Presentation to the Wroughton Social Stroke Club
by Bob Townsend August 15th 2013

The Swindon Society gave a presentation to this group last year so were very pleased to be asked back again. What to show them this time!! Bob as always came up with an excellent display showing images of Wroughton, outlying Villages, and many more. On to Beatrice Street, Gorse Hill the home of Albert Beaney, with whom you are all well acquainted, finishing with some amusing Postcard images, which brought a few giggles from the audience! The variety of photographs shown were very well received, and oh! How they hoped to see images of themselves in the Beaney section, sadly nobody did. However one Lady remembered going to School with Bob, I will say no more!!!! Diane went along and took photographs of the group and some of these will find their way to the Web site soon. Visit the site through Mollie Newman has been running this club for around 35, yes 35 years, that’s some dedication, she is a “hero” in my book. We finished the morning with a lovely cup of tea and biscuits, and then said our goodbyes. I have a feeling we might be getting a phone call in 2014!





The Swindon Society were asked if they could give a presentation to an event they were running called “The Holiday at home” it ran from Tuesday 27th to Friday 30th August. The “Holiday” was to enable people to have a break and be looked after for a few days, a lovely idea I am sure you will agree. Lunch, afternoon cake and a cup of tea, and many activities had been arranged for them. They started with a fun afternoon on Gorse Hill Recreation ground, I am told as many as 1000 yes 1000 people turned up and a great time was had by all. “The Swindon Society” gave them a Power point presentation called “The Tour” taking them from The Railway Station into Regent Street, Old Town, Commercial Rd, Faringdon Road and finishing at the Tram Centre , Bridge Street, the bottom of town. The Visitors certainly seemed to enjoy the pictures as the room was full of oh! I remember that do you, oh! Yes I do, great! Bob and myself had been invited to join them for lunch, we accepted, and a very nice lunch it was. We have been asked “can you maybe do a show at Christmas”, so watch this space. Bob and I then went home for a well-earned rest.

Photographs to follow




For the fourth year running the Swindon Society attended this very popular event. The previous year saw a slide show presentation given and on the back of its success we decided to give another one this year. It proved as popular as the last one. Diane had put together a powperpoint presentation on “All Things Ferndale”. Various local people saw themselves on the “Big Screen!” so to speak. The show was repeated several times during the afternoon. There was also a presentation showing images from around Swindon which proved very popular. Maps, books, photographs, personal stories and many Swindon items of interest were on display. I think Diane’s house was almost empty as she had rounded up all she could find. Thanks must go to Colin Herbert, a Swindon Society member, and Raymond Rowland both of whom contributed to the afternoon events. Roger Trayhurn and Mark Child were there with their book “All for the Empire”. Roger had his “stands” on display with as always some very interesting items for people to see, Mark Child also took along his latest book, “The Swindon Book”. An absolute must if you are a Swindonian. Joining them were the “Swindon Heritage” magazine team, Frances Bevan and Graham Carter. A sincere thank you to Bob Townsend and Nicky Shackell for all their help, without them the above could not have happened. Last but not least a big thank you to Bob and Gina Downing, Landlords of the Southbrook Inn, for allowing us to use their function room.


Hosted by the Central Library, 21st September 2013
This event was held in the Reading Room on the Second Floor of the Central Library. It was well represented by not only the Swindon Society but also the Swindon Heritage Magazine, the Alfred Williams Society, Wiltshire Family History Society, Wroughton History Group,Purton Historical Society and Museum, Broadgreen and Queenstown History Group, Empire Theatre Swindon, Claire Skinner Archivist from Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre. Swindon Local Radio 105.5 am were also there to talk to the exhibitors which gave them a chance to promote their societies. Heroes and Villains seemed a funny subject to promote the Swindon Society but with contributions made from the committee and members we managed to come up with a wide selection of people and events from Swindon and the surrounding areas.

David Murray John – Town Clerk of Swindon 1937
The Watson Family – AUEW Torchbearers
Richard Jefferies
Alfred Williams
Women Heroes of WW1 and WW2WW1 Swindon Heroes
Charles William Shepherd – WW1 Hero
W G George – Sporting Hero – set world record for 1 mile in 1886
James Kibblewhite – Sporting Hero – new world record for 3 miles
Albert White Scunthorpe – Hero cyclist – new world record 1926
Ivy Sheppard – honoured for 55 years’ service to St John Ambulance
A E Lloyd – most prolific cricketer for Swindon Cricket Club and played football and cricket for Wiltshire
Martin Vandervelde – cyclist – raised £102,000 for Prospect Hospice
Alfred Manners – Manager of the Empire Theatre 1904-1925 – raised money for Local Hospital Fund
William Morris – founded the Swindon Advertiser
Joseph Armstrong – Railway works Superintendent and started Medical Fund
James Powell – Raggy Powell – Swindon’s best known rag and bone man
Flight Sub Lieut RAJ Warneford VC – Royal flying corps WWI from Highworth
Albert Beaney – Swindon Hero Photographer
Hooty – George French – impersonated the sound of the GWR hooter
F W Marillier – 44 years’ service in GWR, Swindon Cycling Club, on Swindon Council and patented Instanter Coupling
Tom Williams – born in Blaenavon, Wales – walked from Wales to Swindon for work as he had heard good things about Swindon which gave him hope and opportunity
Joyce Murgatroyd – still active at 96 – can discuss with you what has happened in last night’s Adver or tell you about when the Borough boundaries were moved in 1928 Bruce The Dog – raised money for charity especially Hospital Fund and for Titanic survivors

William Baker Pitt – Curate of Christ Church on 1879, Captain of Swindon Association Football Club and formed Swindon Town Football Club

VILLAINS (or were they?)
Edward Richard Palmer – murdered his fiancée Esther Hettie Swinford in the Ship Hotel
Dr Richard Beeching – closed local stations and lines
Edith New – Suffragette – broke 2 panes of glass at 10 Downing Street
Amelia Dyer – village midwife – looked after orphans and children of unmarried mothers, if they became too much trouble or too expensive to feed she is said to have murdered them – hanged at Newgate Prison in June 1896
And the person who stole Diane's front gate!

William Robins OBE – Mayor of Swindon 1932-1933, founded Liberal League and served on Swindon’s general strike committee