New Reading Group: The Memory Box

on Monday, 10 December 2018.

Do you enjoy history and listening to stories? Join us for a brand new reading group: The Memory Box. Our group is meeting on the first and third Monday afternoon of every month, beginning 7th January 2019, 2-3.30pm.

We'll meet and listen to an extract from one of the amazing collection of books in our Local Studies Library. We will take time to share memories and thoughts, and also have a chat over refreshments! If you would enjoy some friendly company in a relaxed environment, this is for you. All welcome!

Free entry, parking right outside and refreshments, supported by Hob Nob Press.

Read - Reminisce - Enjoy

Download the Memory Box Reading Group Leaflet

Culture therapy anyone?

on Tuesday, 20 November 2018. Posted in Archaeology

Having an understanding about the past can improve mental wellbeing and create a sense of identity. Getting out into the landscape and exploring heritage sites can be a great way to bring people together, but fortified with information even individually or in smaller groups can create admiration and wonderment towards the places in which you live. 

There is growing recognition about the value of archaeology and heritage to the wellbeing of people.  The Wiltshire Council Archaeology Service plays an essential part in safeguarding our heritage through ensuring archaeology, which is to be destroyed through development, gets properly excavated and recorded and through managing the Historic Environment Record (HER). This information forms the basis for academic research such as the recent synthesis of The Rural Settlement of Roman Britain. The HER also provides a free service to the general public who are interested to know more about their local area. It can be accessed online and reports are available to view by appointment at the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre.

The Archaeology Service also shares information about exciting new discoveries via presentations to the public but we also lead various walks to some of our most outstanding heritage sites.  This last year we led walks in the Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site, to Iron Age hillforts and to visit our registered battlefield at Roundway Down.

Simply put, a bit of culture therapy that can make you feel better!

A walk near Warminster led by the Archaeology Service in October this year, with Middle Hill in distance (top) and Scratchbury hillfort in the distance (above).


Wiltshire Local Studies for National Libraries Week

on Tuesday, 13 November 2018.

I jumped at the fantastic opportunity to showcase local history during Libraries Week at the beginning of October this year!

The week was centred around local history displays at many of the county’s public libraries with larger libraries making the most of the reproduction Goad Town Plans provided by the History Centre alongside copies of photographs from our Historic Photograph and Print Collection which really brought back memories and brought the maps to life.

Devizes Library

A small selection of local history material was also made available to purchase at some libraries which drew interest and sales.

There was a positive response to our call for comments and memories from local people which proved popular in many libraries – some of which are still ongoing!

Chippenham Library

The maps caused a lot of chatter amongst library customers, many enjoying recalling old shops and haunts. Caroline, LS Champion for Westbury noted; “Many people have been fascinated to see old photos of the streets in which they live. The display is bringing back memories for our older customers.”

Local studies has an amazing power to excite, energise and share; for individuals in communities to discover commonalities and make connections which enrich and aid their health and wellbeing.

Amesbury Library

It’s been a pleasure to for me and my colleagues at the History Centre to work with Wiltshire Libraries staff as one team to deliver local history to the heart of communities – one of the many, many reasons why our libraries are so special!

Salisbury Library

A big thank you to the Local Studies Champions who created some fantastic displays. It was great to see that everyone had put their own individual mark on their work; a unique display for each community. Also for their enthusiasm and support - we couldn’t reach so far without you!

Your Local Studies Champions are:

Amesbury Library - Diane Ratcliffe
Bradford Library – Belinda Webley
Calne Library - Jackie Notman
Chippenham Library – Sue Tuersley
Corsham Library – Wendy Barker
Devizes Library - Hilary Hampton
Malmesbury Library –Chris White
Marlborough Library – Carol Moylan
Royal Wootton Bassett Library – Sue Widnall
Salisbury Library – Rosie Epton-Peter
Trowbridge Library – Jenny DeLang
Warminster Library – Ann Knight
Westbury Library – Caroline Brock
Wilton Library – Shirlie Williams

Julie Davis
County Local Studies Librarian

Stonehenge for the Nation

on Friday, 26 October 2018.

On 26 October 1918 Stonehenge was formally gifted to the nation by Cecil Chubb with speeches delivered from the stone in the centre of the monument. The Salisbury Journal reported on the event with detailed coverage of the speeches of the day.

Ref P11773  

Mr Chubb made a speech where he described how as a Wiltshireman, born almost within the shadow of the stones, he was only too proud to think he was predestined to do this thing.

Sir Alfred Mond, M.P., First Commissioner of Works expressed profound gratitude felt towards Mr Chubb for his action in giving Stonehenge to the nation, and said his name would go down in history as one of those who seized the great opportunity in the great way...
…The fact the ceremony took place at what was, perhaps, the turning point of the war, the end of four years of anxiety, of toil, and of peril, when we saw at last the sun of victory appearing over the horizon of dark clouds, was a good augry. Our ancestors worshiped the sun when it rose, and to-day we could turn our eyes towards the sun of victory won so gallantly by the men who had gone out and died for us, and by those who were still fighting, and in time to come many of those who would come here would commemorate that event as the great event in this war.

Sir Hercules Read of the British Museum remarked ‘when he called it a historic occasion, he might perhaps more rightly call it a pre-historic one’ (boom boom).

The proceedings concluded with the signing of God Save the King, followed by hearty cheers, given on the call of the Mayor of Salisbury, for Mr Chubb.

You can find out more about Cecil Chubb, the monument through prints and photographs from our archives on display at our annual open day Saturday 27th October 2018!

To celebrate this anniversary we are offering copies of various 18th and 19th century prints for sale, printed on A4 photographic paper, for £7.90 plus £1.50 postage (collection from the History Centre is free). Order yours now.

Celebrate Black History Month

on Tuesday, 02 October 2018.

Join Town Hall Arts in Trowbridge this Saturday 6 October 2018 to celebrate Black History Month.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the arrival of the Empire Windrush, which docked in London on 21 June 1948 carrying 492 passengers from the West Indies who planned on settling in the UK. The arrival of the Windrush is traditionally taken to mark the beginning of a period, lasting from 1948 to 1971, of migration from the Commonwealth to the UK – the “Windrush Generation”.

To celebrate the arrival of the Windrush and its passengers, and to mark Black History Month, we have put together the exhibition ‘Wiltshire Remembers the Windrush Generation’ to showcase the stories of some of the many West Indians who came to settle here in Wiltshire.

Wiltshire Remembers the Windrush Generation will be on display at Town Hall Arts , Trowbridge, on 6 October 2018 and will tour Wiltshire libraries and community venues in the future. Many thanks to Helen Pocock of HP Source of Design for designing the exhibition.

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