We had a great start to Our Town this year with the theme 'Made in Chippenham'. The objects brought in for discussion were varied, surprising in some cases, and formed great prompts for further stories and trips down memory lane.
We looked at:
A mug commemorating over 100 years of Westmead School (1888-1989 - the school closed when King's Lodge opened on Pewsham)
A bespoke screw made at Emjay Engineering in Union Road
A brick made at Chippenham steam brickworks, clearly marked as such - a source of the many warm red brick buildings seen in Chippenham
A print of a painting of the Market Square - a modern version of an earlier, more valuable painting of the same scene which is held under lock and key somewhere in the town
An Oxo tin filled with the famed cubes - they used to be made at the factory down by the river
A relay switch from Westinghouse - this led to us learning a new word, "jollop", which Ros said was thick black gungy stuff she used to cover the switches with when she made them. She also said at Christmas they used to warm mince pies up in the ovens!
A 1973 Chippenham directory brought in by new group member Jenny K - which listed all the town's streets and who or what was at each building - a great source of stories told on the night! It was sobering to see how many shops and businesses are no longer there (including the directory's printers, Spinks) and interesting to see the options for eating out were limited to a choice between traditional British or Chinese fare. Our Supper Club would struggle!
A number of ladies present who were born and bred in Chippenham - likewise Jenny P brought in a photo of her children :)
We also agreed 2019's programme as follows:
April 3rd - devise our top 10 Chippenham attractions
June 5th - themed walk in Chippenham, either a shop or art trail
August - walk to Lacock from Pewsham along the canal or Crazy Golf in Monkton Park. Date TBA - friends and family also welcome
September - support Chippenham's Heritage Open Days (HOD). Date and venue TBA when the Museum announces its programme (HODs are 13-22 September this year)
October or November TBA - depends on what talks/events are announced by e.g. WSHC later this year
December 4th - Night Photography
Ideas for future meetings are always welcome.