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

Talks and lectures




 Talks and Lectures 

  • Thursday 10th April 2014 - Looking at Old Photographs with Michael Marshman. Early processes, paper sizes and other points on how to date early photographs and how to look after these valuable records. Followed by Old Photograph Workshop at 3.30. Bring your old photographs for our experts to date and identify to a free session between 3.30 and 5.00
  • Thursday 24th April 2014 - Finding a Missing Person: Records of Adoption with Claire Skinner. One of the most difficult areas in family history research. Discover the trail that can lead you back beyond an adopted family member. Limited to 35 people
  • Thursday 1st May 2014 -Back by popular demand - Family life in Lacock Abbey and Village in the 18th Century with Ally McConnell. For Find out what life was really like in the big house and its dependent estate village.  Limited to 35 people Free lecture but you will need a ticket
  • Thursday 8th May 2014 - Sources for the Second World War: A North Wilts Case Study; Home Front with Julie Davis. An insight into locating documents, printed records, publications and resources for the duration of the Second World War, concentrating on the impact it had on the local area.  
  • Thursday 29th May 2014 - Keeping on the Straight & Narrow: Church Court Records of the 16th & 17th Centuries with Steve Hobbs - A glimpse into how the Church maintained standards and morals within its clergy and also congregation. Including the punishments and consequences of breaching the Churches' strict codes.
  • Thursday 5th June 2014 - Churchwarden's Accounts with Robert Jago - Gain a fascinating insight into these proper guardians or keepers of the parish church. From the day to day running of the Parish church to the responsibilities of protecting and controlling its lands, property and interests.
  • Thursday 19th June 2014 - Looking at Life in Wiltshire Workhouses with Margaret Moles - Delve into the world of the under classes and understand how and why our ancestors ended up in these institutions and how hard it was to survive there.
  • Thursday 10th July 2014  - Extraordinary Wiltshire Women with Claire Skinner - Another popular lecture on our high achieving local women using documents held within our archives. Includes Mary Williams and Mildred Bruce 'Queen of Speed'.
  • Thursday 24th July 2014 - Way of Life in Wiltshire, 1914 with Mike Marshman - Explore the lives of Wiltshire folk before the outbreak of the First World War and discover how traditions and communities thrived in the early 20th century.
  • Thursday 11th September 2014 - Some Wiltshire Industries with Mike Marshman - Wiltshire has a diverse range of industries from traditional trades such as the cloth industry to the import and manufacture of rubber. Mike will discuss the history of some of these local and crucial employers.  
  • Thursday 25th September 2014 - From Blacksmiths to Carpenters: Industries & Businesses in the Lacock Archive with Ally McConnell Another interesting lecture on the Archives of Lacock, this time exploring some of the village trades that have thrived there during its largely unchanging historic landscape. Free Lecture but you will need a ticket.
  • Thursday 9th October - 2014 The Unique Abbey Cookery Manuscripts an Exhibition and Talk by Sally MacPherson - Our guest speaker, Sally will enlighten us with extracts from these original documents which contain recipes and menus of yesteryear.
  • Thursday 23rd October 2014 - Resources for World War I with Terry Bracher - Our ever popular lecture on researching military ancestors who fought during the Great War. This talk will guide you through archive material and online resources.  

All Lunchtime Lectures  are from 1.15 to 1.45p.m. You can eat your lunch during the lecture, we provide a water cooler and a hot drinks vending machine. Tickets are £1.50 per lecture - pay on the door or buy tickets in advance from the History Centre

All other talks begin at 2.15 pm. Admission £3.50 (concessions £2.50).  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).



Chippenham Creative Writing Group

  • for adults, led by a professional writer
  •  all genres – novels, short stories, poetry, play writing, new media
  •  using historical artefacts and documents as inspiration

Where:  Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre, Cocklebury Road,  Chippenham SN15 3QN

When:    Saturday Mornings 2014 10am - 1pm   

              1 March   22 March   5 April   12 April  10 May 17 May  7 June  14 June

Cost:       £20 for 8 x 3 hour sessions, plus expert mentoring

For more information T: 01249 705531 or E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Village Interpretation Days 2014

Our popular village interpretation day courses look at the development of communities from medieval times. Places on these are limited and early booking is advisable. The morning is spent studying documents, maps, photographs and printed material under guidance in the History Centre, while course members enjoy a guided village walk, examining features and buildings, in the afternoon. On each course there are two or more tutors to help you. Course members use their own transport.

LacockLooking at Village Buildings: Monday 12 May, 9.30 at the History Centre, 2.00 p.m. at Lacock

Aveburythe History, not the Prehistory! Monday 2 June 9.30 at the History Centre, 2.00 p.m. at Avebury

LacockDevelopment of the Village and its Environs: Monday 21 July, 9.30 at the History Centre, 2.00 p.m. at Lacock

Cost of courses £15.00 each, tickets available from Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre, Cocklebury Road Chippenham, SN15 2QN. Telephone 01249 705500.

Limited to 20 people per course


 9th to 30th May 2014  The Full English: English Folk Customs An Exhibition of Paintings by Mervyn Grist in Celebration of 'Alfred Williams Day' on 17th May Admission Free