I have been to the city of Gloucester a few times over the years, and have enjoyed visiting it beautiful cathedral, its picturesque pubs and its historic docks. However, as self-criticism and despite my interest in empire and aspects colonial rule, I had avoided the Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum. My experience of military and regimental museums globally was that they were heavy on military artefacts and military campaigns. I found the focus on military elites too much and that the role of the ordinary soldier, men and woman, his/her family, and those occupied, ruled or imprisoned missing. My notion of “nobody really wins a war” was matched by an approach of “winner tells the story”, often without covering the root of conflict.
The Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum has been professionally curated to tell the story of the regiment and its activities through multiple lenses. Even the medal collection was given depth through short biographies and images. It was good to see different age groups find interest in the displays even on a perfect summers day when they could be outdoors. The Gloucestershire Regiment formed in 1694 has over the centuries been involved in conflicts domestically and all over the world from Quebec, through Korea to Northern Ireland. This museum invites us to understand why young men joined the military and what became of them. It makes us rethink the stories that we too often box into right and wrong, and leads us to understand the psyche and bravery of the ordinary soldier. I look forward to my next visit to this military museum, which I feel is breaking the mould and benefiting by new visitor profiles.
Museum Information: https://www.soldiersofglos.com
Location: Back Badge Square, Gloucester Docks, Gloucestershire GL1 2HE
Admission: Adult: GBP5:00, Child: GBP3:00, Concession: GBP4:00 and Family: GBP12:00.
Seniors, Students, disabled and taxi drivers – Free.
Opening Hours: Wednesday-Sunday 10:00-16:00hrs including Easter. Last entry is at 15:00.
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Hailing from Mombasa, Kenya. Cliff's research interests began in 1982 when while working in “the Gulf” when he first travelled Asia following the routes of the epic voyages of the Fifteenth century Chinese admiral Zheng He. He later graduated with a BA(Hons) in Geography with Asian Studies in Northern Ireland. After a career in tourism Cliff became a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG). He returned to historical research in 2001 on a variety of themes leading to an exhibition at the Royal Geographical Society on the Bombay Africans (2007) and is regarded as the world specialist on the subject. Cliff was Honorary Research Assistant to Royal Holloway's Geography Department (2011-2014) and Visiting Research Assistant to Dalian Maritime University, China (2011-2015). He was researcher-curator on the Bait-Jelmood Museum, Qatar (2013-2016) and research-curator for the National Museum of Qatar, specialising in the Portuguese presence in the Indian Ocean (2016-2018). He is presently distance-working on the African collection of the Museum of Anthropology at Vancouver, Canada. Since 2016 Pereira is Visiting Research Assistant at the University of Hong Kong (HKU). He describes himself as a historical geographer and his life interest in Zheng He has led to talks and lectures on the subject in China, Malaysia, Canada, the UK and on the cruise liner Silver Muse. He has numerous papers and chapters in publications around the world.