Local Studies

The Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre houses a comprehensive Local Studies Collection consisting of over 50,000 items dating from the 17th century to the present day, the largest collection focusing on the county of Wiltshire in the world. It has become a centre for local history research.

Good book image res

The collection includes:

  • Printed books, published and unpublished
  • General reference ‘Heritage’ collection
  • Digital images and documents
  • Map collection                                                    
  • Local directories
  • Local newspapers on microfilm
  • Ephemera collection
  • Pamphlets, reports, leaflets
  • Journal collection
  • Audio collection
  • Moving Images collection
  • Wiltshire Author collection
  • Creative Wiltshire collection
  • Historic Photograph and Print collection

Our aim is to preserve, promote and value the knowledge of the county but also to provide access to material for all to enjoy. Our collection can be searched using Wiltshire Libraries’ online catalogue (choosing the branch ‘Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre’). 

Our award winning Wiltshire Community History website is also free to view.

Our Memory Box Reading group extracts are now being made available online, read by the group's organiser, County Local Studies Librarian Julie Davis, focussing on local history and illustrated with interesting images.

If you'd like to spend some time exploring online heritage resources, our suggestions include the Know Your Place and Creative Wiltshire sites.

With Wiltshire Local Studies you can find out what life was like in Wiltshire’s towns and villages and how our communities have changed over time; about the people who lived in them, the houses they lived in, events that happened and the shops and businesses which have operated over the years.

You will find fascinating articles, stories, images and much more besides.

Chippenham High Street, Early C20 P16481











We also have a general reference collection; a great resource for reading around a topic to fill in those important facts and references. Our general collection includes the Clergy List, Alumni Oxonienses and Cantabrigienses, Burke’s Peerage and Landed Gentry, English Historical Documents, The Cambridge Social History of England, the Dictionary of National Biography, Who was Who, books on landscape studies, history, archaeology and genealogical guides.

Our map collection contains Ordnance Survey maps of various editions, reproductions of maps from the 16th to 19th centuries, Goad Town Plans, geological and specialist maps.

Local newspapers are available on microfilm (please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to pre-book a viewer).

Access to the British Newspaper Library and Ancestry Library Edition is available at the History Centre and at all Wiltshire Libraries.

You will find a Local Studies collection in every Wiltshire library, each a dedicated set of books relevant to the local community. Salisbury Library is the regional repository for the southern half of the county.

Many of our books can be loaned; contact your local Wiltshire Library for further information.

Happy researching!

Julie Davis

County Local Studies Librarian




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