Blue Plaques in Swindon
There are now a number of blue plaques in Swindon. The most recent being unveiled on June 16th, 2018 on Swindon Civic Day.
The plaque was installed on the exterior of the Health Hydro – aka Milton Road Baths.
Swindon Civic Voice: https://www.swindoncivicvoice.org.uk
Here’s a table from the website of Swindon Heritage showing the blue plaques so far, showing where they are and their date of installation:
- Edith New
- Harold Starr – and John Starr
- Diana Dors
- Sam Allen: ‘Swindon Town manager and football pioneer Sam Allen (the sixth-most longest-serving manager in Football League history), and was unveiled on May 19, 2018, by former Swindon Town footballer John Trollope MBE, and Sam’s granddaughter-in-law, Pat Chapman.
- Milton Road Baths’
- To come – Ralph Bates – excited about this one!
Diana Dors – aka Diana Fluck
The Starr Brothers
Milton Road Baths
Former STFC player, John Trollope MBW and some Allen family members unveiled his plaque, while Tamara Dugdale, Edith New’s great-neice, unveiled hers.
Tom Saward of the Swindon Advertiser put together this map of where to find the blue plaques which he kindly let me use.
There is though another plaque tucked away in Old Town, in Newport Street, which tells its own story. The photo is taken from this Blip photo blog by Maureen Isles: https://www.blipfoto.com/entry/2228808359820132491
‘In 1764 a free school for the working classes was provided in a cottage Newport Street, to educate 20 boys and 5 girls on land owned by the Goddard family, but very soon the number of pupils outgrew the accommodation and a two storey stone-built National School was built on the same site in 1835. Among its pupils in the 1860s was future author, Richard Jefferies, mentioned in my Blip about Jefferies Avenue a few weeks ago.’
11th August 2018
Summer Workshops at Swindon’s Museum and Art Gallery
Doing what it says on the tin – a poster advertising stuff to do with the kids, in the form of summer workshops at Swindon’s museum and art gallery up in Old Town. The activities are sponsored by the friends of Swindon museum and art gallery– an organisation well worth joining.
If you’re the sociable sort then check out Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MuseumandArtGallery and Twitter: https://twitter.com/museumandart
And Instagram too:
10th August 2018
8 Must visit historical sites in Swindon
Central community centre – once the Medical Fund Society Hospital
A quick share of an article by Total Swindon.
The article features 8 must-visit historical sites in Swindon. It’s a nice list and especially so because they’ve included the Railway Village Conservation area including Faringdon (or GWR) park. Which is fab.
The article starts out thus:
‘Swindon has a rich history, especially when you consider how instrumental the town was in the railways. But even if we forget the significance of GWR in Swindon’s history there are still a huge amount of places of historical significance to visit.
If you’ve been living in Swindon all your life, or if you’re just here to visit, there are lots of must-visit destinations in our town. We’ve outlined a few of them below, but we’re only just scratching the surface!’
And indeed they are but it’s a good start to such a list for sure. Nice one Total Swindon!
So on the list they have:
- Lydiard Park
- STEAM museum
- The Designer outlet centre:
Swindon Designer Outlet Village: shopping with a sense of history
Swindon Designer Outlet Village – Revisited
4. The Railway Village
5. The museum and art gallery
6. Old Town – the entire area. Don’t forget Christ church.
7. The Richard Jefferies Museum
8. Swindon and Cricklade Railway
Christ Church Old Towb
The Richard Jefferies museum Coate, Swindon
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:
Secret Swindon in the library shop – Secret Swindon Book Launch
Cutters made by SED developments
biscuits on baking tray
Me, Sam Whittingham and Kris Allen
Me with Mariadele Boccardi – UWE
David Bent, Chris Barry and Pradeep Bhadwari
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 Devizine: https://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
13th July 2018
Event: This is our town
Prime Theatre wins major support for new Swindon history play called This is our town.
Prime Theatre has been awarded a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £27,000 for an exciting new performance project based on Swindon’s people & places at the turn of the century.
Made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, the project ‘This is Our Town’ will allow young actors & writers to partner the town’s heritage organisations & create live & digital performances & exhibition.
Supported through the Heritage Lottery Fund, the nine-month project begins with a major production at STEAM museum at the end of July,
’This Is Our Town’, brings to life figures & events from between 1903 & 1913. After this first production, new young writers & historians will be able to join another creative project with digital stories & an exhibition in the autumn.
