Robert Raikes Remembered

Today marks the 201st anniversary of the death of Robert Raikes. A truly great man of Gloucester, Raikes helped usher in social reforms which were adopted nationwide.

Robert Raikes Statue

Robert Raikes statue in Gloucester Park - courtesy Gloucester Civic Trust

Robert Raikes (1736- 1811) was the editor and proprietor of the Gloucestershire Journal and was able to use his position to publicise the plight of working class children. As an Anglican layman, he was concerned that children who worked in factories or were chimney sweeps Monday to Saturday were up to mischief on their only day off and were receiving little or nothing in the way of education. He established a Sunday school in 1780 and within a couple of years; several more had opened in Gloucester. By 1831, 1.25 million children were being educated in Sunday Schools across Britain, paving the way for the state school system.

Raikes was recently featured on the BBC’s ‘Britain’s First Photo Album’ documentary. In the programme, presenter John Sergeant, visits towns and cities featured in the Victorian Francis Frith’s photographic project in the latter half of the nineteenth century.  John Sergeant was keen to highlight the importance of Raikes (he described him as was “one of the first campaigning journalists”) and recreated a photograph of the Robert Raikes’ House pub on Southgate Street.

Here’s a link to the preview of Britain’s First Photo Album.

Find out more about Robert Raikes at Wikipedia.



Gloucester is the UK’s second geekiest city (which is a good thing btw!)

A study carried out last year by had our very own city as the second geekiest city in the UK. Now some of you might take offence to such an accolade but it actually reflects wthat a great IT sector there is for such a small city. Taking the runners up spot after Cambridge is no disgrace either, considering the research facilities and the world famous university they have at their disposal. That’s why we chose IT as one of the reasons to Believe in Gloucester.

So, how was this stat calculated? The study looked at IT career opportunities, IT education and training and the uptake of IT consumer goods per capita. Whilst yesterday’s budget announced that Belfast, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle and London will bid for their share of a £100m “super-connected cities” subsidy, Gloucester also has reason to celebrate it’s IT and communications sector. With companies such as Fasthosts, Symantec and Star leading the way in cloud computing and other visions for the future and financial services such as Ecclesiastical Insurance , Gloucester folk shouldn’t feel ashamed to embrace their inner geek.

UKs Geekiest City

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Back Badge Day: Gloucester remembers

The 28th

Back to back with the The 28th

Two hundred and eleven years ago on 21 March the 28th North Gloucestershire Regiment of Foot wrote themselves into the annals of history when they received the orders “Front rank stay as you are, rear rank about turn”.

It was 1801, and while France was in political turmoil at home, the French military forces defended their fledgling republic against a coalition of enemies in the French Revolutionary Wars. The British expeditionary forces under the command of Sir Ralph Abercrombie were marching on the Egyptian port of Alexandria and rested near the ruins of Nicopolis on 20 March. The next morning at 3.30am, the French columns attacked the encampment, with the 28th North Gloucestershire Regiment of Foot bearing the brunt. The first attack was repulsed but in the ensuing darkness and confusion, the French managed to drive a wedge between two British regiments.

What came next became the stuff of legend as the 28th received their immortal orders “Front rank stay as you are, rear rank about turn”.

The rear ranks turned and with exemplary discipline waited until the French cavalry were a few horse lengths away. They then fired one devastating volley, causing heavy casualties amongst the cavalry and forcing them to withdraw.

Not for the last time, the 28th fought a famous defence, their noble conduct recognised with the distinction of being the only regiment to be allowed to wear their badges on the front and rear of their head dress.

Following the battle, the British reached Alexandria and besieged the ancient city before the French garrison surrendered on 2 September 1801.

The 28ths reputation continued to flourish in the Peninsular War in the Battles of Quatre-Bras and Waterloo, with the Duke of Wellington mentioning them in dispatches. After the 28th merged with the 61st South Gloucestershire Regiment in 1881, the newly-formed Gloucestershire Regiment (nicknamed the Glorious Glosters) went on to carry the most battle honours on their regimental colours than any other line regiment in the British Army.

Back Badge Day is now celebrated by veterans and citizens of Gloucester every year on 21 March. Find out more about the 28th, Back Badge Day and more true tales of heroism at The Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum at the historic Gloucester Docks.

The Museum also has an online exclusive 2 for 1 offer if you sign up for the email newsletter.

