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Programme for 2018

Our monthly meetings from 7 till 9pm usually take the form of a talk or film lasting about an hour, then the slightly more formal business of the group followed by complimentary tea, coffee & biscuits.

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 remaining tour dates for 2018 are:- Saturday 1st December and Sunday 2nd December. The tours start from the Designer Outlet Reception Desk adjacent to Pizza Express at 11am. If your club or association is visiting STEAM the Museum of the Great Western Railway or the Designer Outlet we can arrange to incorporate our tour into your day so please contact us for further details.

It is essential to book a tour so please email



 31st January 7 to 8pm

The Magic & Mystery of Glen Miller
Bill King

The wartime success and the mysterious disappearance of the famous bandleader.

28th February 7 to 8pm

The Western Front Today
Ken Ivie

The presentation is a collection of photographs and posters detailing the memorials and monuments to all those who fought on the Western Front 1914-1918.  Included in the presentation is a brief family history and a short account of the formation of the Irish Divisions who fought in that Ypres Salient. 

28th March 7 to 8pm

John Dymond
John takes you through the rise and demise of the village of Snap

25th April

The Big Freeze of 1963 Remembered & Snowdrift at Bleath Hill
Gordon Shaw – Secretary

If you thought the “Beast from the East” was bad look at these two films. One from the BBC in 1963 looking back on that winter and the other shows a locomotive stranded in a snowdrift in 1955 and the efforts to free it.

30th May

Age of the Train-The Pain Train & English Harvest
Gordon Shaw – Secretary

Two contrasting films; the first a BR staff training film showing how minor delays along a journey can have a major effect and the second showing how the harvest  was gathered in in 1938.

27th June

Yesterdy’s Childhood
Bill King

An examinationof how the concept of “Childhood” has developed as a seperate phase in recognizing the passage of a young human being from infancy to adulthood. With examples of the toys, games and pastimes from Victorian times to the present day.

25th July

150 years of London Underground
Gordon Shaw – Secretary

This BBC film shown on the 150th Anniversay of the Undergound shows how London desperate for some form of transport to alleviate the terrible traffic conditions in London’s streets went underground for a solution.

29th August

A Potpurri of Films – Trams, Nurses, Lacarno & a Mechanical Horse
Gordon Shaw – Secretary

Four films showing the history of Swindon’s tram network, the history of the Lacarno (Corn Exchange), life of a District Nurse in 1942 and a form of transport for conveying goods that was a familiar site in Swindon Works and the station forecourt.

26th September

Civil Defence in Swindon During the Wartime & Austerity Years
Julie Davis

This talk is about Swindon’s wartime British restaurants and Civil Defence in the town in the post war period. I also mention other things to do with Swindon in wartime and showing the Lodgings Restriction Order of 1940 and the arrival of the US troops etc.

31st October

The Poppy – A Symbol of Remembrence
Bill King

This Talk explains how, following the Great War of 1914-18 , the Poppy came to be recognized and adopted as the symbol of Remembrance for those who died. The poppy is now seen as the symbol of Remembrance for all those who have died in conflicts through to the present day.

28th November

The House
Paul Wilkins

This talk explores the world of the Highworth & Swindon Poor Law Union Workhouse during the 19th century. It’s early years, what life as an “inmate” was really like, and examines the treatment of its children.


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