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: 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!

Transforming Archives Traineeship

on Thursday, 04 June 2015.

Transforming Archives Traineeship (Collection Development and Community Outreach)

Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre, Chippenham
£14,500 salary

Are you
•    Confident in using IT?
•    Great at getting on with people?
•    Confident in talking in front of groups in an approachable way?
•    Passionate about learning new skills?
•    Enthusiastic about taking on new challenges?
•    Interested in the past?
•    Looking for a new career?

If so, we’re looking for a trainee with the potential to develop a new career in the archive sector. We want to build on your practical skills and experience in technology and show you the great opportunities that archives and their collections can offer.

Whether you’re looking for a change in direction or are just starting out in your career, this traineeship at Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre could be for you. Transforming Archives is an exciting Heritage Lottery Fund training programme that is being offered in partnership with The National Archives.  The programme has been specifically designed for people who may never have thought about a career in Britain’s archive sector.

You’ll spend a year working on real-life projects whilst learning specialist skills that will equip you for a career in the heritage sector.  You’ll be helping to bring the past to life for new audiences now and preserving it for generations to come. By the end of your traineeship you’ll have built a portfolio that demonstrates your learning and have valuable skills to offer the sector.

Apply online at

To find out more, go to

Closing date:  Monday 15 June 2015 at midnight.

New Lecture Programme - May to October

on Monday, 18 May 2015.

Our 16th programme of afternoon lectures at the History Centre has now begun with talks from Archives, Local Studies and Archaeology plus a guest speaker. Topics range from the popular return to 'Horrible and Curious Histories' to several new talks: 'Women in the Lacock Archives','Victory 1945: The Aftermath', 'The Longbow: Its History and Use in English Battle' amongst others.

For more details and the full events programme please visit:

By the end of the current programme we will have staged 178 of these lectures since the History Centre opened.

Alongside these lectures, there will also be three village interpretation days: we are reprising our two Lacock days from last year with Ally McConnell, Matthew Goodwin and Mike Marshman on 29th June and 6th July, and on 21st September Julie Davis and Mike Marshman will lead a new session for Colerne.

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