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Swindon Society Meeting Review

FACT OR FICTION - HOW OLD SWINDON INSPIRED AN HISTORICAL NOVEL

NICOLA CORNICK

10th January 2018


Nicola Cornick

Nicola Cornick is an international writer of historical romantic novels and time slip mysteries and her books have been translated into over 40 languages. She was born in Yorkshire and now lives in the Vale of the White Horse. In 2017 Nicola was elected as the 28th Chairman for 2017-2018 of the Romantics Novelists Association. She is a volunteer guide and historian of Ashdown House, a 17th century hunting lodge in Oxfordshire, owned by The National Trust.

For inspiration of her novel she approached Frances Bevan, a co-editor of Swindon Heritage Magazine, who took her on a tour of Lydiard House. She was also introduced to Andy Binks who took her around the old parts of Swindon, namely Holy Rood Church, The Planks and the site of the Mill Pond in The Lawns. Nicola was enthused by the old places trying to envisage how life was carried out three centuries ago.

From her research of Old Town, she came to the conclusion that it was not a sleepy backwater as people had previously believed. Her evidence was based on the fact that with the tunnels and the reports of smuggling, Swindon appeared to be part of a widespread smuggling operation with the gentry also being involved. Also there is evidence of Dutch people settling in Swindon bringing the weaving trade to the town as shown by the street names now in place such as The Weavers and Newport Street.

Her latest novel Dark Water is based on Old Swindon and incorporates the lives of the mill workers and also has a shady character called Mr Binks the gamekeeper embroiled in it.

Unfortunately, the novel is still waiting to be published as her publishers, Harper Collins, wish to launch this simultaneously in the UK and the USA. Once this date has been established we will let you know… watch this space!

Thank you Nicola for an interesting and entertaining evening. Please come back and share some more of your finds.

Nicola Shackell January 2018