Wednesday, January 11, 2012

January 25-31, 1940.

Four sets of twins were born at the Swindon Maternity Home this week in January 1940. Mr & Mrs Govier of 52 Dean Street were the proud parents of a son and daughter while Quartermaster Sergeant and Mrs Lonton of 6 Hill Road, Shrivenham, greeted the arrival of twin sons. Mr & Mrs Reynolds of 42 Bruce Street had a son and daughter and Mr & Mrs Fortune of 20 Upham Road had twin sons. Picture holding the babies are Miss Morris, assistant matron, Nurse Aust, Sister Ludlow and Sister Tredell.


The last week in January saw the worse winter weather in forty years and the coldest for more than a century. In sub zero temperatures rain froze as it fell and a snow and ice storm lasted from January 27-30.

Photographs of the extraordinary weather conditions had to first pass the censor before release and were published in the Advertiser a week later.


Hundreds of homes and the GWR factory complex were in danger when fire broke out in the Oil Works Department of the Carriage and Wagon works late Saturday night.

The fire in the office and testing room went undetected because of the building's 'black out' precautions and was only noticed when flames burst through the roof. Mr Comley of 2 Beatrice Street, a GWR employee, raised the alarm and within minutes the company's Fire Brigade were on the scene.

"A series of explosions at one time gave rise to alarming rumours among the crowd which gathered. Later it was learned the reports were due to samples of oil in the testing room, exploding under the intense heat.

A partition had helped to keep the fire concentrated in one place, but flames were beginning to get through to the main building when the firemen arrived," reported the Advertiser.

The Swindon Brigade was summoned by a Gorse Hill policeman but the GWR fire service had the blaze under control before their arrival.

Foul play was not suspected and it was thought the fire was caused by an electrical fault.


Recycling received the thumbs up from the Advertiser correspondent in the 'Around and About Notes' feature, "but when is the Swindon Town Council going to begin to act?" he asked.

The Save Your Waste campaign had been enthusiastically supported by many local schools where pupils collected old newspapers, periodicals and cardboard boxes. However Swindon Town Council was criticised for failing to recognise the importance of waste paper as a valuable raw material.

About 60 local authorities operated salvage schemes but the lack of a national initiative to convert such reusable 'rubbish' into a cash crop was also highlighted.


A whirlwind wartime romance led to the winter wedding at Christ Church of Swindon dance teacher Dorothy Godwin and Army Dental Corps captain John Sherwen.

Dorothy joined the ATS at the outbreak of war and met her future husband when she was drafted to Bulford Camp.

As the couple left the church they passed through a guard of honour formed by members of the ATS.

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