Yesterday Gloucester Cathedral hosted a BBC History Festival. This is a great thing for Gloucester, which is of course just chocked full of history.
Events of this sort are great for kids, who can see very knowledgeable people dressed up in period costume bringing history alive in a way that a crusty old history teacher in a dusty old classroom just can’t. It also puts history into context with the world – and indeed the city – in which we live today, which is fascinating whatever your age.
The knowledge of some of the people involved is phenomenal. In particular, I enjoyed listening to the stories being told to a rapt audience of children by a knight in armour, between bouts of beating the hell out of another knight with his sword. Even more knowledge was displayed by a medieval infantryman from the civil war, whose endless tales of daring deeds and amusing asides from the period were fascinating.
As well as the History Festival, a visit to the Cathedral gave the opportunity to see some of the amazing sculptures being brought in for the Crucible exhibition. There may be more to come as it doesn’t start until 1 September, but what is there is terrific – well worth a visit.
Of course I have a vested interest in people taking an interest in the city’s history, being a local history author, but the recent emphasis on highlighting Gloucester’s heritage has to be a positive thing – hopefully it will be a boon to tourism and, perhaps, even make us locals a little prouder of our heritage and less inclined to constantly slag off our city.
And this is just the start: next weekend (Saturday 4 September) is Gloucester Day, when the Mayor of Barton parade will also take place, and the following week, from 9-12 September is the Gloucester Heritage Open Days, so come along and find out why Gloucester is such a fascinating place to live.