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  • History Of Rodbourne (1)
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Programme for 2017

Our monthly meetings usually take the form of a talk lasting about an hour followed by tea & coffee, then the slightly more formal business of the group, quizzes and other activities.  They start at 7pm and finish about 9pm.

GWR Factory Tours

This year we continue our popular free tour of the buildings still standing of the ex GWR Works. The tour takes in the listed Joseph Armstrong buildings of the Designer Outlet and others on the old factory site including STEAM –  Museum of the Great Western Railway, The Managers Office, the Chain Test shop and the ex Drawing and Administrative offices now Historic England’s National Monuments Records building. You are taken around the site by ex employee Ron Johnson who worked “inside” for 30 years from the age of 16. His anecdotes and stories paint an amusing and sometimes frightening account of life in the factory. The tours start from the Designer Outlet Reception Desk adjacent to Pizza Express at 11am.

To book a tour please email

Talks (Part Complete)

 25th January 7 to 8pm

Of  Copper & Kings & Off the Rails
Gordon Shaw – Secretary

With two videos Gordon illustrates the time up to and during the closure of Swindon Works. These with interviews with the workers and guide tours of the works at the time show the impact on Swindon of the closure and the skills lost.

22nd February 7 to 8pm

The Cravens &Ashdown House
John Farrow

Ashdown House is a seventeenth century Hunting Lodge built on the Berkshire Downs about 8 miles east of Swindon.  It is situated in woodland near Ashbury off the B4000 Shrivenham to Lambourn road.  It was originally built for William Craven junior who was one of the leaders of the British contingent in the Thirty Years War.  Whilst based in the Hague he met and became very friendly with Charles I’s sister Elizabeth, also known as the Winter Queen as she was Queen of Bohemia for one winter.  They returned to London after the Restoration in 1660 and legend has it that William built Ashdown House to allow her to retreat from the plague in London.    

29th March 7 to 8pm

Swindon Through the Years – 1985
Gordon Shaw – Secretary
Gordon presents videos of five programmes originally shown on Swindon Cable and now narrated by Paul Langcaster, a producer of the programmes at the time. They show different locations around Swindon made by the first cable television network in Europe. It’s fascinating to see the localities and how some of them have changed.

26th April 7 to 8pm




Members £1 : Guests £2
(Includes refreshments)
at Even Swindon Community Centre, Jennings Street. Click here for map.


Gordon Shaw – Secretary
For further information phone 01793 616558  or email


visits since 9 March 2009