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Monday, 27 February 2012

Visit to the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre on Friday 24th February at 2pm

About 10 members of the Friends gathered at the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre last Friday to have an informative guided tour.
What an amazing place it is; situated five minutes walk from the station in Chippenham, the History Centre is a gem.
It's literally a fabulous building, it cost 11 million to build, the same amount as our Central Library in Swindon has state of the art facilities, whether you are interested in researching family history, finding out more about the local area having relics analysed, or reading an old back copy of the Wilts and Herald Gazette.
Here's the notice board outside.
A close up of a Sarsen stone and a photo showing it in the context of the outside of the building.
We were given a very interesting insight into how old books and paper are restored, the oldest we saw was from the 14th Century. The artefact photographed above is a delightful seal, part of which was missing and has now been added very sympathetically.

And here below, photographed through
venetian blinds is the Highworth pot.
Above is an attempt at a photo of the etched horse that appears on every window on the outside of the building.
 And finally on the way back to the station, I took a photograph of the tree in the middle of the main road. Traffic passes on either side of the tree, that's not very clear from the photo, I needed to get two cars going in opposite directions.
 If you missed this trip, have a look on the website below to find out more, and treat yourself to a short trip on the train to get there.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

The Up to Date Programme of Talks and Trips for Spring 2012

The flyer Paul produced is wonderfully illustrated. I have cut and pasted it to put it here and 'lost' the pictures.
Friends of Swindon Museum & Art Gallery
Talks & Trips Spring 2012

24th February - 2.00pm
Visit to Wiltshire and Swindon
History Centre

There will be a talk, probably by Mike Marshman with a
guided tour of the centre’s resources, public search
rooms, the library area, the archeological department,
the old buildings record and a chance to see behind the
Maximum numbers = 20.
Please let Paul know if you want to come on the trip. *

30th March 7.30 pm
‘Parliament’s Pictures:
an insider’s guide to the
Parliamentary Art Collection’

by Edward Hodges Baily
A talk by Melanie Unwin, Deputy Curator Palace of
Westminster Collection will talk about one of the largest
collections of publicly owned art in the United Kingdom
with items that have been acquired at all stages of
Parliament’s existence. She will take you on a tour of
Parliament’s works of art, which includes historic and
contemporary paintings, sculpture, works on paper,
textiles and 3-D objects, and give an insight to its care
and management’.

30th April - 2.30 - 3.30 pm
A walk round the gallery
with Denys Hodson
Following his talk in November Denys Hodson, who was responsible
for many of the purchases of work in the Swindon Collection will
walk round the new exhibition -'They Take Art Seriously in Swindon'
and talk about some of the individual paintings in much greater
detail than time allowed during his previous talk. This is the
exhibition that was hung for the Duchess of Cornwall’s visit.
Maximum numbers = 20.
Please let Paul know if you would like to come. *

April 27th 7.30pm
Women in the GWR Works,
A talk by Rosa Mathieson
on the part played by women
in the GWR works, especially during wartime. This is
the subject of her latest book and is a follow up to the
very popular talk she gave to the Friends on Swindon
Trip week.

May 25th 7.30pm
Conservation of the Highworth

Beth Werrett will talk about her work at the Wiltshire
and Swindon History Centre on the conservation of the
Highworth Pot, which will be on display in the Museum
by May, and on the history of the pot with details of its
original usage, its recent discovery in Highworth and the
results of the analysis of the residue paid for by the

May 31st - 10.00 am
Visit to Kelmscott Manor

Kelmscott Manor, a grade 1 listed farmhouse adjacent to
the River Thames, built around 1600. William Morris
chose it as his summer home, signing a joint lease with
the Pre-Raphaelite painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti in the
summer of 1871. The house - perhaps the most evocative
of all the houses associated with Morris - contains an
outstanding collection of the possessions and works of
Morris, his family and associates (Benson, Burne-Jones,
Rossetti and Webb amongst them), including furniture,
original textiles, pictures, carpets, ceramics and metalwork.
We need to arrive at 10am, hopefully we can car share. We will gather at the local pub for lunch after the visit to Kelmscott Manor. The cost will be £10.50, please ring or email Paul if you would like to come on the trip. *

*To contact Paul by phone ring: 01672539688
or email him at: or
Phone the museum on 01793 466556 for info on tickets and access.
Tickets for talks will be available from the beginning of March.
Tickets from Swindon Museum and Art Gallery cost £4.50 (£3.50 for members of the Friends)
Note: There is a discount of 50p per ticket for buying three or more tickets either for the season or for a single talk.