Thursday, 28 February 2013

Tim Carroll's Beehive Exhibition

It was a good night in the Beehive on Sunday evening, people enjoyed a complimentary glass of wine and some nibbles.
If you weren't there on Sunday, the exhibition will remain in the Beehive for the whole of March.]
There are some lovely ceramic pieces and paintings; it's well worth a visit to the Beehive.
Here are a few photos of the exhibition:

 The two main walls:
And a few photos of individual pieces:
 Above 'Swimmers'
 'Three Seasons'
 'Old Town'
And 'Four Seasons'

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

National Garden Scheme Visit to Trench Hill, near Sheepscombe

The email advertising the National Garden Scheme's snowdrop openings attracted my attention, especially when I discovered that a 3 acre garden at Trench Hill, near Sheepscombe was open to the public last weekend. It seems a long time since we were able to marvel at gardens, always an uplifting experience for me. To have a look at gardens open this weekend and in 2013, have a look at the website:
It's worth sending off for a copy of their Yellow Book which lists all gardens open in an area, gardens should give 20 minutes of interest at least in order to qualify for inclusion in the scheme. There are often plants for sale and tea and cakes served with all proceeds going to charity.
I took a few photos of the garden:
 Firstly the entrance sign above, and below some miniature irises, there were many in all shades of blue.
 And below masses of snowdrops:

 Above a pair of lovely wooden seats that were very comfortable and gave a lovely view of the valley between Trench Hill and Sheepscombe village.
 Looking back at the house.

Above the plants aren't easy to identify, but there were many varieties of Hellebores and Cyclamen.

 There were many statues and artefacts in the garden, I think this was my favourite one.
The Butcher's Arms in Sheepscombe looked very inviting, but we carried on walking through Lord's and Lady's wood leaving that experience for another time.

Monday, 25 February 2013

Charlotte Corday Statue in the Foyer of the Swindon Dance Studios

 This lovely statue of Charlotte Corday is to be found in the entrance hall of Swindon Dance Studios, formerly the town Hall in Regent Circus.

Here's a detail of her shoe, and she's wearing patterned stockings.

 The sculptor was:

I thought I'd see what has been written about the statue and discovered an excellent article, not just on Charlotte Corday, but including photos of  the whole building, it's well worth a look:
The blog called 'Hidden Swindon' is glorious, and well worht a look, it's written by June Jackson who wrote it until December 2010.

The Wikipedia entry is below, poor Charlotte, guillotined at 24.
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Charlotte Corday

Hauer, Jean-Jacques, Charlotte Corday
Born Marie-Anne Charlotte de Corday d'Armont
27 July 1768
Saint-Saturnin-des-Ligneries, Écorches (in present-day Orne), Normandy, France
Died 17 July 1793 (aged 24)
Cause of death Execution by guillotine
Known for Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat
Religion Roman Catholic
Parents Jacques François de Corday, seigneur d'Armont
Charlotte Marie Jacqueline Gaultier de Mesnival
Marie-Anne Charlotte de Corday d'Armont (27 July 1768 – 17 July 1793), known to history as Charlotte Corday, was a figure of the French Revolution. In 1793, she was executed under the guillotine for the assassination of Jacobin leader Jean-Paul Marat, who was in part responsible, through his role as a politician and journalist, for the more radical course the Revolution had taken. More specifically, he played a substantial role in the political purge of the Girondins, with whom Corday sympathized. His murder was memorialized in a celebrated painting by Jacques-Louis David which shows Marat after Corday had stabbed him to death in his bathtub. In 1847, writer Alphonse de Lamartine gave Corday the posthumous nickname l'ange de l'assassinat (the Angel of Assassination).

Sunday, 24 February 2013

A Visit to the Science Museum Library and Archives - Just outside Wroughton

The Science Museum Library is a national library and archive dedicated to the history of science and technology.
It is housed on 2 sites, one in London and one near Wroughton, on the Science Museum's airfield site, just beside the main road from Swindon to Avebury.
The collections are kept in climate controlled stores, so you need to contact the library to arrnage a time to visit, they are open Monday-Friday, they are very keen to have more visitors, so do ring:
01793 846222 or email:
Also visit website pages at:
I was very excited to discover such an amazing repository of fascinating books, journals, maps and drawings.
Here's a taste of what there is to see:
 Here are some of the shelves, reputedly there are something like 46Km of shelves.

