Richard Wintle: Photographing Swindon’s History

Richard Wintle: Photographing Swindon’s History

March 31 2020

A Picture Is Only the Start of The Story

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 Voice members, I’ve a good idea of the gems that you’ll find in this book. See one extract from it below:

Extract from A Picture Is Only the Start of The Story - The Hungerford Massacre. Richard Wintle: Photographing Swindon's History
The Hungerford Massacre

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.

Diana Dorssee more on her here on the blog

Extract from A Picture Is Only the Start of The Story - Diana Dors. Richard Wintle: Photographing Swindon's History

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

Richard Wintle: Photographing Swindon's History - front cover of Richard's book

How to get hold of the book

The Covid-19 pandemic has rather put paid to a physical book launch. But fret not!! For you can still get a signed copy of the book through the Calyx website by following this link here.

It costs  £14.95 + £2.50 P&P (UK only). NB: At the time of writing Richard has only about 20 copies available.

Contact: richard@calyxpix.com

£1 from every sale goes to Neuroendocrine Cancer UK. The book will be available through local outlets when COVID-19 passes and life as we have known it returns to something like normal.

Unsigned copies for international sales through Amazon by following this link here.

The mock up of the F35 stelth fighter on show at RAF Fairford as the worlds largest military air show gets under way at the Gloucestershire air base. - Clayx media.
©Calyx Modern day Teridactor? The mock up of the F35 stelth fighter on show at RAF Fairford as the worlds largest military air show gets under way at the Gloucestershire air base.
5 Swindon Books to Read Now

5 Swindon Books to Read Now

March 2020

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

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.

In normal life you can find this book in the central library. It is though also available on Amazon. Click here to buy.

See also: https://swindonian.me/2019/12/14/a-swindon-wordsmith-george-ewart-hobbs/

2. Secret Swindon

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.

It’s also on Amazon here.

3. Swindon in 50 Buildings

Swindon in 50 Buildings

There’s a map in the front of this one. The buildings are divided into areas. So, maintaining social distance of course, you could always go exploring with book in hand.

More info on Swindon in 50 Buildings here.

In non Covid-19 times you can get this book from Swindon central library and Waterstones.

I have a few copies for sale. If you’re interested contact me via my Born Again Swindonian Facebook page which I’ll post below.

It’s also available on Amazon here.

You can contact me via my Born Again Swindonian Faceboook page here.

4. Struggle and Suffrage in Swindon: Frances Bevan

cover of struggle and suffrage in Swindon

From the website of Pen & Sword books:

‘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!

Available via mail order from Swindon Viewpoint.

More on Swindon Viewpoint Community Media here.

5 Swindon Books to Read Now

5 Swindon Books to Read Now - covers of books
A Swindon Wordsmith – George Ewart Hobbs

A Swindon Wordsmith – George Ewart Hobbs

A Swindon Wordsmith: The Life, Times and Works of George Ewart Hobbs

Well here’s a bit of a novelty, as Graham Carter himself commented. What is? Me attending someone else’s book launch for a change. Rather than them being at mine – info on my own publications here.

For today saw the launch, at Swindon Central library of a new Swindon book by Noel Ponting and Graham Carter: A Swindon Wordsmith: The Life, Times and Works of George Ewart Hobbs.

And a wonderful addition to Swindon’s own, extensive, literary canon it is.

In this short video, Darryl Moody of Swindon’s fab Local Studies and Noel Ponting talk about the book:

https://youtu.be/zB8GVVo0X64

Who was George Ewart Hobbs?

A Swindon Wordsmith - George Ewart Hobbs - front cover of the book.

The blurb on the book’s back cover tells us that George Ewart Hobbs deserves a place in the hallowed ranks of fellow Swindon writers, Alfred Williams (see Secret Swindon for some information about him) and Richard Jeffries – see also Secret Swindon and Swindon in 50 Buildings.

Our man Hobbs was no exception to the general Swindon rule: for over half a century he worked as a Great Western Railway engineer.

