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

Talks and lectures



Events and Activities


 Talks and Lectures 

  • Thursday 12th February 2015 - Wiltshire & Swindon's Rotten Boroughs: some 18th & 19th century elections with Terry Bracher.  New Lecture -  Using local examples of these 'Rotten Boroughs', Terry will demonstrate how controversial elections were during this time.
  • Thursday 26th February 2015 -  King Alfred & the Origins of Chippenham with Mike Stone
    New Lecture - Explore the Anglo-Saxon world that descended upon Chippenham and learn how the great Wessex King shaped the town.
  • Thursday 12th March 2015 - Early Photography & Old Photographs with Mike Marshman- a talk followed by FREE Old Photograph Workshop - Interpreting old photographs, a guide to dating them from clothing and style, bring your own old photos to the free workshop afterwards.
  • Thursday 26th March 2015 - Settlement Papers with Robert Jago New Lecture - Between the reigns of Charles II and William IV, the records generated by the Settlement Laws can provide unique insight into the lives of our ancestors.
  • Thursday 16th April 2015 - Recent Discoveries in the Deverills with Dorothy Treasure New Lecture - Dorothy explores the historic buildings of the Deverills in the south of our county, using documents, maps and photographs from the archives.
  • Thursday 30th April 2015 - Looking at a Village- learning from the Landscape with Mike Marshman - A guide to interpreting a typical Wiltshire village, Mike will help you unravel the past using local knowledge, maps and documents.

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).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




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 - LGBT History, a brief exploration of the history and changing arttitudes to LGBT individuals and groups in the UK.  

 Events and activities

 Author Talk: The Roman Panel

Ben Kane, Ruth Downie and M.C Scott

Join three inspirational, bestselling authors for an unforgettable evening of exploration into the Roman Empire. Inspired by the Romans, our expert panel have, between them, written more than twenty novels set in ancient times.

Tap into the breadth of their shared knowlegde, see real artefacts, ask questions and become inspired to research and write yourself. The Roman Panel is being held among the rich archives, linking up with the Archaeology team to deliver a great event.

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

When: Thursday 5 March, 7-8pm

Cost: Tickets £5

To book and pay in advance, T: 01249 705500 or E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Please note capacity is limited, so early booking is advised.


Please keep checking here for future events and activities.