Lydiard Park is about more than a building, an estate, or the family who lived in the ‘big house’. It also comprises those who lived, worked, and prayed here in the past, and the families who live here today. These are the people of the parish, both the recently arrived and those whose families have been here for generations, as servants, tenants, farmers, and labourers. They have been friends, neighbours, even enemies. They attended the local school, joined the cricket team, participated in local events, worked on the land, or were ‘inside’ - the local term for working in the GWR rail works in Swindon.
There are wills dating from the 16th century, letters, diaries, newspaper articles, even a truncheon, which conjure up life in Lydiard. For over forty-five years, Elliot Woolford kept a diary; starting in 1899, he describes life as a farmer during good times and bad.
There have always been new arrivals to Lydiard. During the Second World War the Americans came, a hospital camp was established in the park for prisoners of war and later, in the 1950s, the same camp was used as temporary housing for both local families and those from London, looking for a new home.
The Lydiard Archives contain parish records, family photographs, reminiscences, both written and oral, and treasured items, which together tell the stories of the people who make up the parish.
This collection is a taster of what is to come. Many more photographs and other material have already been identified. If you have memorabilia or memories you would like to share of the People of the Parish, please email us at The Lydiard Archives.