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Taking a stroll through Stroud’s past

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Stroud Timewalks was formed in May 2018 by Stroud actor Kim Baker and Steve Hill, local historian and South West Blue Badge Tour Guide. Steve and Kim also worked at The Subscription Rooms, and The Museum in the Park, where they met. Kim is an established and experienced actor, who has worked widely locally and across the UK. Steve has also had a long interest in theatre, and has experience in organising and running events and performing music.

DSC03962 | Taking a stroll through Stroud's past
Steve Hill.

“We originally had an idea to set some scenes from Stroud History, combining the idea of a tour guide ‘Walk’, with street theatre,” explained Steve.

“Our first Timewalk was set around Stroud town centre and included various events, characters and places from the town’s history – The Cross, The Old Theatre, Town Time – featuring Mary Chambers (married to Edmund Keane), The Delmont Duel, Robert Bragg’s Clock, amongst other things.

DSC04040 | Taking a stroll through Stroud's past
Kim and Steve led a walk around Stratford Park, Stroud, coinciding with the 200th anniversary of the birth of Colonel Edmund Gilling Hallewell who lived at Stratford House, now the Museum in the Park. Picture: Matt Bigwood.

“Our motto has been ‘history with character and humour’. The history is as accurate as we can get it, delivered with humour, anecdote, songs and poems. As well as some of the obvious anecdotes, we also like to find people who are, perhaps, not so generally well known – such as Lady Amberley, whose defence and promotion of Women’s Rights were fiercely criticised by Queen Victoria.”

Steve and Kim’s first walk was around Stroud town, and the second around Stratford Park, giving a general history of the park and house, from the Medieval Anglo-Norman owners, through to the Winchcombes and the Hallewells.

“We did both walks several times. We also did a ‘Timetalk’ version in Gallery Two at the Museum in the Park for people who had mobility issues, or could not otherwise manage a whole walk,” said Steve.

“We were planning to repeat these and extend our range of walks, possibly further afield, when Covid hit, which curtailed our activities until April this year. We plan to devise some different formats, and perhaps offer some activities/events for Schools, Colleges and History Societies. We are also hoping to develop some more ideas with the Museum in the Park.

DSC03991 | Taking a stroll through Stroud's past
Kim Baker

“The walks are suitable for adults, teenagers, and children, from the age of about 11 or 12. We may devise something for younger children and families too. Both Kim and I have experience at running/delivering workshops/classes for people of varying ages.”

Steve and Kim are looking to repeat their Stroud Town Walk, and Stratford Park, later in the year, and are open to suggestions from organisations for specific projects. To get in touch, email stroudroots@yahoo.co.uk

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