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THIS STORY LAST UPDATED: 24 February 2004 1419 GMT
Noel Coward pulls a pint or two at Box

Noel Coward
Noel Coward

The history of Wiltshire continues to throw-up amazing stories and details about the county's past - and the latest discoveries have been placed on the Wiltshire Community History Website.
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For example, did you know that legendary writer and actor Noel Coward used to serve behind the bar at the Northey Arms in Box?

The Wiltshire Community History Website includes a section featuring questions frequently asked by members of the public, which has brought some fascinating stories to light.

Among the questions asked recently was one about Noel Coward's regular visits to Box.

Coward - who wrote the film classic Brief Encounter and the well-known song Mad Dogs and Englishmen and played crime boss Mr Bridger in the original film of The Italian Job - regularly visited his friend Maisie Gay, who owned the Northey Arms in Box between the First and Second World Wars.

Actors and other people who worked in the theatre often visited Maisie, a music hall artist, at the pub.

Some of them amused themselves by serving behind the bar, including Noel Coward.

Local studies librarian, Mike Marshman, said: "We have received inquiries from all over the world - from local people in Trowbridge to inquiries from as far away as Australia and New Zealand.

"Many of the questions we are asked throw up some very interesting stories and show what a fascinating history the county has, beyond the better known aspects such as Stonehenge and Avebury."

The Wiltshire Community History website aims to map out the history of every single town and village in the county over the next few years.

Many communities are already featured on the site, which also features more than 2000 images, including maps, prints and photographs.

The Wiltshire Community History website can be visited at www.wiltshire.gov.uk

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David Hartland
My Grandmother used to work at the Northey Arms for Maisie Gay and my Grandfather {Victor Colson} used to be her Chaufeur

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