Lydiard Park and its magnificent house have been owned by the people of Swindon for 80 years this year.

And people are being invited to contribute their memories, images and stories to a celebration of the purchase of the buildings and 147-acre park surrounding it in the middle of the darkest days of the Second World War.

The Friends of Lydiard Park are putting together an exhibition called Swindon’s 80 Years at Lydiard Park with the stories, images and memories of local people at its heart.

Sarah Finch-Crisp, Chairman of the Friends of Lydiard Park, said: “In 1943, an estate that had belonged in private hands since medieval times became a people’s park.

"The restoration of the landscape and the rescue of the house took decades to achieve but the journey has been shared by local people.

"We are now asking everyone to dig into their memories and their photograph albums for pictures and stories that capture their experience of Lydiard Park over the past 80 years.”

Brian Pinchbeck, Director of Operations at Swindon Borough Council, which owns and operates the house and gardens said: “Lydiard Park is a special place and this milestone year marks 80 years under public ownership.

“Next month we will be reopening the refurbished hotel and events centre, a fantastic facility which will help support the upkeep and enhancement of Lydiard Park for years to come. We are delighted to be sharing this anniversary celebration with The Friends of Lydiard Park and Swindon residents.”

It was Swindon Corporation’s clerk, David Murray John, who had such an effect on the town, that led the purchase of the house and park by the council’s forerunner for £4,500 in November 1943.

It was used for some time as a temporary home for thousands of people in the converted military camp, but is now a hugely popular leisure venue.

People are asked to send in their stories and photographs to

The installation will be on display at Lydiard Park from August 2023 and thereafter material will be preserved in the Lydiard Archives, which is a unique online collection of objects, portraits, records, manuscripts, photographs, memories, and ephemera compiling a thousand years of history of Lydiard Park and the people and Parish of Lydiard Tregoze, Swindon.

The Lydiard Archives are open for free access online at