Showing posts from 2020

Glebe Farm and the Harris Factory

Glebe Farm is a grade II listedbuilding in the village of Stanton St. Quintin, which lies halfway between Chippenham and Malmesbury. The House is believed to be the oldest building in the village, possibly as early as 1582. Although work was done on the house in the 18 th and 19 th Centuries, enough of the original structure survives to make it an excellent example of early English vernacular architecture. Last year the owner of the house, Martin Robins, wrote to Calne Heritage Centre because he thought we would be interested to know that the wall around his front garden was built from stone reclaimed from the demolition of the C&T Harris factory in Calne. We have kept in touch since then and Martin sends us photos and snippets of information now and then.   Here is the story of Martin’s wall in his own words. “Originally in front of the house there was a natural stone wall constructed from ashlar [sawn block] stone about 2ft high. Sitting on the wall were railings but war-t

Support Calne Heritage Centre #ShopLocal

    For a trial period we’re offering an Order and Collect service for the following books: Calne District Solders On Sale £10 RRP £16 .99 Calne in Camera £5 Calne in Pictures £5 If you would like to order, please message us via our Facebook Page for collection information. Cash only. Collection by appointment after 5pm each evening. # ShopLocal      

An interview with Richard Cowdy, Sculptor

Richard Cowdy at his home in Calne. Photo Credit: Dee La Vardera. Even as I walk through the garden gate, I see sculptures that I recognise. Upon walking into the old Guthrie Juvenile School which Richard shares with his wife, Helen, I am taken aback by all the wonderful art on display. As we sit with friends, Richard pours the tea and I am already feeling enriched by the paintings and sculptures that envelope me.  Richard Cowdy, most famous for the animal sculptures on public display in Calne and Chippenham, was born in London. He worked at the Morris Singer Foundry for two years after graduating in sculpture at the Camberwell School of Art.  In 1973, Richard acquired the old Guthrie School for £3,600 before spending the next two years converting the building for both domestic and work purposes. When the foundry was operational, Richard, who used the lost wax method of casting his sculptures, would only use it at night as it required all of the windows to be open to let out the large

Research Request: "The Materiality, Memories and Material Culture of Princess Mary’s 1914 Christmas Gift to Soldiers and Sailors during the First World War"

Can you help with the following research? Hello, my name is Martin Barry. I am a PhD student from the University of Bristol researching ‘The Materiality, Memories and Material Culture of Princess Mary’s 1914 Christmas Gift to Soldiers and Sailors during the First World War’. These little embossed brass boxes were only given to those ‘wearing the King’s uniform on Christmas Day 1914’ and in all around 2.6 million were issued. They were packed individually into a cardboard box along with accompanying ‘comforts’ such as smoking pipes, tobacco, cigarettes, sweets for non-smokers and chocolate for nurses. Nothing was placed inside the brass box except either a flint and tinder cigarette lighter or a pencil made from a rifle bullet. This object is a powerful example of the material culture of the First World War and carries with it many significant biographies. Biographies that include memory, remembrance and commemoration. Some are empty reminders of a much-loved

New Novel 'The Thegn's Creed' by Sue Boddington

The anticipated new historical novel by Sue Boddington The Thegn’s Creed follows two brothers struggling to come to terms with the upheaval of their world and maintain their status as freemen, ten years are the Norman Conquest. Tragedy, deceit, vengeance, and romance are played out against a backdrop of 11th Century Wiltshire village life, still full of tension between Saxon and Norman. With all profits going to the Calne Heritage Centre , The Thegn’s Creed is available from Devizes Books and from Sue herself via or 01380 828851 for only £8.95

Calne Heritage Centre Closure

Calne Heritage Centre will be closed until further notice. We have taken this step to protect our volunteers, many of whom fall within the vulnerable category related to the coronavirus, due to age or medical conditions. However if you have a local history query with which we may be able to help, please contact us on or ring Sue Boddington on 01380 828851.