Eye-Catching New Acquisitions!

on Friday, 11 September 2015.

We are very excited to announce that as part of the Creative Wiltshire & Swindon HLF funded Collecting Cultures Project we have been able to acquire some beautiful photographs from the talented wildlife photographer Nick Upton.

 Nick has lived in Box for 21 years and the photographs we have acquired can be seen as a record of his worldwide travels, and of Wiltshire’s flora and fauna. They are a fantastic record of the creativity of an individual working in our county, and we feel honoured to include them in our Wiltshire Print and Photograph Collection, stored safely for perpetuity with free access for all.

For more information about Nick, his work and our new acqusitions please visit the Creative Wiltshire & Swindon site at http://creativewiltshire.com/2015/09/09/eye-catching-acquisitions/

The project Creative Wiltshire & Swindon is proving a wonderful way to celebrate Nick’s work.

Changes to WSHC Search Room Layout - FAQs

on Wednesday, 09 September 2015.

What is changing?

Please see the plan for the proposed new lay out. The main change is that we are moving to one staffed help desk instead of two, which means we can no longer supervise two spaces permanently.

As a result we are moving the consultation of original archives, which need the most supervision, into the main search room area. In turn microform machines and computers are going into the room nearest the windows where there will be no permanent supervision. This space will also be used for groups such as volunteers and transcribers for part of each week, under temporary supervision.

Why are we making these changes?

Our staffing is changing – local government is under financial pressures to create smaller and more flexible teams to face modern challenges. The audience for archives is changing – fewer people are coming through the front door and more people are using us remotely. We therefore need to deploy our staff where they are most needed, and to ensure they have time off-desk to work on essential background tasks such as cataloguing which will enable more collections to be accessible long-term.

When are the changes happening?

26 September 2015 – we will be closed on this day while we move the furniture. We are very sorry for any inconvenience this may cause and thank you for your patience.

How can I give feedback about the proposed changes?

We are limited in what we can do by having a limited budget for these changes, and by having to work within an existing building and services (eg electricity, ICT cabling etc.) However if you have concerns about any proposed aspect of the changes, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or telephone Mike Marshman, Terry Bracher, or Claire Skinner on 01249 705500. Thank you.

Know Your Place West of England Update - Get Involved!

on Wednesday, 19 August 2015.

We’ve now completed the digitisation of Wiltshire’s tithe maps: ICAM, the firm undertaking the work, have photographed over 300 maps. The tithe maps will be joined on the Know Your Place website by Ordnance Survey 25” mapping for the county, supplied by the British Library. The OS mapping includes town plans for Bradford-on-Avon, Chippenham, Devizes, Salisbury, Swindon, Trowbridge and Warminster.

However, before the images can be uploaded onto the website, we need to do some preparatory work with them. And this is where you can get involved in the Know Your Place project.

This autumn we will be recruiting volunteers to undertake georeferencing work. Sounds interesting you say, but what is georeferencing? Put simply it is the process of assigning geographical coordinates to a map image; linking the historical information to its modern spatial location. This means the image is ‘spatially enabled’ – using geospatial tools it can be searched, interrogated and visualised alongside other maps images. If you’ve ever used mapping websites such as Googlemaps and moved around an area, zoomed in and out and toggled between a map layer and a satellite photo layer then you’ve used a geospatial tool and spatially enabled data.

Still sounds a bit technical? Don’t worry, we will be running a series of training sessions at various locations across the county towards the end of the year. Once trained, you can work on your own computer at home using free, open-source software. In the training we’ll show you how to download, set up and use the software and how to transfer the work to us once you’re finished.

If you love maps, want to look at change and continuity in a particular area in more detail, if you’re interested in developing your IT skills or would just like to contribute to Know Your Place then this is a volunteering opportunity not to be missed. Keep an eye on our Twitter feed and Facebook group for updates on volunteering training dates and to follow our progress.

Anne Lovejoy, Assistant Project Officer, Know Your Place – West of England

Twitter: @KYPWestEngland

Facebook: Know-Your-Place-West-of-England

For all general enquiries, or if you would like to register an interest in volunteering please email us This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

An Audience with Hilary Mantel

on Wednesday, 22 July 2015.


On 10th September this year Hilary Mantel has very kindly agreed to give an evening talk at the Centre starting at 6.30 p.m. This will take place in the Quiet Archives area, which will close at 4.30 p.m. on that day, and which will accommodate an audience of 100 people. Tickets at £10.00 each are now on sale; please telephone 01249 705500 (payment by debit or credit card) or visit us in Cocklebury Road, Chippenham, SN15 3QN.

Hilary is the two-time winner of the Man Booker Prize for her best-selling novels, Wolf Hall and its sequel, Bring Up the Bodies, which is an unprecedented achievement. Wolf Hall was the seat of the Seymour family in Savernake Forest and television viewers will also be aware that several Wiltshire locations were used in the BBC/Masterpiece six-part adaptation of the novels. The Royal Shakespeare Company has also adapted the books for the stage to great critical acclaim.



Know Your Place West of England

on Tuesday, 23 June 2015.

Know Your Place West of England is an extension to the very successful Know Your Place project run by Bristol City Council which gives on-line access to various historic maps and other records (See: http://www.bristol.gov.uk/page/planning-and-building-regulations/know-your-place) The project has been successful in acquiring Heritage Lottery Funding to extend the project to include Gloucestershire, South Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire. The project aims to provide wider access to historic maps – for Wiltshire this will be our tithe maps and Ordnance Survey maps. It will also provide a website for the public to be able to share their own information and images about their local area, if they would like to.

Long term the images will be available on-line via a GIS system. During the process of digitisation, from 1 July to the end of August 2015, some maps will be unavailable while they are photographed. We apologise that some tithe maps may be unavailable for a day or two while they are being digitised. It is advisable to pre-order tithe maps for the duration of the project to avoid disappointment – tel 01249 705500 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The written tithe awards are in the process of being transcribed with the kind help of Wiltshire Family History Society. The images of the maps will require further work to make them accessible on-line and we will be advertising a range of volunteer opportunities associated with this in due course. There will be a full programme of outreach and education activities with which people can get involved, so we will keep you posted!

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