Celebrating the award, Prime’s Associate Director Emma Barr said: ‘This is a fantastic opportunity for Prime Youth Theatre and any actors, producers, writers, researchers, technicians and directors between the ages of 10-17 to develop skills alongside professionals while learning more about local heritage. In our research we have come across dramatic stories and visionary people, giving us plenty of reasons to be proud of our town.’
Cast member and young writer, Jenna said: ‘I’ve really enjoyed learning more about the history of Swindon. Getting to be involved with both the writing and the performing has been so interesting and so much fun!’
Prime Theatre will support up to 150 young participants from across Swindon to get involved with heritage professionals from Swindon Local Studies archives, Swindon Museum & Art Gallery, STEAM Museum, Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre & Swindon Heritage.
The show features William Morris, editor of the town’s newspaper, then called the “Swindon Advertiser and Wiltshire, Berkshire and Gloucestershire Chronicle”. Other glimpses of history include suffragette Edith New, James ‘Raggy’ Powell the Swindon Councillor and philanthropist and events such as the tram crash of 1906.
Daryll Moody from Swindon Local Studies said: ‘We are proud to be involved in this fantastic project, which will allow Swindonians to step back in time and glimpse life in ‘our town’ a century ago. We always welcome the opportunity to share the treasures of the Local Studies collection with the widest possible audience.’
‘This is Our Town’ will be performed at STEAM museum on Thursday 26 to Saturday 28 July at 7pm with a matinee on Saturday at 2pm. Tickets at £7 are available through the Wyvern ticket office on 01793 524481 and www.swindontheatres.co.uk
16th June 2018
Eastcott Community Organisation Swindon Suffragette Events
This month, June 2018, Eastcott Community Organisation and Swindon Suffragette are sharing the story of suffragette Edith New, and her involvement in the campaign that led to the women’s vote. This year is the centenary of the legislation which enabled the first women to vote. Furthermore it’s ninety years since the Equal Franchise Act. This act gave equal voting rights to men and women over the age of 21.
With an award of £1695.00 from the Women’s Vote Centenary Grant Scheme, Savernake Street Social all are staging two free events.
The Women’s Vote Centenary Grant Scheme is a £1.5 million government fund helping local and community groups across England to celebrate the centenary of women gaining the right to vote. There are several funding rounds during 2018.
Event one: Sunday 24th June – EqualiTea
This day of family-friendly activities celebrates past achievements and is set to inspire future equalities campaigners.
Through the words of Emily Wilding Davison, delivered by actor and campaigner Kate Willoughby, people can learn about the ambitions and hopes of the suffragettes. There will be musical performances from Talis Kimberley and the Swindon Community Choir, with the opportunity to join a pop-up choir to sing the modern anthem ‘I Can’t Keep Quiet.’
- Arts and craft activities include:
- colouring-in and sending a suffragette postcard
- drawing an inspirational woman
Adults and children can also cast a vote in a mock polling booth, add equalities issues to a protest banner and enjoy suffragette-themed refreshments.
Event Two: Friday 29th June
The Swindon Suffragette team will present an illustrated talk ‘’Worth the Whipping’’ about Edith New and her contribution to the campaign for Votes for Women.
Sharing photographs and newspaper articles they will give an overview of the suffrage campaign starting with the suffragists in the 1860s, through to the actions of the militant suffragettes which included Edith New, and beyond to the Equal Franchise Act in 1928.
The talk is aimed at adults (and secondary school age children with parental discretion).
Excited by the opportunity to continue sharing Edith’s story is local historian, Frances Bevan. She said: ‘We’ve been researching Edith New for several years and held many successful and well-attended talks and guided walks. Getting this grant and working with Eastcott community Organisation lets us bring a range of activities to a wider audience. We’re thrilled to be able to raise more awareness of Edith’s contribution to women’s equality in this centenary year.’
Also delighted by this grant award and the events it’s made possible is Caroline Davies-Khan, Chair of Eastcott Community Organisation.
‘Edith New was born and lived round the corner from Savernake Street Social Hall, on North Street and Prospect Place. We’re looking forward to working with Swindon Suffragette to share her story with the community in such a creative way.’
For further information about the activities organised by Eastcott Community Organisation and Swindon Suffragette, contact the team on Facebook ‘Swindon Suffragette’ ‘Savernake Street Social Hall’, or contact firstname.lastname@example.org