Newport Street in Old Town in the 1960s
Video: Old Town in the 1960s, Queens Park and Swindon's canal
Watch yet more vintage cine footage of Swindon, this time showing Old Town in the 1960s, the opening of Queens Park in 1953 and the long-since closed canal.
Local TV production company AVP Studios are slowly sifting through donated cine footage in order to produce the third volume in their popular DVD series 'Swindon Through the Decades'. The DVDs each feature never before-seen film of the town shot over the last 50 years.
AVP Studios have supplied us with this latest raw footage, highlights of which will be included on the forthcoming third volume. These particular film clips are of a very high quality and are another great addition to our online collection of cine footage documenting Swindon's bygone era.
The first piece of cine footage is silent and runs for just over 18 minutes. It is undated but appears to be from the early-mid 1960s and shows many familiar locations around Swindon's Old Town area.
Wood Street, the High Street, Newport Street and Cricklade Street are featured as well as The Planks area by The Corn Exchange near the entrance to The Lawns.
Old Town High Street in the 1960s
As evidenced from the footage, the Old Town district is one of the few parts of the town which has been left relatively untouched by successive Swindon Borough Council administrations over the years.
The second film which is also silent and runs for just over five minutes is easier to date as it features occasional captions.
It opens with a pan around Town Gardens in Old Town but the main sequence of clips which provide most interest document the opening of Swindon's Queens Park Gardens just outside the town centre.
Noel Arkell opens Queens Park in 1953
It shows the then High Sheriff of Wiltshire, Sir Noel Arkell officially opening the park in the Coronation year of 1953.
As with the preceding film of Old Town, this footage shows another cherished area of Swindon's heritage has been preserved immaculately over the years.
Something which has been in the news of late with talk of a restoration is the North Wilts Canal which ran through Swindon for much of the 20th century.
For years the canal prospered but when the Great Western Railway finally reached Swindon, the canal quickly became obsolete and finally ended up as an expensive embarrassment.
With the last of the boating traffic making its way through the centre of town in 1906, the canal quickly became weed choked and silted up and by 1914 was officially abandoned.
Soon after the Great War, a mile and a quarter of the urban stretch of waterway was filled in and largely forgotten.
This last piece of footage which runs for just under two minutes shows the canal shortly before it was finally filled in.
last updated: 05/12/2008 at 14:47
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