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Programme 2022
60th Anniversary Year

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Thu 20th October 2022
Changing Times
The impact of total war on Wiltshire 1939 – 1955
Presented by Local Studies Librarian Julie Davis

Thu 17th November 2022
AGM & Social Evening

Recent Events

Thu 15th September 2022
Looking back at Melksham in the 1950s
Presented by a member of the committee
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Thu 21st July 2022
Coach to Bristol
with option of visit to Brunel Centre & SS Gt Britain or a four hour boat trip to the Suspension Bridge (picnic lunch needed) Departure 8 30 am King Street Car Park
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Thu 16th June 2022
Visit to Calne Heritage Centre
with optional guided walk 2 pm Arranged by Sue Boddington
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“Railway Navvies” presented by Chris and Judy Rous - Thu 15th February 2018

Presents at Melksham Assembly Hall

Thursday 15th February 2018
7pm for 7.30 start

“The railway Navvy, his working life”
A Slide presentation and lecture
by Judy and Chris Rouse.

Judy and Chris will portray a flavour of the life and working conditions of Navvy’s during the peak of the early railway building mania,

Association members have free entry to meetings
Guests £3

Report -


Our February meeting at Melksham Assembly Hall was Titled “The Railway Navvy, his working life”

Judy and Chris Rouse gave a very interesting account of the very hard life the Railway Navvies had during the early 1800’s, building the network of railways in England. At its peak there were over 100,000 “Navvies” building the railway network and contrary to what we assume, only a small proportion were from Ireland, coming here for work during the potato famine.

The navvy's tools were a pick, shovel and a wheelbarrow, all carried on his back between jobs. Needless to say they were very strong men who worked hard and and played hard and also drank large amounts of beer. Gangers sold beer to the workers, it was illegal at the time, but as it kept the workers happy, a blind eye was turned to it.

A lot of these navvies, previous to working on the railways, worked on the canal network around the country and they would roam the country with their wives and families looking for the next project to work on.

In our modern world, it is hard to imagine how hard a life it was in those days, building the railways and canal networks that we take for granted today, when there were no mechanical diggers or cranes to move earth and all had to be done by hand with help from horse drawn trucks etc.

Our next meeting will be on Thursday 15th March, at Melksham Assembly Hall, 7pm for 7.30start. When Gill Cardy will give a presentation titled “Listed Buildings of Melksham”

All welcome Members free, guests £3.

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