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

Author's Talks

Talks and lectures



Events and Activities


Author's Talks

Wednesday 9th September at 7:30pm - Wellington, the Wellesleys and the Draycot Estate in Wiltshire - Local historian Tim Couzens describes Draycot House, the Draycot Estate in the villages to the north east of Chippenham and their association with the Wellesley Family. Admission £3.50     -    Tickets from the History Centre on 01249 705500/This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view



Thursday 10th September 2015 Dame Hilary Mantel is visiting the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre to look at documents concerning the Seymour family and letters written by Thomas Cromwell that are held in the Archives here. She has very kindly agreed to give an evening talk at the Centre starting at 6.30 p.m. to help raise funds towards the purchase of archives. The audience is limited to 100 people, tickets at £10.00 each are now on sale; please telephone 01249 705500 (payment by debit or credit card) or visit the History Centre 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 and is also due to play on Broadway, New York.


Talks and Lectures 

Talks begin at 2.15 pm. Admission £3.50.  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). 


  • Thursday 3rd September 2015 - Women Portrayed in the Lacock Archive with Ally McConnell - A delve into the recently catalogued Lacock collection, to see the representations of women throughout the centuries.
  • Thursday 17th Septemeber 2015 - The Story of Butter, Milk & Ham in Chippenham from 1600-1936 with Mike Stone - Another fascinating insight into the trade and industry of Chippenham with this popular local author and historian.
  • Thursday 1st October 2015 - Stonehenge & Avebury World Heritage Sites; managing their Outstanding Universal Values with Sarah Simmonds - A comprehensive look at our most popular and important archaeological assets; how thse sites are presented to the public and ongoing research into their past.
  • Thursday 15th October 2015 - Victory 1945: The Aftermath with Julie Davis - With VE Day and VJ Day over, what were the social consequences of total war for the county & what changes did they bring for Wiltshire people in post-war Britain.
  • Thursday 29th October - The Longbow: Its history and use in English battle with Gill Neal - Marking the 600th anniversary of Agincourt, Gill tells the tale of this effective weapon of mass destruction.



Colerne Records and Landscape Interpretation - Monday 21 September

A course examining archival and documentary sources, with an emphasis on looking at village evolution and development, and street and building history in the Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre at Chippenham, followed by a landscape interpretation walk in the village of Colerne.

9:15 Course registration (History Centre will be open at 9.00)

9:30 Work with published sources, documents, wills and inventories, maps, photographs and aerial photographs.

1:00 Lunch - please bring your own but drinks are available via vending machines.

1:30 Leave for Colerne (own transport).

2:00 Assemble at Colerne Church for an interpretive walk around the village and its environs and a detailed look at some of the buildings

4:30 Finish

Cost of course £15.00; tickets available from Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre, Cocklebury Road, Chippenham, SN15 3QN (Tel. 01249 705500). Limited to 20 people.





 Events and activities

LACOCK UNLOCKED SHOWCASE EVENT - Sunday 20th September 1-4pm

Join us for a celebration of the Lacock Unlocked project at Manger Barn, Lacock

Exhibition about the Lacock archive

- Voices and images, old and new, from the local Lacock Community

- Modern images of Lacock from community photography activities

- Lacock Unlocked App demonstration

- Website, including community archive

- 3 years of Lacock Unlocked

We will be giving a quick introduction and thanking all our volunteers and participants at 2pm.

HISTORY CENTRE OPEN DAY - Saturday 31 October 9:30am-4pm

Join us for a free day out and discover all aspects of local and family history. You have lived through history and stand at the end of centuries of evolution and development of your community and your family. Explore ways of learning more about this from our many experts.

Attractions will include:

- Showings of old ciné films and modern local history presentations

- Mini lectures from Heritage professionals

- Treasure hunts and competitions

- Demonstrations of archive and object conservation

- Work of creative Wiltshire people

- Archaeology and displays and artefacts to handle

- Displays and stalls of local societies

- Old photographs

- Old maps and their uses

- Archives on church history

- How to research the history of your house

- How to research the history of your community

- Magna Carta exhibition

- Tours of strong rooms that hold documents dating back to 1148

The Heritage Café where you can purchase cakes, tea, coffee and squash lebration of the Lacock Unlocked project