There's always lots happening at the History Centre including:

Talks and lectures



Events and Activities


 Talks and Lectures 

Talks begin at 2.15 pm. Admission £3.50.  Spaces are limited so please buy your ticket in advance. Telephone 01249 705500 or visit our Help Desk at the History Centre. (Payment by credit/debit card or cheque available for the purchase of 2 or more tickets).

  • Thursday 28th May 2015 - Beating it into Them: Education in Wiltshire to the 18th Century with Mike Marshman - A talk on the early school system in our county which brought the most basic education to the privileged few - who was educated and how it was achieved through monasteries, nunneries, chantry priests, grammar schools, etc.
  • Thursday 11th June 2015 - Using Maps in Local & Family History with Claire Skinner - A really useful guide to an important and fascinating source for those embarking on a more in depth study of our local area and those who lived and worked here.
  • Thursday 25th June 2015 - What's In the Paper? Local Newspapers in late Georgian times (1800-30) - the mundane, the curious and the trivial with Robert Jago - A glimpse into the contents of the Wiltshire press during this interesting period using anecdotes from original newspapers such as the Salisbury Journal.
  • Thursday 9th July 2015 - Lunatic Asylums: Their Operation & Inmates with Margaret Moles - An insight into the day to day running of these grim local and national institutions and their unfortunate residents.
  • Thursday 23rd July 2015 - Horrible and Curious Histories with Terry Bracher - A return to this popular gruesome subject. Terry will give you some examples of the strange and macabre from our archives.
  • Thursday 3rd September 2015 - Women Portrayed in the Lacock Archive with Ally McConnell - A delve into the recently catalogued Lacock collection, to see the representations of women throughout the centuries.
  • Thursday 17th Septemeber 2015 - The Story of Butter, Milk & Ham in Chippenham from 1600-1936 with Mike Stone - Another fascinating insight into the trade and industry of Chippenham with this popular local author and historian.
  • Thursday 1st October 2015 - Stonehenge & Avebury World Heritage Sites; managing their Outstanding Universal Values with Sarah Simmonds - A comprehensive look at our most popular and important archaeological assets; how thse sites are presented to the public and ongoing research into their past.
  • Thursday 15th October 2015 - Victory 1945: The Aftermath with Julie Davis - With VE Day and VJ Day over, what were the social consequences of total war for the county & what changes did they bring for Wiltshire people in post-war Britain.
  • Thursday 29th October - The Longbow: Its history and use in English battle with Gill Neal - Marking the 600th anniversary of Agincourt, Gill tells the tale of this effective weapon of mass destruction.



Finding Your Family History - 17th April - 22nd May 2015 

£40 for the 6 week course or £10 each for individual workshops (if available)
Each workshop takes place on Fridays from 9.30 a.m. to 12.45 p.m. in the Education Room at the Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre. Biscuits and tea or coffee will provided mid morning.

You will be handling documents and other original material in each session and so we ask you to only use pencils for any note taking. There will be plenty of opportunity to ask general questions and mention problems, but we will not be taking questions about individual ancestral research.

17th April - Introduction to the family history course and Printed sources and civil registration.
With Claire Skinner and Michael Marshman.

24th April - Censuses, poll books and electoral  registers. With Michael Marshman.

1st May - Church of England parish and Non-conformist records. With Margaret Moles and Robert Jago.

8th May - Education Records and Poor Law Records. With Margaret Moles and Terry Bracher.

15th May - Estate and manorial records. With Claire Skinner and Ally McConnell.

22nd May - Wills and probate inventories and Quarter and Petty Sessions records. With Robert Jago and Steve Hobbs.

The aim of this course is to enable you to become familiar with a range of sources that will be useful in family history research. You will have the opportunity to handle and use documents with professional assistance and gain confidence to use material that you’ve not previously considered. The course is designed to provide maximum benefit to people taking the whole course, but it will be possible to book individual workshops if space is available. Owing to the fact the archives relate to Wiltshire and Swindon, this course will be of most benefit to those with English or Welsh ancestry.


The course is limited to 20 places and pre-booking is advised.
To book a place on the course please:

Either: telephone Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre on 01249 705500 and you can pay by credit or debit card over the telephone.

Or: make a booking when you visit us and pay by cash, cheque or card.

Or: e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and send us a cheque on confirmation of your booking.

If you wish to book an individual workshop we will keep your details and contact you before the course start date to let you know if space is available. 

There are no courses at present but please come back to see what will be on offer


Currently showing in the History Centre foyer - Exhibition of art work by Sue Hallissey.  

 Events and activities

Lacock Unlocked: Heroes and villains of Lacock with graphic novelist Liz Greenfiled

A creative writing workshop ideal for 7-12 year olds and their families with graphic novelist Liz Greenfield.

Using stories from the Lacock Archives of Wilts & Swindon History Centre, create your own comic to take home

Venue: Tippett Room,  Springfield Community Campus, Beechfield Road, Corsham

Saturday 9 May 2 – 4 pm

FREE but advance booking essential as places are limited

Tickets available from the History Centre 01249 705500 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.