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Historic baptism records go under the hammer
GENEALOGISTS and local historians should head to the Town Auctions tomorrow to get their hands on an invaluable piece of Swindon history.
Two Swindon and District Wesleyan Methodist Baptism Registers will go on sale at the auction rooms in Signal Way at 10am.
The registers, one of which dates from 1856 to 1865 and another that is dated 1870 to 1880, are set to conjure up a huge amount of interest among those keen for further information they can use to trace their family history.
Town Auctions owner Craig Cook said: “These books date back to when the population of Swindon was minute and the people on the registers come from all over – Chiseldon, Marlborough, new Swindon, Wootton Bassett and Wroughton.
“It is really important for genealogists and those putting together their family tree.
“Hopefully a lot of people will be interested in the lot – I am sure they will go to someone who is very interested in the history of Swindon.
“Occasionally house clearances lead to important documents turning up like these. They are really important, they are invaluable pieces of the town’s history. “This is the sort of thing that makes the job interesting – unusual and quirky items.”
In 1856, the year the first register dates back to, the Swindon Advertiser had been in existence for just two years, the old town had been lit by gas for just five years, and people were still using cesspits until the first sewers were laid in 1866.
During the 1850s and 1860s, Regent Street and Queen Street were built up and in the 1860s Henry Street, Reading Street and Oxford Street were built. Wellington Street, Gloucester Street and Cheltenham Street were also built at that time.
By 1880, the final year of the registers, the population of Swindon was approximately 15,000 but the town was still two settlements, the old town and the new town, divided by fields.
The two books are in excellent condition, with vellum covers and hand written details of approximately 800 people born in the area, including their names, their parents first and surnames and where they were from.
The items up for auction tomorrow also include a solid silver GWR commemorative coin and a toast rack designed by Dr Christopher Dresser, an important designer from the Victorian period.
The auction will be held tomorrow at 10am at the Town Auctions, Unit 4, Central Trading Estate, Signal Way. For more information call 01793 619447.