That aside, he wrote prolifically – largely in weekly columns for the Swindon Advertiser.

This book then is more than an account of his life and times. It also, as the title suggests, republishes some of his works. Including articles about religion, philosophy and more.

As the book blurb says: ‘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.’

You can find the book in Swindon Central Library and also on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Swindon-Wordsmith-times-works-George/dp/190697876X

A Swindon Wordsmith - George Ewart Hobbs - Graham Carter and Noel Ponting

A few words from Graham Carter:

https://youtu.be/3PMZrPuXgOE

A few more photos – and for once we have visual storyteller Royston Cartwright in a photograph. A rare sight indeed.

See also – Other recent Swindon books:

Last Orders – by John Stooke

Legacy of a Rag & Bone Man – Eastcott community


Last Orders – by John Stooke

Last Orders – by John Stooke

Wow! Yet another Swindon-related book. How fantastic. Hot on the heels of Swindon in 50 Buildings and the Ken White Bio/retrospective – both by me – and France Bevan’s recent book we have Last Orders by John Stooke.

John Stooke’s new book, Last Orders, is launching at Swindon Central Library at 11am on Saturday 19th October. You’ll be able to buy the book in the library shop after the launch.

About Last Orders

Last Orders is the result of four years of meticulous research by John – and hours spent writing in The Blunsdon Arms. Well it would have to be a pub where John worked wouldn’t it?

Supporting Charity

Some of the book’s proceeds are going to support Swindon Women’s Aid. The charity will receive a direct donation of £3 from each £10 selling price.

The book runs to 400 pages, includes 800 images and is an impressive heritage record of Swindon’s best known disappeared alehouses.

Natasha Moyles, spokesman for SWA said, “We at Swindon Domestic Abuse Support Service are delighted to have been chosen as the beneficiary of this fascinating project. It is a continuing challenge to raise adequate funds for the essential work we do locally. Initiatives such as John’s enable us to continue to help more victims of domestic abuse within Swindon”

Other Events

John is giving a talk to Swindon Civic Voice on Thursday the 7th November – more information on that here: https://www.swindoncivicvoice.org.uk/2019/10/talk-john-stooke-last-orders/

The Swindon Civic Voice talk aside, John book sales and signings at:

  1. The Designer Outlet Centre: November 16th
  2. The West Swindon Centre: November 23rd
  3. STEAM Museum: November 30/31
  4. The Brunel Centre: December 8th
  5. The Old Town Co-op: December 14th

An ideal gift for the CAMRA and real ale lover methinks. And one that supports such a splendid cause.

Swindon in 50 Buildings goes to school

Swindon in 50 Buildings goes to school

September 2019

Swindon in 50 Buildings goes to school – Well this has been a wonderful development.
A week or two back I received a contact from Sally Clarke, the head teacher at Nythe Primary school. She’d seen my posts on LinkedIn about my most recent book, Swindon in 50 Buildings.

Well, I say most recent. In actual fact another book, about Swindon-born artist and mural man Ken White, hit the bookshelves a few days ago.

As you can see from the image below, I’ve very nearly got an entire catalogue now. Find all of them here: https://swindonian.me/my-publications/

Images of three books - Swindon in 50 buildings, Secret Swindon and Ken White.

But back to Nythe and Swindon in 50 Buildings Going to School

The ever-so-lovely head, Sally Clarke, at Nythe contacted me asking me to meet her. The upshot of that meeting was myself, a barrow-load (well eight) of copies of Swindon in 50 Buildings and my ex-teacher friend, Jo Garton heading over to Nythe school to speak to Sally and her lovely staff about this blog and my books and how they might be used as a teaching resource to teach the children about Swindon and having pride in where they live. And there’s SUCH a lot to be proud of.

I’m so delighted that Sally spotted my book and make contact. It’s great to sell some books of course – I won’t lie to you. But it’s also lovely to see their potential recognised. Thank you Nythe!

Swindon in 50 Buildings goes to school

All three of these books, in their own way, constitute good resources for schools as well as excellent general interest – though I say it myself.

