Know Your Place coming to Chippenham

on Wednesday, 22 February 2017.

6th March – 28th April at the  Yelde Hall

A cutting edge display is coming to Chippenham as the final stop on a tour of 12 venues across the West of England.

It features images from archives, museums and heritage collections from across the West (including us at the History Centre) and gives a unique insight into the history of the places where we live, work and visit.

It will be on display in the Yelde Hall, Chippenham from 6th March – 28th April alongside objects that explore the long history of Chippenham’s medieval Yelde Hall.

The exhibition is part of ‘Know Your Place – West of England’ digital mapping project supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

We’ll be posting about some of the stories from the exhibition on our social media channels throughout the period of the exhibition, so keep an eye on our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more.

We’re also hosting a FREE maps workshop on Saturday 10 June called ‘Know Your Place: Putting Wiltshire on the Map’. Claire Skinner will help you find out more about using maps for local history and also demonstrate how you can contribute their knowledge of local heritage to the Know Your Place West of England website. Book your place now on 01249 705500.

For anyone interested, there will also be a walking tour of Chippenham at 2 pm the same day led by Chippenham Museum and Heritage Centre which will be advertised in due course at: A cost may apply for the walk.

Documents Temporarily Unavailable

on Tuesday, 31 January 2017.

* UPDATE 13 Feb 2017. The documents are now available again as normal.

We apologise that due to faulty shelving, document references 348 through to 628/29/5 are currently unavailable. This includes some large and popular collections so please ensure you double check your document references before travelling to see us.

The collections affected include (not a comprehensive list):

348 Society of Genealogists

374 Mullings, Ellett & Co. Solicitors of Cirencester.

383 Stourhead

413 Benett of Pythouse, Tetbury

415 Keary, Stokes and White. Solicitors of Chippenham

445 Sir Michael Peto

451 Salisbury Diocesan Registry

473 Goldney of Chippenham

490 Earl of Radnor

540 Phipps Family of Leighton and Chalcot in Westbury

574 Awdry, Douglas, and Bailey

628 Farnfield and Nicholls. Solicitors of Warminster (unavailable up to ref 628/29/5)

An engineer has been informed and we will make the material available again as soon as possible. Apologies for any inconvenience.

Announcing the launch of Touring Digital Exhibition to help you Know Your Place

on Thursday, 10 November 2016.

Have you ever wondered what makes a place the way it is now? Or wished you could travel back in time and discover how an area has changed?

KYPexplore is a cutting-edge digital exhibition which will tour across the West of England giving an insight into the history of the places where we live, work and visit every day.


For the first time in one place, the stories of the people who lived and worked in the varied landscapes of the West of England will be told together – from Miners in Radstock to Peat-cutters in the Somerset levels, Moonrakers of Devizes to Foresters in the Forest of Dean. Historic and modern photos of familiar landscapes will show how places have transformed over time and where they have changed little.

The exhibition innovatively combines graphic panels, touchscreens and an online WebApp to feature extraordinary digital material from archives, museums and heritage collections across the West of England. The exhibition has been curated in collaboration with 24 different organisations to select and display digital images, audio and film on a unique online platform.

The exhibition consists of four identical displays touring simultaneously across the region, allowing it to visit 12 venues across six counties during the six months between November 2016 and April 2017. The exhibition will visit a range of museums, libraries and community spaces across the West of England, including: Bradley Stoke Library in South Gloucestershire, Salisbury Cathedral in Wiltshire, Dean Heritage Centre in Gloucestershire, Radstock Museum in Bath & NE Somerset, Weston Town Hall in North Somerset and The Bishops Palace in Somerset. The full list of venues can be found on the project website.

The exhibition opens this week at its first four venues: The Glass Box at Taunton Library, Taunton; Bath Central Library, Bath; STEAM Museum, Swindon; and Clifton Suspension Bridge Visitor Centre, Bristol; and will be accompanied by a programme of public events to be announced shortly.

Exhibition at Taunton Library

The exhibition is available online and can be viewed from any smartphone or connected device, making it accessible to those who cannot visit it in person, and available for audiences to revisit again and again at a time that suits them. Visit the exhibition online.

This exhibition is part of Know Your Place – West of England, the digital mapping project to share your neighbourhood’s heritage online through old maps, historic images and heritage data. The Know Your Place platform recently extended to map Wiltshire, Bath & NE Somerset and Gloucestershire, and work is underway to map North Somerset and Somerset in spring 2017. The project is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). To start exploring Know Your Place, visit the project’s website.

Felicia Davies, Project Officer, Know Your Place - West of England, said: “This exhibition is unique in its ambition, geographical spread, use of digital technology and fantastic partnership with many museums, libraries and archives across the area. We hope the rich and varied stories in the exhibition will help visitors make the connection with their own local heritage and inspire them to explore this further on the Know Your Place digital mapping resource.”

Nerys Watts, Head of HLF South West, said: “From ensuring information held in centuries-old maps is saved for future generations, to making the changing face of our region accessible at the click of a button,  Know Your Place is a fantastic partnership of organisations, communities and volunteers. Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players we’re delighted to support this project which is quite literally putting the West of England’s heritage on the map.”

The Know Your Place West of England project was awarded £379,800 by HLF, 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.

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

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