Monday, February 27

1951: The first row patrons and musicians in the orchestra pit at the Swindon Empire Theatre experienced some anxious moments as hissing snakes glided around the stage and vicious looking crocodiles threatened to slither over the footlights. Koringer, billed as the only female Yogi in the world, kept an hypnotic eye and firm hand on the reptiles. The musicians who had all jumped out of the pit, climbed back in to continue playing.

1961: Twenty-eight members of Swindon branch of the National Union of Schoolmasters were among 6,000 protesters at Central Hall, Westminster. They were protesting against the economic degradation of the school master. When the rally ended the men marched along Whitehall, where a letter was delivered to the Admiralty for the prime minister.

1971: Sixty-three Wanborough families were enjoying specially baked bread for tea for free, thanks to a man who died 270 years ago. The Honourable William Stanley left in his will of 1745: 'that £50 was available so needy families in Wanborough parish could be given loaves each year' on the anniversary of his funeral. This year marked the 224th time bread was distributed.

Tuesday, February 28

1951: A group of Avebury schoolboys, who normally stop and chat to the village blacksmith on their way home from school, decided to make his windows the target of water pistol practice. The blacksmith, Mr Douglas Paradise, was a keen sportsman and left-half in the village football team. He took his revenge by sending, through his window, a shower of water from his cooling trough and the boys ran off.

1961: Mr P Bathe was re-elected as people's warden at the annual Wroughton Vestry and Parish Council meeting. Mr M Haskins was nominated by the vicar The Rev J C Burnett as Vicar's warden.

1971: Seventy-eight children in Swindon high schools were involved in a 'designed project' that aimed to create an alternative to GCE and CSE exams. The project has been designed by several hundred teachers working over a three year period at Swindon Education Committee Curriculum Study and Development Centre at Sanford Street School.

Wednesday March 1

1951: Praises of Wales were sung at a St David's Day banquet, held in Swindon for the Swindon and District Cymroderian Society, which has 160 members. The banquet was organised with the purpose of bringing people of that nationality together and entertaining them. Performing were the Royal Welsh Male Voice Choir from Treorchy and George Thomas, MP for Cardiff West, was the guest speaker.

1951: D Curtis from the Swindon Amateur Boxing Club was one of the contestants at the Albert Hall in London for the semi finals and finals of the Youth Boxing Championships. His trainer was D Davies. In the senior championships held at Torquay was another Swindon boxer E James who competed for the ABA Western Community honour.

1961: Mrs Elsie Audritt, 72, from Prospect Place, Swindon, has flown from London to Salisbury Southern Rhodesia to visit her daughter, Mrs C Bickford, and two of her 12 grandchildren. Mrs Auditt has never left England before. She has not seen her daughter since 1947.

1961: Parts for a £30,000 bridge, planned for construction on a single weekend, have left Swindon. More than 1000 pieces from tiny rivets to giant girders were loaded on trucks from the Southern Command Store Depot in Kembray Street, before the big lift when the Army replaces the old A4 bridge across the Avon, which was badly damaged by floods.

1971: Thousands of people stayed away from factories in Swindon and other towns in Wiltshire as part of the nationwide protests against the International Relations Bill. Assembly lines at Pressed Steel Fisher, Stratton St Margaret, stopped, and at the Plessey and Garrards' factories only a few hourly paid workers turned up.

1971: Members of 12 cub scouts packs contributed to a handicrafts exhibition, held at Queen's Drive Methodist Church Hall, Swindon. About 250 exhibits were for sale including models, nature reports, maps, scrapbooks, woodwork and first aid kits. The boys who took part were from the North Wiltshire district including Swindon, Purton, Wootton Bassett and Highworth.

Thursday March 2

1951: The newly formed Junior Section of the Swindon Young Farmers' Club, under the leadership of Mr John Freeman, won the Challenge Cup in the annual junior public speaking contest of the County Federation held at the Castle Hotel, Devizes.

1951: A commemorative plaque, the base of which was made from a yew reputed to have been planted at Lockeridge by a former Duke of Marlborough, was to be presented to Winston Churchill, when he received the Freedom of the Borough on his planned visit to Marlborough.

1961: Keith Kelly the singing and guitar playing star of Saturday Club, Easy Beat and other radio and TV programmes, got a rousing reception when he entertained at the St David's Day Ball at the Regency Club, McIlroys Ballroom. Also on the bill were magician Deval and the Freddy Webber Trio.

1961: The sight of abandoned children in Hong Kong propelled a 43-year-old RAF Sergeant at Compton Bassett to give up his career with a £3,000 pension to devote the remainder of his life to raising money for charity. Sgt Douglas Barraclough and his wife Olive, with their four Chinese children they adopted in Hong Kong, left their married quarters and moved to Manchester to set up the Helping Hand Society.

