In 1986 the BBC launched an ambitious project to record a snapshot of everyday life across the UK for future generations.
Twenty five years on, you can explore the archive online, see the pictures, update the information and make your mark on this fascinating record of our collective history.
The BBC split the country into small blocks and a million volunteers, including many from Swindon, submitted text and images documenting everyday life in these areas.
Not only was the scale of the project hugely ambitious, the attempt to use break-through digital technology to make it accessible was equally so. However the specially invented laser-disc system was expensive and soon became obsolete.
Very few people ever got to see the fruits of their hard work, but, in our internet age, the Domesday Project material has been salvaged before the equipment became unusable and is now available to view on the BBC Domesday Reloaded web site.
Claire Lawton from Shaw was 9 at the time and contributed her views to a Domesday class project at Lydiard Millicent Church of England Primary School which studied the original Domesday book and asked children to write about their lives at the time.
In 1986, Shaw consisted of a string of houses along Old Shaw Lane which was slowly being consumed by the westward expansion of Swindon. She lived in Washpool where the evidence of new build was still some months away and she is pictured above enjoying the smooth surface of Swinley Drive, a brand new road close to her home, before it opened to traffic. For her class contribution, which was chosen to for publication in the 1986 Domesday project, she wrote:
"I like it in some ways but not in others. When the new houses come near us there will be more people to play with but I liked going into the field next to us where there is a stream, soon I won’t be able to go in. But it will be a while before the builder reaches us so I might as well make the most of the time I’ve got."
Clare, now 35, continues to live in the Swindon area, in an older house close to the town centre. Now a part time physiotherapist at a hospital in Oxford, she also teaches pilots in Marlborough. "I remember learning about the Domesday Book and being really excited about the idea that we were looking back hundreds of years. It was inspiring that we were being asked to write about our lives and our surroundings and it might be chosen to kept for the future by the BBC.
"I don’t think I was ever told that my writing had been chosen, and we never saw the BBC Domesday project, so it was a huge surprise when a friend called to say that The Link wanted to get in touch because my name had appeared online on the Domesday website.
"Swindon has seen some amazing changes in the last 25 years. I remember the road through Shaw was still the main route into the town from my home, and there wasn’t a gate at Nine Elms blocking the direct route. I do miss the green fields around my parent’s home.
See the contributions about Swindon and send in updates via http://bbc.in/domesdayswindon
In 1986 SJ Badcott, wrote:
The Link Centre is the new ice rink and sports centre built to serve the West Swindon Expansion. The centre contains a swimming pool (half Olympic size), arts studio, bar, sports hall, health suite, library, squash courts and community suite but the main feature of the complex is the ice rink.
Up to 800 people can skate at one time and there are 2000 pairs of skates for hire. 1000 spectators can watch ice shows and ice hockey from the viewing area and parking is provided for over 1400 cars.
Local people are generally pleased with their new centre, which cost 11 million pounds to build but most of the pipework is exposed (there are 8 miles under the ice alone) giving the building an appearance rather like a "Meccano set".
Pictured above, Link Centre, before Shaw Ridge Leisure Park was built
SwindonLink has submitted this update to Domesday Reloaded
Link Centre celebrated its twenty-fifth year in 2010, having been named by the local community publication, The Link magazine. The building continues to be the major local sports centre for Swindon and also a major regional recreational attraction. It has the only ice rink for 50 miles, a large sports hall, a huge climbing wall, 25m swimming pool and a suite of community rooms. Originally built with an Arts Studion, the space has been converted into a gym on two levels. To extend the centre’s life for another twenty five years a new roof is to be installed later in 2010.
Link Centre celebrated its twenty-fifth year in 2010 and continues to be the major local sports centre for Swindon and also a major regional recreational attraction. To extend the centre’s life for another twenty five years a new roof is to be installed later in 2010.