KING Hussein of Jordan became a Swindon furniture shop’s latest satisfied customer this week in 1976.

As if that were not remarkable enough, he was only the latest of several Middle Eastern VIPs to put money over the counter of Whites in Devizes Road - or have somebody do so on their behalf, at least.

The exquisite walnut and satin cabinet, earmarked for the monarch’s Knightsbridge residence, was pictured with creator Trevor Bowditch and his colleague, Alan Jeaps.

We said: “The Sultan of Oman’s Palace at Salalah, the palace of the Saudi Arabian Sheikh at Jeddah and palaces in Kuwait are packed with furniture from the Swindon firm.

“The Arab oil moguls have bought throne chairs, dining tables, cabinets and obelisks.”

Peter White, boss of the Swindon firm, said of his wealthy clients: “They know what they want and they certainly want value for money. They like ornate gilt and inlaid furniture made from exotic fruit woods.

“But they do not like antiques or English furniture. They want a lot of cabinets for televisions, hi-fi equipment and even for video cassette recorders.”

Another firm with friends in high places was electronics firm Blick National Systems Ltd, which had recently opened an assembly plant in Swindon.

Its latest delivery was a digital clock for the House of Commons, designed to ensure MPs’ speeches didn’t overrun their allotted times in the busy Parliamentary schedule.

Swindon MP David Stoddart, presenting an industry award to the firm, revealed that the clock would replace a system in which timing was done by fellow MPs using watches. When two minutes remained, they would hold up two fingers toward the speaking MP, which Mr Stoddart said was open to misinterpretation.

A even newer arrival in the Swindon business world set up shop in what is now the Iceland store in Havelock Square.

Called 2 for Fashion, it was a specialist Co-op clothing shop, and if the adverts are anything to go by it catered handsomely to mid-1970s taste for optic nerve-twanging colours, floor-length dresses and nightgowns, enormous suit lapels and flared trousers which might, in a pinch, be tacked to the mast of a small boat in the event of a sail being lost.

The occasion was marked in an advertising feature, which noted: “The new-look store’s image is a complete departure from existing Co-op policy on fashion. The Society has rethought its trading strategy and adopted an exciting ‘fashion’ approach - with the capital H for HIGH.”

The 12,000sqft store, the feature added, had been given attractive Continental-style canopies over its windows for a boulevard atmosphere, and the interior featured wall-to-wall shagpile carpeting, subdued ceiling lighting and tracked spotlights.

Should any Rewind reader have photographs of the shop, we’d be delighted to hear from them.

That week 42 years ago saw Swindon hold a rally in support of one of the era’s most extraordinary anti-war organisations.

The Women’s Peace Movement had begun to spring up in Northern Ireland that August, after three children were hit and killed by an out-of-control car whose driver, an IRA member transporting a rifle, had been shot dead by a British soldier.

Within weeks, demonstrations attracted tens of thousands of women from both sides of the political and religious divide, and the following year would see the movement’s founders, Mairead Corrigan and Betty Williams, receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

Speakers at the Swindon rally, supported by hundreds of local people, included campaigner and poet Mary Ratcliffe, who read a specially-written poem, and Mayor of Swindon Les Gowing, who said: “The people of Northern Ireland are our brothers.

“We must have the strength and will to lift the cloud that has for too long shut out the happiness from them.”

The rally was also attended by Roman Catholic Monsignor George Pitt and the Anglican Bishop of Malmesbury, the Rt Rev Freddie Temple.

Earlier that year, Concorde had entered service, and interest in the world’s first supersonic airliner was huge.

Fairford’s enormous air strip had been integral to the testing and development of the machine, and was still home to Concorde 002, one of the original prototypes.

When British Aircraft Corporation bosses invited the public to come and see it, they expected that most of the visitors would be families of workers involved with the project - but they were wrong.

Thousands of people queued patiently in freezing weather for a chance to see Concorde 002 up close.

The company had thought about 2,000 people would pass through the doors during the two days of opening, but the final figure was more like 10,000.

Concorde 002 is currently displayed at the Fleet Air Arm Museum in Yeovilton, Somerset.