Richard Wintle, known to many Swindonians as the man photographing Swindon’s history through the decades, has been busy! As you’d expect for a press photographer, Richard has a VAST archive of photographs. And he’s put some of them into a book: A Picture Is Only the Start of The Story.
NB: Not only Swindon of course. Richard’s work took him far and wide.
Having seen a talk that Richard gave to Swindon Civic Voicemembers, I’ve a good idea of the gems that you’ll find in this book. See one extract from it below:
In Richard’s own words:
Surrounded by my archive of about four million film-based and digital images, gathered over more than four decades of press photography in Swindon, I’ve discovered connections that run through the archive that weren’t obvious at the time.
In the book I reveal the connection between the Magic Roundabout and the Seekers pop group. And the connection between a Eurovision Song Contest entrant and a flight over the North Atlantic. I show how a work experience boy saw history made, as well as the story behind finding an unknown Swindon pop idol.
Then you’ll see how come there were twelve winners of a Miss Thamesdown competition.
During the book’s meander I explain too, the pictures we took that were published at the time but can’t be published now.
A Picture Is Only the Start of The Story takes you on a voyage. A voyage of picture stories covered by Calyx Picture Agency. The journey traveres the decades, linking the protests, as the Railway Works closed, to Honda announcing it closure.
Richard Wintle: Photographing Swindon’s History, meanders through a series of interesting links as it wanders the modern-day Swindon story. As it goes it visits many events and places. At the same time it explains some of the technological changes to the industry during and the back stories associated with the agency.
“Richard’s life as a press photographer gave him with an excellent vantage point to document major local events.Drawing on his vast archive of images, Richard has created a truly unique book, capturing local life in a way unlike any other publication “The Local Studies team, Swindon Libraries
5 Swindon Books to Read Now – and yes two of them are mine … to pass pandemic purdah time
So, we’re in the grip of the Coronavirus pandemic and at best are faced with a prolonged period of social distancing. Or at worst, lockdown, as we have at the time of reading.
So here’s five of the MANY Swindon books out there, fiction and non-fiction, written by Swindonians, with which to pass some fruitful time. Well, in fact, the title’s a bit of a cheat. Cos it’s four books and a DVD!
If you haven’t got them on your bookshelves now (and you might but not have read them) then head to the shop in Swindon central library as soon as you can. That said, some of the books included are available on mail order.
So – in no particular order:
1. A Swindon Wordsmith – George Ewart Hobbs
By Noel Ponting & Graham Carter
‘George Ewart Hobbs’ vivid writing provides us with a unique and brilliantly observed insight into everyday and so-called “ordinary” life in Swindon a century ago.
When we’re not on lockdown you can find Secret Swindon in our central library and Waterstones in Swindon. I have some copies, so if interested contact me on my Born Again Swindonian Facebook page – link below – or via this blog.
‘As the industrial revolution and the coming of the railways transformed the Wiltshire countryside Swindon women were on the front line of change, shaping the new industrial town and transforming the old market one.’
It’s a great read is this one.
5. Railway Town: Martin Parry
Okay – so this isn’t a book it’s a DVD. I bet some of you have got DVD players gathering dust. Dig them out!
FESTIVAL & CORONAVIRUS . . . . SPRING FESTIVAL UPDATE
Swindon Spring Festival update. Organisers of the Swindon Spring Festival take seriously the present Coronavirus situation and their responsibilities to festival followers. And, of course, the public at large, and the importance of heeding Government advice.
In the light of all this, plans for the Festival are proceeding as follows:
We’ll launch the Festival programme, in hardcopy and on our website as planned at midday on Thursday 26th March. But not, as intended, in a theatre, indoors, with food, drink, lots of Festival followers crowded together, and even hugging and kissing one another. No, absolutely not.
Instead, hot off the press, we’ll launch this year’s Festival programme in the open air, in a field, with a backdrop of birch tree and birdsong, at Lower Shaw Farm.
Festival banners will mark the spot. From there, for two hours, from 12midday to 2pm on Thursday 26th March, you can get a programme, or even a bundle to share with neighbours and friends, from a table in the middle of a field, far from the madding crowd.
Come one by one, or two by two, keeping far apart, as you like, making the right decisions for your own wellbeing and that of all others.
That way you can get a festival programme and read about more than twenty books and their authors who are or were due to appear live at the Festival in May.
