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13 November 2014

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You are in: Wiltshire > History > Archive Films > Video: 60s Cromwell St, Cavendish Square and British Legion Carnival

Cromwell St in the late 60s

Cromwell St in the late 60s

Video: 60s Cromwell St, Cavendish Square and British Legion Carnival

Concluding our collection of vintage video clips of Swindon in days gone by - including the long since demolished Cromwell Street in the town centre where the Brunel Centre now stands.

This page concludes our collection of silent, colour and black and white cine footage showing Swindon over the past 60 or so years. Our previous pages filled with a wealth of vintage video of the town can be found via the links below.

This final batch of video clips  - which have once again been kindly supplied to us by local TV production company AVP Studios  - come from an number of different eras and depict various parts of the town.

Cromwell Street, Queen visit, British Legion carnival and Cricklade Road coal round

Possibly the most interesting clip runs for 9.15 mins and begins with a quick pan around Old Town - Newport St and the High St before switching to Regent Circus and a new building being added to Swindon College, and then looking down Princes St.

You can clearly see that the Odeon Cinema (which is now the home of Mecca Bingo next to Rudis Bar) is showing the movie 'The Taming of the Shrew', which dates this particular clip to early 1967. 

After some shots from the Whale Bridge area looking back up Princes St and then along Fleming Way, the film focuses on Cromwell St where the Brunel Shopping Centre now stands.

Forget that Lloyds Bank, the indoor plaza and Boots are there now and imagine the long-forgotten road linking College Street to where the tented market is currently situated. In fact you can briefly glimpse the grand, old long-since demolished market building.

Normans Carpet store and The New Inn were two key buildings on Cromwell St at this time.

Also in the film, you can see that a bank once stood on the corner where Miss Selfridge now stands. And you can see an escalator being delivered to the-then new Littlewoods store to be fitted. Elsewhere in the clip, you will notice Debenhams was once known as Bon Marche!

British Legion Carnival up Victoria Hill

British Legion Carnival up Victoria Hill

And towards the end there is some brief footage of Her Majesty the Queen and His Royal Highness Prince Phillip's visit to Swindon on 5th November 1971. They came to inaugurate the town's new Civic Centre, including the Wyvern Theatre.

More footage of HRH The Queen's visit on that rainy day in 1971 comes in the next black and white and silent clip running 1.12 minutes. She is shown meeting the people of Swindon outside the Town Hall as workmen observe from high above on scaffolding. The Queen and Prince Philiip are also seen visiting the Metal Box Company factory.

Heading further back into the past, and seemingly deriving from the late fifties is another clip running 2.28 mins. The black and white film shows a British Legion Carnival parade heading up Victoria Hill.  

The next film which runs for 3.11 mins looks to hail from the mid-late sixties.  It follows a George Cousins Coal Merchants lorry on one of their rounds in the area of Cricklade Road - mainly at the junction of Wilcox Road and May Close just before Gorse Hill.

Players holding cup aloft at Town Hall, 1969

Players holding cup aloft at Town Hall

League Cup winners homecoming and the newly-built Cavendish Square in the 1960s

The fourth film which runs for 1.53 mins is of a particularly historic occasion for the town and comes from March 1969. It shows the triumphant Swindon Town FC team on an open top bus tour round the town centre following their League Cup final win over Arsenal at Wembley.

The film ends with Don Rogers and the rest of the team proudly holding the cup aloft from a window balcony at the Town Hall - where a civic reception was held - as a huge, ecstatic crowd looks on.

Our final piece of footage runs for 5.25 mins and features narration. It's a Public Information film from the mid-sixties and centres on the-then recently built Cavendish Square - the shopping centre at the heart of the Parks North and South housing expansion.

The film shows the official opening of the 'Swindon Town Council Park Neighbourhood Centre' by Lord Hastings - Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Housing and Local Government, which took place on April 16th 1964. 

As well as attending the opening ceremony, a select group of local dignitaries are filmed being shown around and the centre, and it's interesting to see how highly regarded it once was. Clearly then all concerned had no idea the area would end up so badly neglected, and gain an unfortunate reputation as a Swindon 'inner-city'.

Finally, this film is of particular historical value as recently Cavendish Square has been demolished and a long-awaited regeneration of the area is well under-way.

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: 24/10/2008 at 14:54
created: 23/01/2007

Have Your Say

Tell us what you think of the vintage Swindon cine footage.

The BBC reserves the right to edit comments submitted.

The Coalman video is wrongly labelled in as much as the Coalmen are delivering to a house in Poplar Avenue. It features also Don Drew who took over the Post office from his parents and the premises abut the roadway opening to Wineral and Stiggers Wood yard.

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