Monday, January 9, 2012

Swindon Central Library celebrates

There should be champagne corks popping at Swindon Central Library today where the innovative free online image gallery has just notched up 2 million page views.

The project was launched on June 22, 2009 with images from the local studies collection of photographs and ephemera.  And before long library visitors were bringing their own photographs to be scanned and added to the online collection.  Today the archive contains some 6,000 images.

Among the photographs of local people and Swindon dignitaries is one of the last Lord of the Manor, Fitzroy Pleydell Goddard pictured here with his pet parrot at his home The Lawn.

Images of Swindon suffragette Edith New (back row, left) include a photograph taken with members of the Women’s Social and Political Union in prison uniform and newspaper coverage of her attack on 10 Downing Street.



Taken at the top of Victoria Street, could this be the oldest Swindon street scene?  The Swindon Advertiser building is on the right while the building materials to the left of the photograph indicate work had begun on the Congregational Chapel built on the corner of Victoria Street (later renamed Victoria Road) and Bath Road in 1866.


For some quirky views of Swindon in the 1950s check out the Man With A Stick series of Ordnance Survey photographs.


Other images include a poster announcement of a Penny Reading to be held at the Town Hall on Monday October 31, 1864.  Tickets in the body of the hall cost 1d while reserved seats cost 3d with ‘Free Tickets (as usual) for Working Men & Their Wives.’

Local businesses advertising in Astill’s Almanack & Trade Register of Swindon include Harry Walters ‘The Hatter and Hosier’ 23 Wood Street where his entire stock was ‘unusually cheap.’

The gallery is easy to navigate and can be searched by date or keyword with images tagged to help you find others in common.  To start viewing, log on to www.flickr.com/photos/swindonlocal.  Check out the library’s facebook page – Swindon Local Studies & Family History Collection.  Twitter fans can send them a tweet on SwindonLibrary.

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