Talks and Lectures by Archives and Local Studies Staff

We have some experienced speakers who are able to talk to societies and groups at both day time and evening meetings. Talks normally last between 50 and 90 minutes.  If you would like to book a speaker for one of the talks listed below please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or telephone 01249 705500. We do have to limit each organisation to one talk per year owing to the number of requests we get from the many groups in the county.

Cost: £50 payable to Wiltshire Council. Increasing to £75 from 1st April 2020.

General talks and talks about Wiltshire history

  • Collections and Services at Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre
  • Black Presence in Wiltshire History
  • Some Extraordinary Wiltshire Women
  • More Extraordinary Wiltshire Women
  • Women Portrayed in the Lacock Archive
  • Wiltshire Women in the First World War
  • Crime and Punishment in Wiltshire History
  • The Old Poor Law 1600 – 1833
  • The New Poor Law Post 1834
  • Horrible and Unusual Wiltshire History
  • A Wiltshire Christmas
  • Tying the Knot: Marriage Customs in Wiltshire in the 16th & 17th centuries
  • Stories from the Lacock Archives
  • Wiltshire & Swindon’s Rotten Boroughs
  • Wiltshire Pastimes: an Historical Look at Sport and Recreation
  • Changing Times: the Impact of Total War on Wiltshire 1939-1955
  • Votes for Women - and Men!
  • John Aubrey: Wiltshire’s first ‘trowel blazer’ (a fascinating personality living in turbulent times)
  • Wiltshire Folklore
  • Catsbrain, Breakheart and Labour-in-vain: The Hidden History of Wiltshire Place Names

Sources for Local and Family History

  • What’s in the Paper? Local Newspapers in the 18th and 19th centuries – the mundane, the curious and the trivial
  • Census Records and Their Uses for Family Historians
  • Understanding Title Deeds
  • Education Records
  • To the Manor Born – Manorial Records Explained
  • Minding Your Ancestor’s Business – Commercial and Business Records
  • Using Parish Registers
  • Probate Records
  • Churchwardens’ Accounts
  • Records from Hospitals and Asylums
  • Signed, Sealed and Delivered – a Look at Seals
  • Know Your Place: Maps for Local and Family History
  • Poor Law Settlement Papers 
  • Keeping on the Straight and Narrow: Church Court Records of the 16th & 17th Centuries
  • Resources for Researching World War I

Skills for Local and Family History

  • Starting Out in Family History
  • Latin for Family Historians
  • Latin for Local Historians
  • Do’s and Don’ts of Family History on the Internet
  • Reading 16th and 17th Century Handwriting
  • Medieval Palaeography
  • Dating and Preserving Old Photographs

Any of the above talks are available for a fee of £50.00 (inclusive of travel) for day time and evenings Monday to Friday. Fees for Saturday/Sunday by negotiation. The fee will increase to £75 from 1 April 2020.

In addition we are happy to provide tours of Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre during our opening times in return for a donation to Wiltshire Council. Please see for our up to date opening times.




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