8 Must visit historical sites in Swindon

8 Must visit historical sites in Swindon

10th August 2018

8 Must visit historical sites in Swindon

Central community centre - once the hospital - 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:

  1. Lydiard Park 
  2. STEAM museum
  3. 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




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

Event: This is our town

Event: This is our town

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 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


TIOT poster


Events: Eastcott Community Organisation Swindon Suffragette Events

Events: Eastcott Community Organisation Swindon Suffragette Events

16th June 2018

Eastcott Community Organisation Eastcott Community Organisation and Swindon Suffragette EventsSwindon 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.
Further information is available from https://www.womensvotecentenaryfund.co.uk/
Edith New

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
  • and rock painting.
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 eastcottcommunity@yahoo.co.uk



Victory Breakfast

Victory Breakfast

14th June 2018

Victory Breakfast

Victory Breakfast

The Victory Breakfast is going to be a splendid event in celebration of votes for women. It’s taking place at Swindon’s Marriott Hotel on Thursday 5th July, 2018 and is raising funds for Swindon’s Womens’ Aid.

Tickets are £10. To get one contact:

Carol:01793 522955

Susan: 07842 489 819

Read more about it in this article in the Swindon Advertiser: http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/features/big_interview/16226741.THE_BIG_INTERVIEW__Honouring_those_who_ploughed_the_furrow/

‘Carol Gibbon and Susan Pearson, investigated archives at the London School of Economics to make the victory breakfast as authentic as possible

WOMEN got the vote a century ago – but not all women.

That didn’t come until a decade later, and was marked with a victory breakfast at London’s Cecil Hotel on Thursday, July 5, 1928.

On Thursday, July 5, 2018 at Swindon’s Marriott Hotel, the breakfast will be recreated and the achievement of 90 years ago celebrated…

…Millicent Fawcett, who recently had her statue unveiled in Parliament Square, was involved right from the beginning, when she was a teenager. One of her sisters was the first female doctor, for instance. They were a very feminist-minded family.

“She married an MP who had been blinded in a shooting accident, so she was a secretary from quite a young age and gradually got more and more involved herself. She was there in 1928 at the victory breakfast, so she’d been working all those years and saw the culmination of her efforts.’






14th June 2018



Well this is something of personal interest dear listeners, having recently written a book myself. Mine though is a different sort of a paperback being non-fiction. Secret Swindon is out mid-July and you can find out more about it here. 

Now to the purpose of this post which is to tell you that another Swindon author offers help to would-be writers.



Naz and Sarah

LOCAL author and radio presenter Naz Ahsun has launched a new publishing company which aims to help would-be writers get into print.

Naz has teamed up with graphic designer and illustrator Sarah Ray to launch Vision Maker Press, which offers authors a variety of packages to help them on their self-publishing journey from manuscript to book.

The company aims to be an independent publisher with a difference, offering writers a bespoke service to help them produce the best book that they can.

Naz, who presents the paranormal show, The Outer Limits and The Good News Show on Swindon 105.5, has recently published her own second book, The Little Book of Animal Wisdom – through her own company.

She said: “Sarah and I have known each other for some time and a chance remark led to the creation of Vision Maker Press. Our skills work well together, and we realised we could help others who want to self-publish – yet be efficient and effective in doing so.”

Vision Maker Press will specialise in working with first-time or second-time authors who are serious about writing and publishing their book yet need some guidance to take the right steps.

‘We’re looking to work with anyone who feels they have a story to share which could help or inspire someone else. It can often feel, when you are going through an experience, that you are the only person going through it and knowing someone else has been through something similar can be very empowering and open up new possibilities,’ Naz said.

Sarah said: ‘I work with many authors already in my graphic design business. As I got to know Naz, I found her books to be well written and fluent with strong content and, in my experience, this is unusual. I made an off-the-cuff comment that we should help other authors as I’m the visual person and Naz is the content person. Here we are some months later, launching our publishing company for those who wish to self-publish their stories. It’s amazing.’

Naz, who lives in Faringdon, and Sarah, who is from Llandissilo in Pembrokeshire, have worked together on several projects since 2012 but had not met in person until May! For more information visit www.visionmakerpress.com

NB: In The Little Book of Animal Wisdom, Naz Ahsun explores how observing how animals overcome obstacles in their environment can give us clues as to how we can overcome ours

It is £6.99 from www.naseemahsun.com or from www.visionmakerpress.comand Amazon. £1 for each copy sold will be donated to Oak and Furrows Wildlife Rescue Centre in Cricklade.