Wotton wakes to the dawn

Wotton wakes to the dawn

1950’s : Wotton wakes to the dawn (One man and his tape recorder)
by Wotton-under-Edge Heritage Centre

In the mid 1950’s Harry Grimes bought a Grundig reel-to-reel tape recorder. He decided to record the dawn chorus near his home on Old London Road, Wotton-under-Edge. These recordings, over 2 hours of them, were subsequently stored in the attic for many years until after his death. Once they were rediscovered, I had them digitised and shared a clip with Mark Cummings on radio Gloucestershire in 2013. This became one of his most requested clips. The clip included the early morning birds including a Cuckoo, but also a Steam train from Charfield 2 miles away.
Now in 2023 I am a trustee of the Wotton Heritage Centre and thought that I could share the entire recordings – over 2 hours of it, with a bigger audience and raise some funds for the Heritage Centre.
The original recordings have been added to with some bonus tracks,
Harry Grimes talking about birds and his recordings from an Oral history project by the Wotton Heritage centre.
Me talking about the history of the recordings, with a script by Mark Pasco.
An extract from the demo tape from the Grundig recorder, from Bob Monkhouse.
A few selected extracts from the recordings with trains, planes, and Church bells.
Hugo Grimes, July 2023

1. 01 - Dawn Chorus Steam Train 01:08

2. 02 - Harry Grimes talking about birds 02:24

3. 03 - Grundig advert with Bob Monkhouse 01:59

4. 04 - Dawn Chorus Plane and Quarter Chimes 01:01

5. 05 - Dawn Chorus 5 am Chimes 00:57

6. 06 - Hugo Grimes Introduction 03:50

7. 07 - Dawn Chorus 1 pt I 17:54

8. 08 - Dawn Chorus 1 pt II 17:54

9. 09 - Dawn Chorus 1 pt III 17:54

10. 10 - Harry Grimes talking about the Tape Recorder 02:05

11. 11 - Hugo Grimes Conclusion 00:57

12. 01 - Dawn Chorus 2 pt I 22:08

13. 02 - Dawn Chorus 2 pt II 22:08

14. 03 - Dawn Chorus 2 pt III 22:08

15. 04 - Dawn Chorus Steam Train 2 02:21

The CD can be downloaded directly by copying and saving the link below into your web browser:

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Welcome to Wotton Let's Wander

Welcome to Wotton Let's Wander

This DVD provides four walks around Wotton-under-Edge in Gloucestershire, England. The commentary is from David Baird, who was born and bred in the town and has an extensive knowledge of the history of the area. David was Chairman of the Society for a number of years and subsequently curator..

Wotton-under-Edge Through Time

Wotton-under-Edge Through Time

This book provides a snapshot of the town - a double exposure - spanning a period of around 150 years from the earliest days of photography to the present day. The photographs provide a view of how the town has changed and in some instances how little.

WWI Recruitment Ledgers

WWI Recruitment Ledgers

Two Army Books 69, Cash Book and Ledger, were donated to Wotton-under-Edge Historical Society in the mid-1990s. They were accessioned and recorded as Recruit Books 1914 and appropriately stored. Their unique importance was unrecognised and they remained undiscovered until mid-2014 when the Society was assessing the material it held for an exhibition on the start of WW1. They contain a wealth of social history information.

Twenty three days after the declaration of WW1 the first Ledger was opened on 27th August 1914 with the last entry being on 30th November 1915, prior to conscription in January 1916. There are 465 men listed with 167 believed to have served their King and Country. Twenty four of those listed are known to have died during the conflict, being listed on the Wotton-under-Edge War Memorial, the Roll of Honour displayed in the Town Hall and in Bill Griffiths book First World War Heroes of Wotton-under-Edge. This ledger contains information on the health status and occupations of the men of Wotton.

The second Ledger contains the names, addresses and signatures of 137 men, 56 of whom served in WW1. Eight of these men died in action and are listed on the Wotton-under-Edge War Memorial, the Roll of Honour displayed in the Town Hall and in Bill Griffiths book First World War Heroes of Wotton-under-Edge.

This CD can be downloaded from Copy the link below and paste into your internet browser:

Research Centre Voucher

Research Centre Voucher

The Society offers a Family History search service.
This is provided by volunteers at an hourly rate.
Should you wish to avail yourself of this service then please contact us with details of your requirements.
We will then give you an estimate of the costs involved and you can incrementally increase the number of vouchers you purchase accordingly.
Please be aware that this is an estimate as searches may take up a considerable amount of time.


We're on Facebook!

Wotton Heritage Centre has a facebook page so you can have rolling updates on the activities of the Historical Society, Museum and Heritage Centre.


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Hugh Phillips takes a fairly light-hearted look at their place in History.