Live appearances? Probably not?
The likelihood that many of the programmed visitors may now not appear live is a real one. Yet, there are other ways of enjoying the fruits of their labours and those of the festival organisers. As this Swindon spring festival update explains.
Festival followers: buy or borrow books described in the programme and read them. In particular if you’re in enforced isolation. What better companion, to lift the spirits, than a good book?!
And, in these tricky and troubling times, there is still more good news from the festival.
Watch the Festival website, Facebook, and twitter accounts for details of these virtual Festival events as they emerge.
So yesterday afternoon, I spent the most delightful time at Eastcott community centre, in readiness for the unveiling of the James ‘Raggy’ Powell plaque.
Eastcott community centre is truly one of Swindon’s gems. Not only is it a place and site with tons of historical and social history, it’s a thriving and well-run community centre.
There’s an art group run by Marilyn Trew. Then there’s repair cafes, Sunday afternoon music and all the other activities you associate with a community centre. In recent years they’ve done so much fab stuff up there and by them.
As Graham says: ‘If you don’t know his story: he was nicknamed Raggy because he was a rag-and-bone man. Yet, he was good enough at it to become rich and obtain various artworks, which he was only too happy to share with the people of Swindon.’
He gave a large statue of Charlotte Corday, which still stands in the foyer of the Town Hall. And many other objects that eventually formed the basis of Swindon Museum. No wonder he was made a Freeman of the Borough.
During his lifetime this extraordinary man even gave a plot of land on which Eastcott Community Centre now stands – which is where you will find the new plaque, posthumously thanking him for his immense generosity.’
In this show, children and adults embark on a delightful journey of curiosity and wonder. Guided by two friendly dance-performers, you’ll delve into magical caves, explore leafy forests, soar through starry night skies, and meet playful characters. All loosely inspired by the children’s classic Alice in Wonderland.
This is an interactive performance. One where you can choose to sit back and watch. Or you can get up and get-involved. Incorporating animated hand-drawn projection, dance, sound, text and interactive digital objects, Curiouser immerses and surrounds the audience to create an intimate yet spectacular experience. The show invites curiosity about what it might mean to view the world from a different perspective.
Adults become little and children become great in this interactive imaginary world of ever changing proportions.
Treat your little ones to an adventure with award-winning dance & digital artists Flexer & Sandiland and Norwegian company dybwikdans, both companies renowned for their intimate immersive works for young audiences. Recommended age 3+.
First an international tour of Disappearing Acts in 2016. Next recent success of The Hum (2017) the company’s sited mobile phone App commissioned by Brighton Festival 2017 and touring across the UK and as part of Without Walls. Then Flexer & Sandiland began their UK tour of Curiouser with a sold out premiere at The Lowry Theatre and now they are touring the UK.
I’ve been meaning to do this post about Revolution Performing Arts for a while now. But y’know how it is. I’m sorry Fi!
Fiona Di Silva Adams invited me to attend the show, by Revolution Performing Arts, called Be Your Unique at Swindon’s Arts Centre earlier in January. It’s taken me until now to get round to give it a mention here.
‘Being unique is better than being perfect‘
‘RPA Rapport is a performing arts company with a difference – actively encouraging young people to find and celebrate their differences.
Changing young people’s lives. RPA nurtures all young people, empowering them to feel fabulous and celebrating the amazing individuals they are: revolutionpa.co.uk
In this annual sharing performance, the teenage members of RPA Rapport worked with professional arts practitioners to create pieces that explored what it means to be unique. This uplifting and thought-provoking performance comprised short drama, dance and music pieces all designed and technically managed by the young people themselves in their own words and attitudes.”
There were insightful monologues written by the young people themselves. They did the choreography themselves also. And, above all, as it says on the groups Facebook page: ‘showed that with young people in this world we can all make a difference to embrace our uniqueness and make the world a better place.’
As a friend of mine, Carole Bent, said of the dress rehearsal of this performance:
‘A genuine privilege to witness the dress rehearsal of ‘Be Your Unique’. Very well done to every single young person taking part, RPA team & the Arts Centre.
Am sure that the audience tonight will be as moved and engaged as I was & hope that everyone on stage enjoys every moment. Thankyou Fiona Fi Da Silva-Adams Paul, Sam Olly & all xx’
And Amen to that says I. Because being unique is sooooooo much better than being perfect!