This is a drawing of a volcano in William Hamilton's book 'Campi Phlegraei: observations on the volcanoes of the two Sicilies as they have been communicated to the Royal Society of London.
Basically a study of volcanoes, and below is a close up of the picture:
Below a photo of the Eiffel tower as it was being constructed in July 1887:
The loveliest book was Dickinson's Comprehensive pictures from the Greta Exhibition of 1851 from the originals painted for Prince Albert; the Great Exhibition was housed in a large scale prefabricated ferrovitreous structure built by Joseph Paxton 1801-1865.
Here are some of the drawings:

The detail in the actual drawings is amazing.
Next is a drawing of the 3rd  Lighthouse to be built on the Eddystone Rocks, it was built out of stone by John Smeaton (1724-1792)and completed in 1759, the others built in 1696 and 1709 were destroyed by fire and storms respectively:
And here's a drawing of a bird in Charles Darwin's book on the Zoology of the voyage of the HMS Beagle 1832-36:

And a drawing of  the Magdeburg  hemispheres failing to be pulled apart by 2 teams of 8 horses in 1654:

And a drawing from the book by Alexander von Humbolt 1769-1859: a Prussian geographer, naturalist and explorer went to Latin America. He was the first person to propose lands bordering the Atlantic Ocean were once joined:

It's well worth a visit and right on Swindon's doorstep.
There are numerous good pubs to eat in on the way back from the Science Museum.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Michael Yates' Exhibition of the Art of the Adan People of South East Ghana

Michael Yates has called his exhibition 'Strange but Somehow Beautiful'.
The exhibition runs from the 14th - 23rd of March 11am-4pm
at The Post Modern, Theatre Square, Swindon, SN1 1QN

There will be a talk about the collection on Wednesday 20th of March, 6.30pm for 7pm.
Everyone welcome to come along and find out more about the art of the Adan people.

Here's the wonderful poster:
For more on Artsite and it's exhibitions, please visit

Swindon Heritage Magazine is Out Now with the Spring 2013 edition in Selected Shops Now

And a very slick, professional magazine it is.
Look out for the cover:
It advertises itself as 'The quarterly magazine for lovers of local history.'
There are many fascinating articles inside, I was particularly drawn to an article about Enid Mitchell, a notable sculptor, in 1979, she completed a study of Victorian and Edwardian decorative ceramic wall tiles extant in Swindon. Her thesis entitled 'Art Nouveau Porch Tiles in Swindon, Wiltshire', the original document was donated to the library's Local Study Archive in 2011.
Here is a photo of Enid Mitchell taken by Mark Child:
And of some of the tiles, photo again by Mark Child:
To read the article in full and see more tiles, and encourage the editorial team, please buy a copy of the magazine from
Pen and Paper,
Gift Stationers and Bookshop,
113, Victoria Road, Old Town
Tel: 01793 421641
The Heritage magazine website is

Swindon Film Festival 2013 1-10th March

Swindon Film Festival 2013 is bigger and better than ever this year.
Look out for the handy, folding brochure with the dramatic image from 'Beasts of the Southern Wild' on the cover:
If you haven't already got your ticket for that film, showing next Saturday the 2nd of March, it's too late, they are sold out.

After seeing 'Even the Rain' with the great screen presence of 'Amores Perros' star Gael Garcia Bernal last night at the Film Society, many people will want to see the highly acclaimed 'No' in which he stars.
'No' is being shown at Commonweal School at 7.30pm on Tuesday the 5th of March.
Here's the small 'trailer':
Another film I'm hoping to see is 'The Hunt' starring Mads Mikklesen, recently seen in 'A Royal Affair' also at the Film Society.
'The Hunt' is being shown at Swindon Dance Theatre at 8.30pm on Saturday the 9th of March.
Here's the picture courtesy of the brochure again:
For more information on the Swindon Film Festival visit the festival website:
phone: 01793 330639
Tickets are also available at the Central Library.
Advance booking is recommended

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

England's Glory - The Men of the Arctic Convoys - a Tribute

I went along to this exhibition today wondering whether I would be able to write about it.
Once I really looked at the exhibition and read the information supplied by Steve Bourne, a former Swindon College student better known for his ceramics which he sells in Bloomingdale's in America, I was amazed and very impressed.
Do try and visit the exhibition before it closes on Saturday the 23rd of February.
at The Post Modern, Theatre Square, Swindon.
Steve's grandfather's boat, the SS Induna bound for Murmansk, was  sailing in the Arctic when it was torpedoed and somehow he survived for 4 days adrift in a lifeboat. His story, which he kept quiet, has inspired Steve to create the artworks.

When the men were rescued, they had such bad frost bite that they were covered in molten wax, these 2 boats shown in the photo above were fashioned from wax and are gorgeous replicas of the recovery vessels.
 These 6 photos are a sample of the long line of photos made by embedding negatives in ceramic slip, they are very small but evoke amazing scenes.

Above is a photo of the small photos.
And this is what Winston Churchill said- 'The worst journey in the world.
More photos to follow of the 390,000 matches to represent the sailors who died between 1939-45.