Swindon 105.5: Radio by the community for the community

Swindon 105.5: Radio by the community for the community

Swindon 105.5

Swindon 105.5

Shortly before Christmas 2014 I paid a visit to  the studios of Swindon 105.5 for a couple of reasons. One was to talk to Shirley Ludford, the station manager, about the money-raising initiative the station was running in December whereby local businesses could, for a very small fee, have a song of their choice played and talk about their business. I was delighted to kick the initiative off on the 1st of December with a chat over the phone about my own business, AA Editorial Services: http://www.aaedits.co.uk I also had a few minutes on the actual radio talking about this here blog.

Aside from those two bits of excitement I certainly learnt quite a lot. Prior to this visit my perception of local radio was of stations whose programming is peppered with advertising for and by local companies and services – and I’d assumed Swindon 105.5 to be the same. I confess I hadn’t listened to it – but then I don’t listen to anything very much. I’m not one of these people that can work with noise in the background. If I’m doing anything requiring any concentration then silence is golden as far I’m concerned. But now, having met Shirley at the station and having done a bit of research on community radio as opposed to local radio, I’m somewhat enlightened.

Ofcom defines community radio as being radio stations that typically cover a small geographic area and that must be run on a not-for-profit basis. The idea for this form of broadcasting was conceived and piloted in 2002 by the then Radio Authority. In 2004, the Radio Authority’s successor, Ofcom issued a consultation on the creation of Community Radio.

While some community stations can carry advertising and sponsorship a small number – where they overlap with small commercial services – may not. And Swindon 105.5 comes into that group. As they say on their website: ‘SWINDON 105.5 is one of only 18 Station in the UK NOT permitted to support itself in any way commercially on air.  The Station Manager successfully invited Minister Ed Vaizey to visit the Station in December 2012 and in July 2014, with support from MP Robert Buckland she was invited to the House of Commons to put the case for a relaxing of the regulations for this Station and the other 17 to ensure more fairness.’ FurthermoreSWINDON 105.5 is a non-commercial radio service in Swindon, by Swindon, for Swindon. Licensed by OFCOM as a Not For Profit community broadcasting organisation, with a specific brief and funded by grants, donations, corporate support, fund-raising events and support in-kind. It’s the only locally-based station that’s broadcasting 24 hours a day and they take no sustaining external service, unlike all other radio services in the region.

Now while I had no real understanding of Swindon 105.5’s status I was vaguely aware, though ignorant of specifics, of the community activities of the station. And as this blog is all about celebrating the positives of the Swindon community here we have this post – cos surely this radio station is a positive for Swindon?

Between them, Shirley Ludford, the station manager, trainer and fund-raiser, and her team have reaped a cornucopia of well-deserved accolades and awards for themselves and the station. You can read more about all of that here: http://www.swindon1055.com/about/index.php but two particular highlights of 2014 were the award to Shirley of the High Sheriff’s award for long service to the community and a visit to the station from HRH the Duke of Kent – 1st cousin to The Queen.

The station prides itself on giving a completely accessible and inclusive service to the town while providing training and volunteering opportunities.

And that’s Shirley something to celebrate? What say you? 🙂 😉

The Swindon Collection, Richard Jefferies and Alfred Williams

Wednesday 23rd April 2014

Okay then, what do two Swindon-born writers and a library have in common? The Swindon Collection of course!

I’ve written previously about the services of the Swindon collection, who reside in the upper reaches of the Central Library, but am giving them a mention again now chiefly because I finally found some time to go up there and say hello and to take some photographs – see below.  Furthermore, the most marvellous Swindon local Flickr collection , administered by the Swindon local team, recently had its 10 millionth view. So there’s another good reason to celebrate once more this section of the library service which is a veritable treasure trove for local history enthusiasts and those interested in genealogy.

I had a lovely chat with the lady on the desk up there and a mooch round at the department. Apart from the bookshelves groaning with all manner of local history and genealogy related material there are some lovely displays of old photographs and other historical material – I had no idea – all of which were really lovely to see.  I picked up a leaflet regarding a walk one can do which identifies features from some of Richard Jefferies texts, notably Bevis. I confess that what little I know of this Swindon-born writer I have gleaned from writing this blog and the Facebook page of the Richard Jefferies society.  Anyway, I was really quite excited to see from this aforementioned leaflet, that the illustrations in Bevis were drawn by none other than E H Shepard of Winnie the Pooh fame. How cool is that? Clearly an EXPOTITION is in order!

In one of the glass cases there was a photograph of Alfred Williams, another, by all accounts, under-rated and neglected Swindon-born writer. I was intrigued to see that his wife was called Mary Peck. One because Peck is my maiden name and two because it’s just not a name one comes across very often. Well not outside Sufflok anyway, where there seem to be thousands of them – my dad originated in Suffolk. Anyway, that’s by way of a digression. I say ‘by all accounts’ about Alfred’s abilities as a writer because I have no personal opinion not having read any of his work. Something else I hope to change before too long.  There’s lots of information about him out in the ether but, as so often is the case, Swindon Web is as good a place as any to start. And of course there is an official website dedicated to the man and his literary output.

See how much you can learn just from a wander around the department? Never mind actually reading anything! 🙂  So even if you don’t want to study anything in detail the section is worth a visit just for a look at the photographs and displays. And you can always have a coffee downstairs in Chapters coffee bar – a more than pleasant pit stop.

