In February 2017, researchers at the University of Gloucestershire started making contact with former and existing residents and business-owners of the Lower High Street area, and began recording conversations with them about life, work, and community in this part of Cheltenham. The interviews conducted in 2017 formed the basis of the exhibition which was held at Chapel Arts in Cheltenham in June and December that year. They reveal many hidden and forgotten aspects about life in the area, such as a vibrant and tight-knit community, but also touch on the more difficult aspects of this working-class part of Cheltenham.
The interviews are now kept in the University of Gloucestershire’s Special Collections and Archives, but they are available to the general public and can be accessed here:
The Lower High Street exhibition in 2017 was a starting point for this project, and we realize that there are many more experiences, memories and stories that have been unheard. We are therefore looking to continue interviewing former and existing residents, workers, and business owners who have something to say about the past and the present of the Lower High Street area.
We are particularly interested in people’s memories (good and bad) of growing up in the area, community life, the local shops and businesses and their role in the community, the relationships with other parts of Cheltenham, as well as stories of inward or outward migration.
If you would like to record your story and add it to the collection, please contact Dr Christian O’Connell by post or by e-mail:
Dr Christian O’Connell
University of Gloucestershire
QW208, Francis Close Hall
Cheltenham, GL50 4AZ