Tewkesbury Register

Burd swoops again to save Records

Years ago, councillors Cliff Burd and Jim Bourton rescued nearly 50 bound volumes of the Tewkesbury Register newspaper from destruction by trundling them by trolley to the Town Hall. On Monday Cliff, aided by his youthful sons Paul and Nick, ably assisted by the ageing THS Committee members John Dixon, David Willavoys and Ken Flude, plucked 35 volumes out of the cells at the Town Hall for safe custody at the County Archives, Gloucester. A problem arose after the cupboard, in which the volumes had been safely stored for a generation, was converted into a toilet for the disabled - and the cells are no place to care for historical records! The Tewkesbury Register was the last surviving weekly newspaper devoted to the Town which was published between 1858 and about 1970 when, after several mergers, it was taken over by the Gloucestershire Echo. In the halcyon days of the late 19th century, there was a second weekly, the Tewkesbury Record which was a little Liberal versus the Register's little Conservative. The Register was a broadsheet which, with great foresight, was bound into huge annual volumes and, in the 1980s, the late Town Librarian, Kathleen Ross, started to index them with the aid of a doughty team of volunteers, storing their records in the famous card shoebox (which is still safely in my custody!). Since the formation of THS in 1991 David Willavoys has taken up the baton with his group of doughty volunteers who enjoy the monthly hospitality of the Town Clerk and his staff. However, now the records are transcribed by Penny Last into the Society's Woodard Database, which can be freely consulted in the Town Library. Kate Maisey of the County Archives has agreed to care for the newspapers, enabling us to borrow them as needed for purposes of indexing: an invaluable task which David Willavoys feels will outlast us all!

In the 1980s, the late Kathleen Ross inaugurated the compilation of a card index for The Tewkesbury Register newspaper. The newspapers are on film in the Library and persons who could spare some time would view the papers entering Tewkesbury information under various set subject headings.These entries were kept in a 'Shoebox' on index cards and those of us from the early days still fondly use this term to refer to the project. Later on, using the database created by Bob Woodard (rather than index cards) the Society took on the project and a team of members, under the supervision of David Willavoys, met regularly at the Town Hall, viewing and indexing the original newspapers. When David reduced his role, the project was latterly organised and directed by Wendy Snarey - regular indexers were Gordon Baker and John Dixon, along with others at various times. Their entries were typed into the database which could be viewed at the Library, thus reaching a wider audience but still not world-wide. The next stage was the Webmaster, Derek Benson (also an occasional indexer), transferring the database onto 'Google Drive' – this meant that members, world-wide, could view online all the entries in the database including all the transcribed Tewkesbury Register newspaper items. Now in 2018, 30 years after the start of the 'Shoebox' card index, technology has finally overtaken the project and the series of Tewkesbury Register from 1858 to 1968 can be viewed on the British Newspapers Online website: https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/

This obviously concludes the Society’s project of indexing the Register from 1858-1964 and sadly also ends our monthly friendly get-togethers .

The Society would like to thank all those members who have contributed over the years, whether transcribing, organising or typing and look forward to hearing about individual research stories  

Thank you all

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