1971: Top honours in Swindon's Drama Festival went to the Royal Military College of Science in Shrivenham. They had entered three plays in this year's five-day festival but the silver rose bowl and passport to the British Drama League Central Divisional final was awarded to their production of The Real Inspector Hound. The final was held at the Arts Centre in Devizes Road, Swindon and the adjudicator was Mrs Rosemary Hoget.

1971: There was a steady queue of anxious motorists outside a Commercial Road Swindon insurance brokers' office, hoping to re-insure their vehicles after the sudden collapse of the Vehicle General. Inside the office clerks worked frantically to deal with the people, who had started arriving from about 8am. They were but a handful of the 700,000 customers from the Vehicle and General, Britain's second largest motor insurer.

Friday March 3

1951: It was announced that the 19-year-old daughter of Colonel and Mrs C E Grenville-Grey of Westrop House, Highworth, Susan Grenville-Grey, was engaged to be married to the Earl of March's 21-year-old son and heir, the Duke of Richmond and Gordon. Miss Grenville-Grey had been training at the Children's Convalescent Home, Marlborough to become an occupational therapist.

1951: Given in change in Swindon was a new, shining 1887 Golden Jubilee half a crown. Its intricate designs looked as fresh and sharp as the day it had left the Mint. It was preserved for all those years but with the high cost of living in 1951 it was finally parted with.

1961: A readership survey, by an independent organisation, showed that three people in five in Swindon read the Evening Advertiser - considerably more than read any other daily or Sunday paper. Within the circulation area of the Evening Advertiser, which includes a third of Wiltshire and Berks, its coverage was greater than any of the national daily papers. The survey showed that the Evening Advertiser achieved a much wider coverage of the upper and middle classes than any other newspaper.

1961: The first of a four-part course for brides and newly-weds on cooking, housekeeping, and household equipment took place at the Gas Demonstration Theatre in Temple Street, Swindon, but only three people turned up. The course was run by the South Western Gas Board Radiation Group Sales Ltd and other national bodies.

1971: Highworth Tennis Club put forward its claim to the Parish Council for a third court on the Recreation Ground. Mr Kenneth White as chairman of the club's Third Court Sub Committee asked the Parish Council to contribute £750 of the £1,000 needed with the remainder being raised by the club. His proposal was almost unanimously accepted.

1971: Ballet dancer Deidre Game, 12, from Okus Road, Swindon was chosen to perform at a charity concert in Tring. She was the only amateur child performer in the cast of the Old Time Music Hall. Deidre was a pupil of the Maureen Cockram School of Dance. She was chosen from dancers from all over the South East.

Saturday March 4

1951: The recently retired pioneer of physiotherapy in Swindon, Miss M N Kilby from The Mall, Old Town, was presented with a combined bookcase, needlework box, gramophone record case and writing desk, on behalf of her colleagues at the Victoria Hospital. Senior surgeon J E Schofield made the presentation saying she would be remembered for her acts of kindness.

1951: During a meeting of the Gaumont British Junior Club at the Regent Cinema, Swindon, Mr R Manhire, Assistant District Scout Commissioner, and three Swindon scouts who are off to attend the 7th world jamboree in Austria, appeared on stage to answer questions about the scout movement. The Swindon scouts were David Corbyn, 2nd Swindon, Michael Crompson, 11th Swindon and T Elliott, the 3rd Swindon Company 1961: Reports of a mystery object in the skies over Wiltshire were described by one eye witness as large and white and looks like a rocket. Sightings were reported to police and to the American bases at Brize Norton and Upper Heyford. An Air Ministry spokesman was unable to give an explanation, and a spokesman from the Meteorological Office said it was almost impossible that it could have been any sort of meteorological phenomenon as there was no weather about and skies were clear.

1961: Two Salvation Army members, a bandsman and a songster were married at the Salvation Army Citadel in Fleet Street, Swindon. They were Derek George Furber and Patricia Ann Hatton. The wedding was conducted by Senior Major W Simkins commanding officer of the Swindon Citadel Corps.

1971: The Wootton Bassett Women's Institute members celebrated the 47th birthday of the branch at the Memorial Hall. Seventy WI members including those from Broad Town, Hook, Bassett Down and Purton watched a comedy produced by the Institute's drama group produced by Mrs Ivy Sheppard.

1971: A steer from Borthwick's Abattoir in Stratton Road, Swindon, decided to take a walk, and it took the feminine touch to bring him back. The steer leapt nimbly over a three foot fence, across some wasteland and over Green Bridge Road to graze on the Swindon Rugby Club pitch. He would not return for the abattoir workers but when three cows were trucked in he was persuaded to join them and return to the abattoir