THE impending arrival of what became a Swindon institution was announced this week in 1971.

“Fun Palace for Swindon,” said the big headline over a front page story which began: “Swindon is to have a new ballroom and entertainment centre in the heart of the £5m Brunel shopping complex.

“The centre - due to be opened within a year – will occupy 20,000 square feet and cost £80,000 to fit out in rooftop premises leased from Swindon Corporation by a firm of Cheltenham promoters.

“There will be room for 1,000 dancers on the main dance floor and smaller amphitheatre area.”

Most Rewind readers will already have guessed the name of the new venue, but the next sentence in our report from 46 years ago leaves no doubt: “Four bars are included in the scheme – including one that revolves.”

The Brunel Rooms opened in 1973, hosted The Jam and The Ramones among other top acts and became part of the collective consciousness of generations of young people.

Changing ownership and renamed Liquid and Envy in 2007, it closed altogether in 2011 and began a brief and troubled re-opening in 2013.

Back in 1971, the developers said they expected the new venue to offer everything from the latest pop to ballroom dancing competitions and perhaps the occasional classical recital.

Two days later we ran a photo of a model of the new venue and revealed that the revolving bar was to be called The Cogwheel.

Still in the world of entertainment, there was a brief homecoming for a woman whose already extraordinary show business career would become more extraordinary still.

Jacqueline Voltaire, who has featured in Rewind before, was visiting her parents, John and Peggy Hickson, who kept The Kings Arms Hotel in Malmesbury.

We described the 24-year-old as an international cabaret star, and this was no exaggeration as her CV already included making a name for herself as a dancer at high-class venues in Las Vegas and Mexico City.

She would later relocate permanently to Mexico and become a very popular and famous film and television actress. Her loss to cancer in 2008 was mourned by countless fans.

In Malmesbury in the last week of October, 1971, though, the rising star was happy to muck in with a fundraising show organised by town mayor Edwin Wakefield.

Her act helped to boost the bank balance of the Civic Centre Amenity Fund.

Jacqueline wasn’t the only woman with an interesting and unusual career path to appear in our pages.

“Avis Lever,” we said, “used to sit under her mum’s table eating a milk drink powder because she thought it would turn her into a witch.

“That gave her the impetus to get seriously involved in palmistry, clairvoyance, card reading and astrology.

“Now, many years later, after an intensive reading course and some practice in London, she has set herself up as a medium in Swindon.”

Avis, who also ran a shop for stamp collectors in Regent Circus, told us: “In these high pressure days everyone needs help at some time in their lives, and I can give them advice and insight into the future.

“My work isn’t particularly lucrative. If it was, I wouldn’t need to run a shop.

“You have to be unshockable, unflappable and keep your senses about you.”

Avis seems to have possessed those qualities in abundance, as she was still giving readings at least as late as the 1990s, when an Adver reporter wrote a feature about her and said some some of her predictions were accurate.

Our advertising features department was happy that week, as the International Audio Festival and Fair at Olympia in London was an ideal opportunity to approach local hi-f shops for business.

Their adverts were placed around an article detailing the latest speakers and turntables. “The home listener,” we said, has two main sound sources at his disposal – radio and records.”

There were reel-to-reel tape recorders, eight-track tape cartridges and cassettes, but they were still seen as rather exotic and perhaps inferior.

Representing Swindon at Olympia was Garrard, the local firm which at the time made some of the finest audio equipment in the world. Its stand showed off a high-end model, the new Garrard Zero 100 turntable.

We helpfully informed readers: “The tangential tracking pick-up arm virtually eliminates tracking error distortion. A non-mechanical bias compensation is achieved by the interaction of two permanent ceramic magnets.”

Advertisers included Merlin Cameras, which was the in-store camera and hi-fi store at McIlroy’s.

Customers who brought in their old photographic equipment could part exchange it for a Marconiphone Hi-Fi set, which came complete with a VHF radio and usually cost £75 - only slightly less than the average worker’s earnings in a fortnight.

The shop was among about a dozen across the Swindon area which showed off wares in the feature. The rest included the High Fidelity Centre, whose shop in Faringdon Road is now home to a tattoo and piercing business.

Customers were invited to choose a Tandberg stereo radio, turntable, reel-to-reel and speaker combination costing a total of £265.70, or a little less than half the price of a new Mini.