Groups share a chequered history
6:00pm Sunday 22nd September 2013 in News
THE good and the bad of Swindon’s past was put on display for all to see this weekend.
A display highlighting the town’s many different heroes and villains was held at the Central Library, in Regent Circus, on Saturday.
A number of local history groups arranged the display and there was a wide variety on show.
Darryl Moody, local studies leader at the library, said: “Swindon Heroes & Villains is our fourth annual local history open day at Swindon Central Library and once again we have been lucky enough to bring together many of the excellent clubs and societies that make up the thriving local heritage scene.
“The theme chosen for this year gave everyone a chance to present their own take on the good, the bad and the ugly from our town’s past.”
There was a wide range of items to look at and the focus was not just on individuals or even humans.
The work of horses from the area was highlighted, as were some of the poorer decisions made by the authorities.
“For myself, author and poet Alfred Williams must stand as a serious contender for a local hero as a hard-working, self-taught man whose brilliant work deserves a far wider audience,” said Darryl “As for villains, it is hard to see past the many well-intentioned 1950s planning decisions that obliterated many of the physical remnants of our local history.”
Among other heroes being highlighted was ex-Swindon Town footballer Freddie Wheatcroft, who played for the club more than 200 times between 1904 and 1917 but was killed during the First World War.
On the other side was Thomas Archer who, during a journey to his home in Belle Vue Road, was seen to beat his wife numerous times before dragging her from the cart they were travelling in, kicking her and then beating her again.
His wife died but before Thomas could face trial he was found hanged in 1872.
Darryl believes the idea of heroes and villains is an enduring one that will always interest people.
He said: “Perhaps in an era of pointless fleeting fame, people like to celebrate those individuals of real achievement and people always seem fascinated by a real villain.”
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