THE title of the forthcoming book by Noel Ponting and Graham Carter is A Swindon Wordsmith: The Life, Times and Works of George Ewart Hobbs.

It tells the story of a man who, like Hammerman Poet Alfred Williams, spent much of his life at the Railway Works while forging a literary reputation.

His catalogue of work, almost entirely printed in the Adver, ranged from poetry to science fiction, and from fables to pieces attempting to reconcile his profound Christian faith with the breakneck pace of scientific advancement in the early 20th century.

“It’s a biography as well as an anthology,” said Noel, “and I think we see ourselves as curating someone who’s been overlooked by history.

“Had his works appeared in book form earlier, perhaps we wouldn’t be saying now that we should rediscover him.

“Graham and I both think he is another of Swindon’s great literary figures.”

They are not alone in their assessment; Williams himself was among the admirers of Hobbs, who was born in 1883 and died in 1946.

Hobbs came from a humble background in Even Swindon.

Noel said: “He was born in Henry Street, which is now Hawkins Street, and then not long afterwards the family moved to Jennings Street, and he spent the whole of the rest of his life there.

“He went to Even Swindon School, left at the age of 12 and then at the age of 13 joined the GWR.”

His job title was Boy and his initial role was to be shuttled around departments until his niche was determined.

“Eventually he did an apprenticeship as a fitter and turner, and joined G Shop. Via G Shop, where he spent some considerable time, he went to work in X Shop, which was points and crossings.

“He became foreman there.

“He was born into a Wesleyan Methodist family, and he eventually became a local preacher. He was a regular attendee, as was his father, at the Percy Street Wesleyan Methodist Chapel and was involved with the Band of Hope, which was very much about abstaining from alcohol.

“Preaching the Gospel was a real central pillar of his life. He also saw himself as having a mission to young people, putting them on the path to learning and upright behaviour.

“He had a desire to not only preach from the pulpit but use the columns of the Advertiser to put over articles which extolled kinder Christian virtues, either expressly or implicitly, but it would certainly be wrong to say that was all there was about his writing – far from it.

“It was just one aspect.

“His writing started after the outbreak of the First World War. That was the catalyst for him. Not long afterwards, he started submitting poems to the Adver which were printed.

“This culminated in [Adver proprietors] Morris Brothers producing a booklet of collected verses and poems.

“That came out in 1915.

“He wrote a lot about life in Swindon, life in Rodbourne, life in the GWR.

“It was not from an established writer’s perspective; he wrote it from the point of view of the working man – which he absolutely was.

“It wasn’t burnished in any way. His writing provides some wonderful insights into just the basics of getting through the day.”

Noel and Graham would like to hear from anybody with information or memorabilia relating to Hobbs.

They can be contacted at