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You are in: Wiltshire > History > Archive Films > Swindon on film

Princess Elizabeth in Swindon, November 1950

Princess Elizabeth in Swindon in 1950.

Swindon on film

View fascinating cine-camera footage of Swindon taken in the 50s, 60s and 70s.

AVP Studios in Swindon are a TV production company who specialise in producing corporate communication programmes and retail DVDs, whose latest project will prove of great interest to those with an interest in Swindon's history.

Entitled 'Swindon Through the Decades', the DVD has been in the making for two years and is due for release in April.  It includes never before-seen cine footage filmed in and around the town in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s and promises to be a fascinating visual record of how much Swindon has changed over the last 60 years.

The DVD is presented by renowned local artist Phil King who has lived in Swindon all his life and has painted many Swindon landmarks. Depending on more footage being unearthed and donated, it is hoped this will be only the first in a series of programmes looking at Swindon's past.

Diving at Coate Water in 1950.

Diving at Coate Water in 1950

The company have kindly given BBC Wiltshire access to the raw film footage of which edited highlights will be featured in the DVD.  The four clips we have made available in streaming Real Video are detailed below.

Water Carnival at Coate Water in 1950

This four minute silent clip is taken from footage filmed at a Water Carnival at the town's country park - Coate Water on Saturday 29th July 1950.

Some of the activities filmed at the event held to celebrate the Borough of Swindon's Jubilee celebrations are a diving competition, a fashion show and a water polo game.

Princess Elizabeth

Commemorative book photo

Princess Elizabeth visits Swindon in 1950

This six minute silent clip shows one of The Queen's four visits to Swindon. Two years before she became the nation's sovereign, the-then 24-year-old Princess Elizabeth visited the town on 15th November 1950 as part of the Borough of Swindon's own Jubilee celebrations.

The Princess visited the Civic Offices, unveiled a memorial plaque in the town's Queens Park, opened Moredon playing fields and lunched at the Town Hall.

Her motorcade ended up at the thriving GWR works on Station Road where she officially named locomotive No. 6201 'Princess Elizabeth'.

The next two clips are both in colour with sound and date back to the 60s and 70s.

Fleming Way junction in 1966

Fleming Way junction in 1966

Swindon Newsreel 1966

This nine-minute newsreel (separated into two clips below) produced by the Swindon Film Unit, charts a year in the life of the-then expanding town and shows a number of familiar landmarks around Swindon.

Highlights of this footage include a trip down Commercial Road before the one-way system was introduced, the newly-built Kingsdown crematorium, construction work being carried out on what is now known as the Thistle Hotel and a summer's day at Penhill paddling pool.

The Brunel Statue in 1977

The Brunel Statue in 1977

Our Swindon (1977)

A locally-produced six-minute Public Information film all about Swindon designed to promote the town as a centre of business and desirable place to live.

It is interesting to see how the town shopping centre looked at the time and among the many other landmarks shown are the train station, the Railway Museum, Queens Park and the Wyvern Theatre.

Given the age of both films, sound quality is not great but is perfectly listenable. And the background music and narration contribute to making each a fascinating curio piece.

In order to produce future DVDs, AVP Studios are very keen to obtain similar cine footage of Swindon in days gone by. If you think you can help, contact them on (01793) 436735 or visit their website via the link on the right.

last updated: 09/05/2008 at 13:13
created: 20/03/2006

Have Your Say

The BBC reserves the right to edit comments submitted.

Madelin
The pictures are really a trip down memory lane for me having moved after 45 years of living in Swindon. My home town.

betty kerr
do you have a photo of 74 bridge street swindon wilts in the 50's please.

Jim Croton
Mike is correct. The locomotive, Princess Elizabeth, was built at Crewe in 1933 and named after the then 7 year old daughter of Albert, Duke of York. He became King George VI.

Mike Tegg
If my memory serves me correctly, the loco which Princess Elizabeth named was the last 'Castle' class loco to be built, 7037 'Swindon'Mike Tegg

Declan
When will the Swindon Canal be re-introduced to Swindon ?

Heather Mapson. N.Zealand.
As a child I frequently stayed with my Grandmother Pettit who lived in Stafford St, and I have a vivid memory of being about five and watching the Americans at the end of the war in their jeeps handing out sweets to the local children. Coate Water was a popular place and I remember the very high diving platform. I also remember that not even once did I see anybody actually diving from it though as your 'photo shows apparently they did! In those days it was said that a giant pike lived in the water adjacent to the diving tower so perhaps people actually believed that rumour. The water always looked pretty murky so anything could have been lurking beneath the surface. Memories....

marion richens
i lived in princess st my gran lived just around the corner in regents place there was a shop there i used to shopping there for my mum and gran there was a fish and chip opp whare i lived

David Cresswell
The archive films are fascinating records of Swindon in the recent past. However, may I correct your paragraph titled “Princess Elizabeth visits Swindon in 1950.” The locomotive she is unveiling is not record breaking LMS 6201 “Princess Elizabeth” (which is still hauling mainline steam excursions) but actually 7037 “Swindon.” This was the last Castle class loco built at Swindon Works (ref. swindonweb.com/life/queen.htm).

michelle Sheerin
Where can I buy DVD for my father

Jay
Keith tylerYes it is AVP studios in swindon or at the information center

Grant Williamson
Excellent and most interesting but how has Swindon changed.

sam "N" tash
safe blud! swindon changed like loads man!xxx

John Crook (Swindon)
The name of the occupants of the house was Wilmot and the young girl introduced to the then Princess Royal is my Mother-in-Law still living in Swindon, My wifes Grandfather was a ex soldier and the Princess commented on the Italian Dolly (brought back by Grandad)she was holding and how beautiful it was,Mrs Joan Dance (Wilmot)was the little girl and there are still many souvenires and press cuttings etc in Mums possession.

margaret obrien
it was nice to see princess elizbeth coming out of the house in mordan swindon. my in laws move into the house next to the one she was coming out of on the right of the pictures( you can see some of there garden) 7 years later. my mum in law still live in the house she is 86. the two family who live in the house you can see would love to see this film i am going to tell them about it.i think the famliy she was seeing was mr and mrs walmot. not sure about that. i know the house the queen was at the family in there now have not live in it very long. and the house next to it. who family we know well, they had been there a long time,but i am pretty sure there were not there then. but i will tell them both that there house are on here. thank i really enjoy looking at the film. do you have any of walcot when there were putting up the house that would be great to see.

Dennis Pitts
i would like to purchase this on dvd can you advise

Keith Tyler
Having tried to run the material on my P.C.I find my equipment is not up to the task. Is the DVD available to buy, please?

Mark Keen
This is a DVD all Swindon people will love. I am happy to supply AVP with some footage I have on tape and wish them all success with this project. Perhaps they can include the GWR documentary about the closure of the Great Western works on the disc also.

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