Articles tagged with: Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre

Book Review: The Hiding Places

on Thursday, 28 April 2022. Posted in Wiltshire Places

The Hiding Places
Katherine Webb
2017
ISBN 9781409148586
408 pages
£7.99

The Hiding PlacesThis Wiltshire author is an emerging talent who is now able to pursue writing full-time.The fictional tale of murder and intrigue, set in the sheltered community of Slaughterford is an interesting read.The story centres around the newly wed and new arrival at the manor, Irene Hadleigh; the tentative relationship which is formed with the stable girl ‘Pudding’ under extreme circumstances and on Irene’s internal search for herself.

Social relationships of people living in this rural community are uncovered and descriptions of the country and settlement along the By Brook. The local towns of Chippenham and Corsham are also represented.The difficulties of mental health problems and the legacy of WWI on families and communities are also touched on in a sensitive and empathetic way.There are deceits to uncover and the story takes an unusual twist which is cleverly conceived and executed.

An enjoyable and engaging read with local interest.

Available to view at the Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre (reference XWE.823 ) and on loan from Wiltshire Libraries.

Julie Davis, County Local Studies Librarian

Local History Month: May 2022

on Wednesday, 20 April 2022. Posted in Events, Wiltshire Places

May is Local and Community History Month and in Wiltshire we are celebrating local history with an array of events and exhibitions at libraries across the county!

Events are running from Wednesday 4 May through to Friday 27 May: download a full list of Local History Month events with details and booking information.

HERs Galore! Linking Wiltshire’s archaeology to Heritage Gateway

on Tuesday, 29 March 2022. Posted in Archaeology

In January 2022, Wiltshire and Swindon Historic Environment Record (HER) joined many of its cousins on Historic England’s Heritage Gateway. Heritage Gateway covers the whole of England and is the only place where you can search across county boundaries for heritage information. It also includes links to individual County and National Park HERs.

So how and why did these collections of historical sites arise?

General Augustus Pitt Rivers, perhaps better known for his archaeological excavations on his estate on Cranbourne Chase, became the first Inspector of Ancient Monuments in 1882 and created the first catalogue of archaeological sites.

In 1908, the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England (RCHME) was formed to create an inventory of ‘Ancient and Historical Monuments and Constructions’.

Conservation of a Plaster Model Horse

on Tuesday, 22 March 2022. Posted in Conservation

Hello! I have just joined the team at CMAS as an object conservator, having spent the last four years working on the Burrell Collection in Glasgow.

In my first three weeks I have had some lovely objects to get stuck into; one of which is a cream painted plaster model horse with a leather and textile collar from the Mere Museum.

The model in situ in a saddlery shop

We think this was a display model for a saddlery, although the records are a bit thin on the ground. It was brought in for conservation with fractures across all four lower legs and pieces of plaster had come away from the hind right leg exposing the iron armature inside. On top of this, the paint surface was flaking in places and is rather uneven, having been touched up and repainted several times.

Both the body of the horse and the base show signs of previous damage and repair, and indeed there are records of the horse having already been conserved twice by CMAS in the last 20 years.

In defence of interesting stones

on Wednesday, 02 February 2022. Posted in Architecture, Wiltshire Places

When is a stone not just a stone? – when it is a guard stone, also sometimes known as a glance stone. None the wiser? Don’t worry – I’m not about to try and convince you of these stones’ magical or archaeological properties, etc., but to make you see what is so easily missed in many historic street scenes in both town and country.

Following an interesting article on cornerstones in buildings in the Oxon Recorder Winter 2021 I was inspired to think about cornerstones, and also guard stones, in my home town of Warminster. These occur in a couple of narrow lanes in Warminster town centre and I’ve noted them in passing, but given little thought to what they were doing there.

Stones set into tarmac at the base of walls running alongside a roadside
Guard stones at North Row, Warminster

The Oxon Recorder speculates that these may have had several purposes originally; the most obvious, as observed in the very narrow North Row which leads off the High Street in Warminster, was to prevent traffic striking the walls. Wikipedia describes a guard stone: A guard stone, jostle stone or chasse-roue (French lit. "wheel chaser"), is a projecting metal, concrete, or stone exterior architectural element located at the corner and/or foot of gates, portes-cochères, garage entries, and walls to prevent damage from vehicle tires and wheels. This is also true in Chinn’s Yard on the opposite side of the road. These can be rough local stones just leant against a wall, which over time become set into the asphalt in a road when this is resurfaced. They are unspectacular, and anachronistic in today’s bare, tarmacked roads and lanes.

The County Car, 1902-1906

on Friday, 14 January 2022. Posted in Archives, Wiltshire People

December 1903 saw the introduction of the Motor Car Act. A requirement of the new act meant that owners of existing and new vehicles had to register their motor vehicles with the local authority. Under the act, each registered vehicle was assigned a registration number, which had to be displayed at the front and the back of the car. This caused many car owners to complain, who felt they were being treated as if they drove Hackney carriages. The first car to appear in the newly opened vehicle register was a vehicle not owned by a wealthy landowner, as you may expect, but was, in fact, owned by Wiltshire County Council. This vehicle was purchased in 1902 and was used for official county business; in effect was the County Car.

WSHC F3/500/1

“AM-1 was registered on the 12th of December 1903 to Wiltshire County Council, Charles Septimus Adye, the County Surveyor, County Offices, Trowbridge. 10hp Benz Parsifal; four seated tonneau body, painted blue with yellow lines; 17¾cwt; County purposes”.

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