Secret Swindon – here’s a short YouTube film of me attempting to describe Secret Swindon. The book gives a good overview of Swindon’s cultural past and present, tells the story of the medical fund society, Swindon’s spitfire involvement and more.

A bit about Born Again Swindonian

It’s quite a tale about how this blog came into being – one which I won’t go into here. Suffice to say if you’re interested enough, the Born again Swindonian backstory is here. The main thing is that this blog is here. It’s free. And it’s a resource for all of you to use. I’ve been writing it for six years now (I think) and I’ve covered a lot of stuff. The image below gives you some indication of the topics covered.

Born again swindonian blog topics

Where to Buy

All three books are available at:

  1. The library shop in Swindon Central library
  2. Waterstone’s Swindon
  3. At the website of the publisher, Amberley books.
  4. On Amberley’s Amazon store.

On the subject of civic pride

In yet another hat I’m chair of Swindon Civic Voice. In 2018, we led the GWR Railway Village conservation area to victory as England’s conservation area – and more on that here: https://www.swindoncivicvoice.org.uk/2019/06/conservation-area-award-official-presentation/

The GWR railway village is one of many, many things that Swindon and its people should cherish and be proud. Winning that award played a big part in the railway village being awarded a Historic England action Zone.

That was/is a fab achievement yet there’s much to be done. So, I’m sneaking in a plea here for members! Either active or simply willing to pay £6 a year to help support us. Can you? https://www.swindoncivicvoice.org.uk/2019/08/swindon-civic-voice-needs-you/

Thank you.



Secret Swindon book launch

Secret Swindon book launch

8th August 2018

Secret Swindon book launch

So. My first book, Secret Swindon, had a gorgeous launch event at Swindon central library on the 28th July. I’ve been meaning to post about it since then but stuff got in the way. Namely some security stuff being done on the blog which was affecting access. So I figured I’d hold on until that was done. And now the lovely Linda Kasmaty has beaten me to it with her super blog on Gardens, Galleries and Walking Around. So I reckon I might as well share that, a few photos and one or two rather lovely reviews and job done.

First up is Linda’s lovely blog post here. She has thoughtfully included a photo of me having a sip of wine so now you’ve all got exactly the right impression of me!

Now for a few photographs:

The Swindon-building shaped biscuits were super scrummy. Baked by Sam Whittingham with cutters created by SED Developments. The cutters are on sale in the library shop in the central library. You can choose from: the Locarno, the town hall, the Mechanics’ Institution and the David Murray John Tower.

What people are saying about the book

Today I saw a review of my book on the blog of the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre.  It’s a gorgeous review that tuned in exactly to what I hoped to achieve with the book. Read the full article here. Here’s an extract:

‘ … Angela’s style is witty, snappy and easy to read, weaving information with a conversational tone reminiscent of her origins as a successful blogger.

The content is a lovely mix of old and new on a multitude of topics that goes to the heart of the character of the town. The images reflect the content and complement the text well. …’

Then there was also this fab review on Devizinehttps://devizine.com/2018/07/25/angelas-secret-swindon/

‘I thoroughly enjoyed this read, gaining knowledge of many aspects and artistic properties of Swindon I could’ve driven past and only causally pondered their history. From the wonderful mural on the side of the house near Lion Bridge, which I pass, like, but seldom aspire to seek any knowledge of its artist or background, to the thought process of the contemporary architecture which Swindon holds, with all its 1970s futurism; the Meccano-fashioned “Renault” building, or the curvaceous landmark David John Murray tower. All of these popular sites of Swindon are featured and detailed, with fascinating facts you never thought to ask about. And yeah, the Magic Roundabout is covered too!’

And finally some other reviews:

Secret Swindon – https://swindonian.me/secretswindon/ – is for sale in the library shop at Swindon central library.

You can also find it on Amberley Publishing’s Amazon shop  as well as on their own website here: https://www.amberley-books.com/secret-swindon.html