Swindon history experts write West Swindon chronicle

By Barrie Hudson - 6 November 2023

Arts and Culture
  • From left: Frances Bevan, Angela Atkinson and Roger Ogle

    From left: Frances Bevan, Angela Atkinson and Roger Ogle

Authors Angela Atkinson, Frances Bevan and Roger Ogle have collaborated on a book all about West Swindon, where all three live.

It began as a small-scale project between Angela and Roger, chronicling a number of the interesting buildings in the Western Expansion – with mention of those that no longer exist. 

However, it was soon obvious that there was so much more to tell about the area, and the pair decided to bring in local historian Frances Bevan.  

Angela said: "Realising that, to do West Swindon proper justice, the stories of Lydiard House, its farms and St Mary’s church had to be amongst the material included in the book. 

"Involving Frances Bevan was simply a no-brainer, thanks to the painstaking research and writing she’s already done. Otherwisewe’d have been re-inventing the wheel."

The authors say is is quite a common perception that West Swindon is a soulless, urban conurbation offering nothing very much, by-passed to access the M4. Yet as the book reveals, there’s rich history there. Indeed, the story stretches way back before the modern development, and before the St. John family hunted the parkland around our much-loved Lydiard House. The Romans lived and died – and made bricks - in this area.

The authors have woven a rich tapestry of West Swindon from its Roman beginnings through to the how and why of the western expansion, the name of the area almost 50 years ago as the first residents arrived. 

Forming part of the tapestry’s pattern are public art and open spaces, ancient hedgerows and the selection of street names, all rounded off with a focus on some of the more striking and interesting 20th century buildings that West Swindon boasts. The book is also richly illustrated with interesting, and some rarely seen, photographs.
Published by Hobnob Press, the book retails at £14.95. People can find it at Bert’s Books in Swindon’s Old Town, the central library shop in the town centre, Waterstone’s in Swindon and the Hobnob Press website at: https://www.hobnobpress.co.uk/books/p/west-swindon-what-the-eye-doesnt-see-by-angela-atkinson-frances-bevan-and-roger-ogle

The authors are launching the book at the Village Inn in Shaw Village Centre, West Swindon, on Tuesday 14 November from 6pm to 9pm, and offering the book at a special launch offer price of £13. 

They are also going to do a couple of promotional events at the West Swindon Centre but dates for those are yet to be confirmed. 

For purchasers living in West Swindon, the authors will deliver the book to you free of charge. For those further afield there is a £2 P&P charge. 



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