NEW FOR 2019
A Swindon Wordsmith: the Life, Times and Works of George Ewart Hobbs, by Noel Ponting and Graham Carter
So-called ‘ordinary’ working towns sometimes hide their lights under bushels, but this book aims to put the record straight, to some extent – by paying tribute to one of Swindon’s forgotten wordsmiths. George Ewart Hobbs deserves to be remembered alongside fellow Swindon writers Alfred Williams and Richard Jefferies, particularly as his works tell us so much about the times through which he lived (1883-1946). Despite working full-time, for more than half a century, as a Great Western Railway engineer, George was a prolific writer, most of his works commissioned as weekly columns in Swindon’s local paper, the Advertiser. For the first time, this book republishes a sample of his works, including articles about many of the subjects that fascinated him – religion, philosophy, astronomy, spiritualism, engineering and more. But it also includes poetry, eyewitness reports on remarkable events of the day, pioneering comic sketches and even science fiction stories. As well as this literary legacy, George Ewart Hobbs’s vivid writing provides us with a unique and brilliantly observed insight into everyday and so-called ‘ordinary’ life in Swindon, a century ago. December 2019, 426pp, ill. paperback, £14.95, ISBN 978-1-906978-76-1 (also available as a hardback, £19.95, ISBN 978-1-906978-77-8).
NEW FOR 2019
Swindon Photographers and Postcard Publishers, by Darryl Moody and Paul A Williams.
Early photographs have an undeniable power, providing a window to our past with an immediacy that is hard to match – documenting change and capturing history. Museums, archives and local studies libraries, therefore, continue to build extensive photographic collections to preserve this important visual record for the future. The Local Studies team at Swindon Central Library has built up over many years a list of local photographers, postcard publishers and others connected with the photographic history of Swindon and the surrounding area. Now, drawing on existing resources, librarian Darryl Moody and local historian Paul A Williams have created the definitive reference guide, including all known individual professional photographers, partnerships, firms, postcard publishers and a number of more notable amateurs working in the Swindon area. Published by Hobnob for Local Studies (Swindon Libraries & Information Service) May 2019, 125pp, illustrated paperback, £7.99, ISBN 978-1-906978-67-9.
Swindon’s War Record, prepared for the Swindon Town Council by W.D. Bavin
First published in 1922, and now reprinted in paperback as a slightly reduced facsimile edition, this is the definitive account of Swindon’s role during World War I. As well as providing lists of service casualties and of those who survived and returned, there are detailed accounts of war work undertaken in the town, wartime conditions including restrictions and rationing, and the treatment of prisoners of war. Appendices describe the military activities of the various regiments and units associated with Wiltshire and Swindon. Published by Hobnob Press for Swindon Local Studies. February 2018, 376 pages, illustrations, paperback, £12.99, ISBN 978-1-906978-51-8.
Roll of Honour, 1939-1945, Swindon & District, by Katherine Cole
This is an alphabetical listing, compiled Katherine Cole of Swindon Local Studies Library, of nearly 1,000 servicemen and women, with brief biographical details and referenced sources, from Swindon and the surrounding area of north Wiltshire, who were either killed, or taken prisoner, or received gallantry awards during the second world war. Published on behalf of Swindon Libraries. December 2017, 168 pages, paperback, £7.99, ISBN 978-1-906978-49-5.
All for the Empire: the History of Swindon's Historic Theatre, by Roger Trayhurn and Mark Child
By the time that he reached his 30th birthday, Ernest Carpenter had already revived three previously ailing theatres, and was building a new one in Swindon, a town with no tradition of music hall and very little theatrical experience. The New Queen's Theatre opened in 1898, and became the Empire in 1907. For more than half a century successive managements struggled to find a programming policy that Swindon audiences were prepared to support. This book, by two respected and well known authorities on Swindon, takes the reader from they heyday of music hall and melodrama to the swan song of variety, played out on the provincial stage. An appendix includes details of every production. April 2013, 347 pages, illustrations, paperback, £14.95, ISBN 978-1-906978-27-3
The Swindon Book: a Companion to the History of Swindon, by Mark Child.
The story of Swindon, from the earliest times to the present day, is here encapsulated in an alphabetical compendium of people who have influenced its development, places that have given character to its landscape, and important events that have punctuated its history. Written by an eminent local historian, and write on history, topography and architecture, this is a unique and readable distillation of the centuries. August 2013, 295 pages, paperback, £12.95. ISBN 978-1-906978-28-0.
The Swindon Book Companion, by Mark Child
Sequel to The Swindon Book (see previous title), completed just before the compiler’s death, and offering a further A-Z miscellany of fascinating and often obscure information about this town’s remarkable history. March 2015, 170 pages, paperback, £9.95, ISBN 978-1-906978-30-3.