#swindon #wiltshire #swindonblog  #swindon blog #thingstodoinswindon #thingstoseeinswindon #whattodoinswindon #swindonia #swindoniablog #hiddenswindon #swindonian #swiondonia #alfredwilliams #richardjefferies

Swindon Viewpoint 40th Anniversary Grand Benefit Concert – via Swindon Link magazine

Swindon Viewpoint 40th Anniversary Grand Benefit Concert.

Swindon Viewpoint,  about whom I have blogged more than once on Born again Swindonian, is 40 years old this year. And, as we all know, 40 is the new 30 – hence there are going to be big celebrations. Follow the link above to Swindon Link magazine’s article about the benefit concert. It promises to be a good ‘do’.

“For four decades the cultural life of Swindon has been documented and archived by a team of hardy souls who are committed to capturing the life of the town on tape (and other more current technical methods).

The music and arts scene particularly has benefited from their work; as gigs, festivals and events have all been captured for posterity and are now available to view on the internet – establishing a fantastic and unique record of the creative history of the town … Swindon’s renowned artist Ken White – who designed posters for music gigs in the 70s and 80s – has provided publicity design … “

BBC – Wiltshire – History – link to some archive films

I saw the link to all these films on Twitter so thought it would be good to share. Not I’ve been able to see any of them myself. I’m an iMac user and I appear not to have the correct plug-in. No comment required! So, to those of you who DO have the requisites plug-ins. Enjoy!

BBC – Wiltshire – History.

Remeber too that Swindon Viewpoint is a good resource for archive film and Swindon local for their Flckr collection.

The Swindon collection

I’ve given mention before to the amazing resource and service that is the Swindon Collection in ‘Digital archives R us’. But I figured it was time to give another, more detailed ‘shout out’ about them.

As it says on their section of the Swindon Borough Council website:

The Swindon Collection: The Swindon Collection of local studies and family history material can be found on the second floor of the Central Library. Staff will be happy to help you begin your search. Additionally, one Monday a month, an archivist from the Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre will be available to advise researchers. Please check with Swindon collection staff for future dates.

But there’s more.  The Swindon local collection is the home of the Swindon photostream collection on Flickr:

“In collaboration with the people of Swindon and local history enthusiasts, Swindon Central Library has produced a substantial online library of historical photographs – on the Internet photograph repository, Flickr.

The Swindon Collection Photostream is an ongoing project to publish the history of the Borough of Swindon in photographs.

The collection already includes many thousands of fascinating images – drawn from the library’s collection, the private collections of local residents and enthusiasts, and historical material from Swindon’s commercial institutions of the past and present.”

There are links to various areas of this photostream scattered throughout this blog. It truly is an amazing resource and important record of every aspect of Swindon’s history – something that Swindon should be very proud of.

Just some of the other resources that the Swindon collection can offer are:

  • Complete GRO index of Births, Marriages & Deaths, for the whole of England and Wales (1837-1999).
  • GRO Overseas index.
  • International Genealogical Index (The LDS or Mormon Index).
  • Census records (1841-1901) with surname and street indexes where available.
  • Parish registers, bishops transcripts and surname transcriptions where available (from 1538).
  • Free access to Find My Past Community Edition.
  • All available parish magazines, newsletters and journals, including staff magazines for the Great Western Railway, Wills Tobacco, Garrards and Vickers.

The rest can be found here, on the SBC website. And you can, of course, also find them on Facebook.

About your library | Swindon Libraries & Info. Service

About your library | Swindon Libraries & Info. Service

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Just in case you weren’t aware, the Swindon library service has a rather jolly blog. So this quick press is just to tell you it’s there and is well worth checking out as it’s full of all sorts of interesting and useful information.

About your library | Swindon Libraries & Info. Service.

Below is  some of the information from their ‘About’ page, with opening times and contact info etc, but there’s lots more on there so follow the link above and explore! Then, when you’ve done that go and explore your nearest library. The central library at Regent Circus has a very nice coffee shop, Chapters coffee bar, and a quiet reading area upstairs.

The central library is also the home of Swindon’s tourist information desk: Visit Swindon

“With 15 libraries, plus a mobile and home library service, you are never far away from a wealth of books and useful information resources in Swindon. Our online resources even bring the library to you in the comfort of your own home…

To find out more about Swindon Libraries & Information Service check out www.swindon.gov.uk/libraries  where you can find the opening times and contact details for your local library.

Do you have a query but not sure where to find the answer? Then why not call our Information Helpline on 01793 466454?
This is a free service that enables you to ask an information question to a trained member of staff at Central Library, where there is direct access to a broad range of resources.

This service is available:
Monday–Friday 9.30am–7.00pm
Saturday 10.00am–4.00pm
Sunday 11.00am–3.00pm

You can also contact us by email at: askthelibrary@swindon.gov.uk

If you have a Local Studies or Family History Query then contact us at:localstudies@swindon.gov.uk View pictures from our archives at:http://www.flickr.com/photos/swindonlocal/

We are also on Twitter:

Find us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SwindonLIS

Textphone users can contact Swindon libraries via Text Relay by inserting the prefix 18001 before the full telephone number … “

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