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Wiltshire libraries celebrate Local and Community History Month with events and exhibitions across the county

May is Local and Community History Month and Wiltshire Council is celebrating local history with an array of events and exhibitions at libraries across the county.

Published 29 April 2022

The aim of the month is to increase awareness of local history, promote history in general to the local community and to engage with the local community to help them discover how to find out more about and enjoy the county.

Events are running from Wednesday 4 May through to Friday 27 May 2022 and a full list of events  and booking information can be found on WSHC: events (opens new window).

Cllr Richard Clewer, Leader of Wiltshire Council said: "Whether it's your own family history or the history of our historic county, we have events taking place to interest everyone and plenty of chances to hear from local experts on some fascinating topics.

"The county of Wiltshire has played an important part in our nation's history since medieval times, as demonstrated by events and items still on display in Salisbury. The newly completed Domesday Book was first presented at Old Sarum in 1086 and Salisbury Cathedral contains the best preserved copy of Magna Carta. Produced in 1215, it is considered to be one of the most important legal documents in the world. The Cathedral also contains one of the world's oldest working clocks (there are claims it is the oldest), which is said to date back to 1386 and keeps time to an accuracy of 2 minutes a day.

"Understanding our history and how it has shaped our lives today can help us to become stronger and more cohesive communities today. I hope that people will take part in these events and enjoy discovering more about their past."  

Many libraries in Wiltshire and the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre in Chippenham have resources available to help you research your family history, including free access to various online services such as the British Newspaper Archive and Ancestry. Royal Wootton Bassett Library (Monday 16 May) and Calne Library (Thursday 26 May) will be holding introduction sessions on using Ancestry for family history research on the library computers.

We also have events to help you hone your research skills so you can delve into the history of your local area or your own house. You don't you need to live in an old house to research its history. Whether you're in a sixteenth century thatched cottage or a 1980s semi, there's a wealth of information waiting to be uncovered. Devizes Library (Wednesday 25 May) will be running a session to help you get started researching the history of your house and the people who called it home before you.

The British Newspaper Archive gives online access to millions of newspaper articles from the British Library newspaper collections including articles from the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries and we'll be showing you how to make the most of it at Salisbury (Wednesday 4 May), Warminster (Thursday 19 May) and Melksham (Friday 20 May) Libraries.

In addition to online resources we have lots of other resources available during Local History Month: come and delve into the posters and cuttings of Salisbury past with a look at Salisbury ephemera- a veritable feast of interesting bits and bobs for your delight at Salisbury library (Wednesday 18 May).

A full list of events and booking information can be found on WSHC: events (opens new window)

Events taking place in Wiltshire libraries during Local and Community History Month:

Date and timeLocationEventFee
Wednesday 4 May 2022, 2.30pm to 3.30pmSalisbury LibraryDiscover the British Newspaper ArchiveFree
Thursday 5 May 2022, 7pm to 8pmSalisbury LibraryFrogg Moody: Exploring Fisherton£3
Monday 9 May 2022, 7.15pm to 8.15pmBradford on Avon LibrarySarah Murray: The Hall: Bradford on Avon's Hidden Gem£3
Monday 9 May 2022, 7.15pm to 8.15pmMalmesbury LibraryJulie Davis: Wiltshire Folklore£3
Friday 13 May 2022, 5.30pm to 6.30pmCorsham LibraryJane Faulkner: In Search of Pudding Brook£3
Monday 16 May 2022, 10.30am to 12 noonRoyal Wootton Bassett LibraryKathryn Preston: Workshop: A Beginner's guide to using AncestryFree
Tuesday 17 May 2022, 2.30pm to 3.30pmDevizes LibraryAmy Hammett, Wiltshire Museum: Dementia friendly reminiscence session with old everyday objects from the pastFree dementia friendly session
Wednesday 18 May 2022, 2.30pm to 3.30pmSalisbury LibraryDiscover Salisbury EphemeraFree
Thursday 19 May 2022, 2.30pm to 3.30pmWarminster LibraryJohn Garland: Discover the British Newspaper ArchiveFree
Friday 20 May 2022, 2.30pm to 3.30pmMelksham LibraryKathryn Preston: Discover the British Newspaper ArchiveFree
Monday 23 May 2022, 10.30am to 11.30amCalne LibraryTom Rogers: The Pippins, Calne: The evolution of a medieval plot£3
Monday 23 May 2022, 2pm to 4pmTrowbridge LibraryIan Hicks: An Introduction to Palaeography£6
Wednesday 25 May 2022, 10.30am to 12.30pmDevizes LibraryJulie Davis and Max Parkin: How to research the history of your house£6
Thursday 26 May 2022, 9.30am to 10.30amSalisbury LibraryDiscover the British Newspaper ArchiveFree
Thursday 26 May 2022, 2.30pm to 3.30pmCalne LibraryJo Smith: A Beginner's Guide to Using AncestryFree
Friday 27 May 2022, 7.15pm to 8.15pmChippenham LibraryJulie Davis: Wiltshire Folklore£3
Tuesday 31 May - 2.30pm to 3.20pmN/AAmy Hammett, Wiltshire Museum: Children's local history activity (age guide 5 to 9 years), Discover Devizes throughout the agesFree

As well as talks there are also several exhibitions you can drop in to see.

Amesbury LibraryRoses School: A History
Bradford on Avon LibraryThe Hall: Portrait of a Country Estate between the wars
Calne LibraryCalne Town Centre Excavation
Chippenham Library1952 Chippenham
Corsham LibraryThe Flemish Weavers
Devizes LibraryPrison Life in Devizes
Marlborough LibraryCrime in Marlborough
Malmesbury LibraryLocal Folklore



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