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Barry Writes

The Empire Theatre, which opened its doors for the first time in 1898 as The New Queen’s Theatre

Blast from past for Empire demolisher

Phil King, 78, pictured earlier this month in the studio he concocted at his Pinehurst home with “bits of junk and scrap” and where he painted countless scenes of what he likes to refer to as Old Swindon

Phil has a proper brush with history, says Barry Leighton

In 1991 Toothill School in Swindon undertook a project to trace the history of Snap which included laying a memorial stone where the hamlet once stood

Village vanished in a Snap, says Barry Leighton

The old redbrick market was demolished in 1977 (photo courtesy of Andy Binks/Swindon Society)

Bring out your wrecking ball

Photographed against the backdrop of Avebury Church in 1984

He really was our history man, says Barry Leighton

Forever Imber campaigners arrive in the village led by a tractor 54 years ago

Barry Leighton uncovers the village they will never let die

Festive fairytale from the brothers grim

Barry Leighton tells a festive fairytale from the brothers grim

Mummers’ the word, says Barry Leighton

Mummers’ the word, says Barry Leighton

Collingbourne Ducis 2009 lads enjoy their buns

Festive traditions that never die out

Paul Griffiths

He was a friend of mine...

An artful juxtaposition of the old and the new as Chiseldon’s re-built windmill is reflected against a glass facade at the Windmill Hill Business Park. Photo: Bryan Davies

How Chiseldon Windmill became business park centrepiece

One of three cellars rediscovered during building work in Cricklade Street in 2007

Tales of the underground - Swindon's smuggling network?

60ft glass dome looked like a vast, gleaming, semi-spherical  spaceship being built

Barry Leighton goes under the Dome at Swindon's Oasis

Experts became excited by the springs but as far as local residents David Large, left, and David Hillier were concerned it is just a “smelly old bog”

It’s mud, mud, inglorious mud, says Barry Leighton

A thatcher making repairs to The Old Thatch, probably in the 1950s.

Putting a roof over our heads

Witches being hanged

A spell-binding tale of witches, by Barry Leighton

Richard Street, 21, and his dog Ziggy are cheered home at the County Ground

A marathon effort all round, says Barry Leighton

Swindon Council's chief executive Paul Doherty

Big ideas? That’s nothing new, says Barry Leighton

Swindon’s acting education officer Keith Smith, the Mayor Dave Cox, Town Crier Fred Ferris and Andrew Nye, chair Primary Heads Association at the unveiling of the blue plaque in 2002

OK... who broke the old school stone? Barry Leighton investigates

Bradenstoke Priory

Heartless tycoon tears down our priory to revamp his Welsh castle, says Barry Leighton

Hippy king Sid Rawle with the Revs John Packer and John Wade at the festival's make shift church

Just avert your eyes, Mabel, says Barry Leighton

The sounds of Simon in Swindon

The sounds of Simon in Swindon

Early Seventies festival favourites Hawkwind were among the main acts to perform at Watchfield

Barry Leighton remembers a free festival of booze, boobs and a fair few bobbies

Battling Joan was having none of it

Joan was a true fighter battling to save Swindon's museum

Harry Carleton Attwood with his Golden Lion in February 1978

Swindon sculptor Carleton Attwood was an artist and a gentleman...

The Vulcan

Farewell to our very own Delta Lady

Eccentric Gerald Hugh Tyrwhitt-Wilson, 14th Baron Berners

A eccentric's dalliance with the great Dali

Angela Cradwell - miners strike

Barry Leighton recalls the remarkable Ms Gradwell

STEAM OPENSPIC BY SMJ14/6/00 (27948895)

Steaming up to the Smoke...

Pete Devlin

Truant turned good ole boy from Old Town to Texas

Mick Kight drums for The Humans at The Affair, Swindon, in 1978

Still setting those little goals - how Micky Kight is fighting back

Lechlade rave

Rave on you crazy people - BARRY LEIGHTON recalls Beltane festival turning into chaos

The Poll Tax demonstration at the Civic Offices in 1990

I predict a riot... the day Swindon's council chamber erupted in anger

Dave Gregory

Barry Leighton turns... A Whiter shade of Dave

Bull baiting

Barry Leighton talks about: This very unsporting life

n Above: Williams’ biographer Leonard Clark wrote: “Dante’s imaginative representation of hell is no more horrible than Williams’ description of the Swindon Railway Works.”

Barry Leighton looks at Toil... and death... in The Works

INTO the valley of Death rode the 600… including future High Sheriff of Wiltshire Clement Walker Heneage. He was among the 8th Hussars which cut through Russian positions “with fearful loss” during the Charge of the Light Brigade in 1854.

Barry Leighton reveals the stories behind our VC heroes

Sporting an  impressive bushel of facial fuzz, Ian as he is today

Hamming it up with The Hamsters - a look at the career of legendary rock 'n' roller Ian Doeser

Archaeologist Tom Sykes is pictured here in an Auxiliary bunker. It is believed that hundreds of underground Auxiliary bolt-holes still exist undetected around the country, many of which will never be found

Memories of Swindon's secret army

Warminster Thing this “unidentified flying object,” looking very much like a film prop, is examined in a field at Elm Tree Farm, Chippenham by Chief Inspector Frank Dummett, Sgt Tony Richens and RAF flying officer David Pepper in September, 1967

Is it a bird... is it a plane... or is it a UFO?

Greetings from Swindon… the junction initially known as The Experiment At The County Island Roundabout has adorned many a Swindon postcard as well as calendars, key-rings and t-shirts

Our fame has spread in a roundabout way

The first houses on land adjoining Coate Water Country Park are now being built

End of a hard-fought battle for Coate Water

Almost three years after he was forced to leave, Ken King returned to his old manor in the summer of 1993 with an alleged cheque for £1m in a doomed bid to buy it back

When Ken was King of the castle

Ricky Porter

Stone Me! When Rick helped Mick

Heavy bronze mounted French black slate click with rusty steel pillars is similar to the one recently acquired by Swindon Town fan Martin Thomas

Swindon football fan clocks up an antique

This stunning abstract called Action by painter/philosopher George Melhuish (1916-1985) was a bequest to the Swindon Collection in the year of his death. It is one of several works by this artist in the much admired collection which also boasts Henry Mo

Home is where the art is

King of Limbs is more than 1,000 years old.                                 Pictures courtesy of the Forestry Commission

Folklore of the forest

Smiling, as usual, the late Dominic Winter, well known to viewers of TV’s Antiques Roadshow, displays another historic volume set to go under the hammer at his auction-house

Happy days down at Dominic’s

Ronnie Wood leaving Swindon's Princess Margaret Hospital

Did YOU see the Stones at McIlroy’s?

n History lecturer Martin Thomas with the Peter Chambers Clock which he found on eBay and acquired in Accrington

What a clock-watcher

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