Plus, you can also upgrade to an annual ticket for an affordable price.







Gloucester Cathedral is delighted to have won a Cotswold Tourism Award for last summer’s Glorious Gloucestershire Flower Festival. The four-day event won Silver for Event of the Year in the annual awards.

The 2012 Awards highlight the successes and achievements of Cotswold tourism businesses throughout the last year in categories such as Hotel of the Year, Visitor Attraction of the Year, Website of the Year and Tourism Business of the Year.

Canon Celia Thomson, Canon Pastor of the Cathedral and Chairwoman of the Flower Guild, said “we are thrilled to have been recognised in this way. It is a testament to many hours of hard work put in by the members of the Cathedral Flower Guild and all the parishes who donated not just their time, but also the flowers to make the Cathedral look beautiful.”

Ninety-two parish groups and organisations in the county provided a decorative floral arrangement or a depiction in flowers of something that makes Gloucestershire famous around the world. The centrepiece of the show was a 90 foot long flower carpet which stretched the length of the Nave and took a team of 30 people five days to assemble. The Festival also featured a display created by Church of England Primary Schools in the diocese in celebration of their 200th anniversary.

The Glorious Gloucestershire Flower Festival sold over 8,000 tickets and raised over £37,000 for the Cathedral.

See the full list of the Cotswold Tourism Award winners.

Gloucester butchers take 1st and 2nd prize in county sausage awards

Darren Payne from The Farmhouse Deli

Darren Payne from The Farmhouse Deli believes in Gloucester and proudly shows off his award

Following a public vote in This is Gloucestershire not one, but two Gloucester butchers top the poll in a closely-fought battle to find Gloucestershire’s best sausage. The Farmhouse Deli (Northgate Street and Eastgate Indoor Market) beat off fierce competition from Nick Brown’s of Longlevens (with only 2% separating the votes), and Tewkesbury’s Halford Traditional Butchers coming in a close third. More than 6,000 votes were cast.

In a county that’s home to the highly-prized Gloucestershire Old Spot pig, it is extremely important that this local speciality is celebrated and recognised by local people and the community. In fact, the Farmhouse Deli’s The Spot sausage also manages to combine another of the city’s famed ingredients, Double Gloucester cheese.

What makes the Old Spot the king of pork?

The Gloucestershire Old Spot pig has seen a resurgence thanks to its preference by Michelin- starred restaurants and celebrity chefs. It is know as the orchard pig as it grazes on windfallen apples and pears as well as the by-products of local dairy farms. Its popularity with chefs and foodies stems from the flesh having a rich marbling of fat which keeps it basted as it cooks (like a procine equivalent of the much sought after Wagyu beef steak). If you think the sausages taste good,  try the Old Spot bacon – the difference in taste to regular bacon is staggering!

Did you know?

The Old Spot was the first pedigree pig and has since been awarded Traditional Speciality Guaranteed status by the EU. Supermarket giant Waitrose got into trouble in 2008 when they were accused of ambiguous labelling of their ‘Old Spot-sired’ pork (which makes them only 5% Old Spot).


VOTE for the Sausage King of Gloucestershire

We Believe in Gloucester because of the world famous produce that we’re privileged to have on our doorstep. The Gloucester Old spot pig is no exception, and with This is Gloucestershire running a competition looking for the county’s most succulent sausage, there are two nominees from our fair city in the running. The Farmhouse Deli (Northgate Street + Eastgate Indoor Market) and Nick Brown’s Butcher (Insworth Lane) are in the top 3 of a closely-fought battle with Halford’s of Tewkesbury.

Support Gloucester’s champion sausage makers and vote for them here before the contest closes at 5pm Monday 5 March.

Read the story on This is Gloucestershire.

Watch the BiG Launch Video ‘What do you believe in?’

The Believe in Gloucester team went out into the city and beyond to capture the reasons why local people love their city. Among the lovely people that took part are former England Rugby Captain, Phil Vickery MBE and rising singing star, Mary-Jess Leaverland, both of whom are great ambassadors for Gloucester nationally and internationally. You might recognise a few other characters who run businesses and attractions in the city as well. The video was first played at the BiG launch event on Wednesday 29 February and helped set the mood for a positive campaign about everything’s that’s great in Gloucester.



But why stop there?

Believe in Gloucester will continue to record submissions from people about what thet love about the city and also invite the public to upload their own short clips. Stay tuned for more news soon.