Rewilding Britain & Wiltshire’s Wildlife Riches

on Wednesday, 02 November 2016.

Meet Multi award-winning Wiltshire based wildlife filmmaker and photographer Nick Upton at the Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre, Thursday 24 November, 7pm

Nick will present his recent stills work documenting a range of major UK conservation projects and Wiltshire’s wildlife riches. He’ll showcase Beaver, Crane, Pine marten, Water vole and Harvest mouse reintroductions nationally and Wiltshire’s stunning flower meadows, rare butterflies, bats and the return of the Great Bustard.

Nick, who worked with Sir David Attenborough and produced many films for the BBC and broadcasters worldwide, contributes photos and text to many books and magazines including BBC Wildlife, National Geographic and Wiltshire Life, and won the documentary category of the British Wildlife Photography Awards 2014 and 2016.

There will also be an opportunity to purchase card and print versions of Nick’s work.

The talk is free of charge and tickets are available by contacting This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 01249 705500. Booking is strongly advised. Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre, Cocklebury Road, Chippenham, SN15 3QN. Free parking available on site.

Some of Nick's work has been acquired by the HLF-funded Creative Wiltshire project - see:

Know Your Place West of England - putting Wiltshire on the map

on Tuesday, 11 October 2016.

For the first time, historical maps of Wiltshire are now freely available online thanks to the Know Your Place West of England project, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund. From Stonehenge to Swindon, Melksham to Malmesbury, Royal Wootton Bassett to Bradford-on-Avon – you can now discover how Wiltshire has transformed over time.

Know Your Place West of England is a free digital mapping resource that enables you to explore your neighbourhood online through old maps, archive images and linked information. The collaborative project is led by South Gloucestershire Council, working with key partners in Wiltshire including ourselves.

An impressive 2171 square miles coverage of Wiltshire have now been added to the online resource, allowing you to explore some of the most famous landmarks from the county’s heritage in great detail, from the stone circle at Avebury to the Great Western Railway Works in Swindon. Alongside historic maps supplied by the British Library and National Library Scotland, you can freely explore Historic Environment Record data from Wiltshire Council.

Know Your Place Wiltshire depicting Great Western Railway Works in Swindon

You will also be able to upload and share your own information about the area straight onto Know Your Place helping to build a rich and diverse community map of local heritage – helping build a valuable research tool for everyone; from school children to family historians, planners to enthusiasts of community heritage. But don’t just take our word for it. Here is what some users of Know Your Place in Bristol and South Gloucestershire have said about Know Your Place:

• “If you’re interested in local history you can’t beat this site.”

•  “I like the thousands of little windows it provides into the past; all based on specific identified places on the map. It is a wonderful tool for local history research.”

• “I love the layers of maps; it demonstrates so well how the area has grown and developed.”

• “It's free and infectious once you’re in you become absorbed; brilliant!”

More than 50 project volunteers are working hard to prepare further historic maps, which will be added onto Know Your Place Wiltshire over the coming months; and museums across the county are identifying items from their collections to appear in an upcoming touring exhibition that will visit STEAM in Swindon, Salisbury Cathedral and the Yelde Hall in Chippenham – all helping celebrate Wiltshire’s rich heritage.

Know Your Place Wiltshire depicting Westbury White Horse

The website will continue to grow as more resources, including Tithe maps, as well as drawings and photographs from archive and museum collections, are added. Other areas now mapped include Bath & North East Somerset, South Gloucestershire, Gloucestershire and Bristol. Over the coming months, the Know Your Place West of England project will extend to include the counties of Somerset and North Somerset too.

To start exploring Wiltshire’s maps and heritage information, visit the project’s website: The website also features an accompanying blog where you can follow the project’s progress.

Stuart Wheeler, Wiltshire Council cabinet member for heritage and arts, said: “We are delighted that Wiltshire and Swindon residents are now able to enjoy this exciting new resource for local history. We invite you to add your own images and information about your local area to the community layer. More information about Know Your Place will be available at the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre Open Day on Saturday 22 October – see for details.”

Nerys Watts, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund South West, said: “Know Your Place West of England will be a fantastic resource, bringing together the history of this area so people can discover the ever-changing make-up of the places where they live and work. If you have bought a National Lottery ticket recently, you have helped to support these types of projects that are preserving the precious heritage of our communities for future generations. Thank you.”

The Know Your Place West of England project was awarded £379,800 by the Heritage Lottery Fund, with generous match-funding and in-kind support from local authorities and heritage groups within the region, including £5,000 match-funding from lead partner South Gloucestershire Council and £10,000 from Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre, made possible due to a generous bequest from Miss Eunice Banks.

For more information and to view the map visit

Family Fun Open Day 2016

on Thursday, 29 September 2016.

Our 2016 open day is a family fun day themed "How do they do that?"! So come and get hands on with history at our FREE event!

Saturday 22 October 10 am - 4 pm.

Come and experience:

  • Flint knapping with Time Team's Phil Harding (from 12.00)
  • Visit a Barber Surgeon and find out about old cures and remedies
  • Find out about forging Sir Terry Pratchett's sword and learn about ancient metal tools and weapons with craftsman Hector Cole
  • Discover the world of historic Pelham Puppets
  • Identify bugs and X-ray images of curious objects
  • Learn how our archaeologists uncover the past
  • Find out about Victorian crime and an Edwardian disaster
  • Hear mini-talks by experts...


Behind the scenes in our strongrooms and conservation laboratories; 'Make and Take' children's activities; Exhibitions; Refreshments from our pop-up café.



Cushions and Cake - Wiltshire Family History Society AGM

on Tuesday, 20 September 2016.

Saturday 17th September 2016 saw the AGM of Wiltshire Family History Society at Bromham Village Social Centre. This also marked 35 years of the Society. Happy Birthday to WFHS! Over the years the Family History Society have been a great friend to the Wiltshire and Swindon Archives and have assisted in numerous ways including donations to purchase equipment such as our high specification overhead digital camera.


I went along on Saturday to speak on the future of the Archive Service, and in return was presented with three beautiful book cushions, generously donated by the Family History Society. Please see above photograph courtesy of Jerry King, showing the President of the Society, Mike Stone, presenting me with one of the cushions. The book cushions are designed to support the spine of fragile volumes and ensure they can be read without damaging the document. They are a helpful addition to our stock of cushions – thank you WFHS.

I also enjoyed some of the delicious Anniversary cake which was on offer (see my photo) – worthy of the Bake Off any day!

Claire Skinner, Principal Archivist

Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site Conference

on Thursday, 25 August 2016. Posted in Archaeology

You can book now for a place at a conference celebrating 30 years of World Heritage at Stonehenge and Avebury on Saturday 19th November 2016 at the Corn Exhange, Devizes.

Tickets are available through and Eventbrite.

You can download a PDF of the poster here

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