrounding towns experienced rapid and intense flash flooding.

The fire and police services, supported by army and navy personnel, worked hard in difficult and dangerous conditions to rescue people.

With the M5 coming to a standstill, 10,000 motorists spent the night in their vehicles between junctions 10 and 12. Meanwhile, 500 people found themselves stuck at Gloucester Railway Station. A further 2,000 evacuees sought refuge at rest centres in Moreton-in-Marsh, Chipping Campden, Gloucester, Cheltenham and Tewkesbury.

Altogether 3,966 homes were flooded, along with 20 schools and 500 businesses. 825 households (1,950 people between them) left home for months as the extensive damage was repaired. 

For those able to stay at home, life was still not easy. 350,000 people were left without clean water supplies for 18 days. In addition, 48,000 households lost electricity supplies when the Castle Mead electricity sub-station was flooded.

Most sad of all, three people died in nearby Tewkesbury.  Bram Lane, 64, and his son Chris, 27 were pumping water from the rugby club when they were overcome by fumes from the petrol-powered pump. 19 year old Mitchell Taylor tragically drowned on his way to work at a local pub.

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