Friday, March 30, 2012

Looking down on Cricklade Road in the 1950s

This aerial shot of Swindon fifty years ago shows Headlands School which opened in 1952 as Headlands Grammar. In 1959 T.S. Magson was the Head Teacher.

Part of the parish of Stratton St Margaret was added to Swindon by Local Government Board order number 25.937 on September 30, 1900.  What had once been a rural area on the outskirts of industrial Swindon would soon become engulfed by the encroaching town.

The original Boundary Cottage stood on the Highworth and Swindon parish boundary.  It is said that the new Boundary House, built in 1894, was modelled on the owner’s home in Bayswater, but frustratingly little is known about the impressive four storey building that once dominated the former Kingsdown Road.

During the early 20th century Boundary House was occupied by the coach building King Brothers, Henry Charles and Joseph and their two families.  

Listings in modern directories prove patchy but the Boundary House maintained its connection with the motor industry.  Fletcher’s Swindon Directory 1959 lists Hedley Hawkins, John Howard and J. Duff, motor agent, all living at 60 Beechcroft Road.  Leslie Heard, Worcester Car Sales Ltd was based there from 1963 to at least 1967 when Boundary Motors is also recorded at Beechcroft Road.

Owned by Kingsdown brewer Arkell's the Moonrakers is reputedly the biggest pub in Wiltshire with a function room that can hold up to 300 people.  First opened as the Crossways Club in 1931 the pub received its full licence twenty years later and became the Moonrakers in 1953.

In 1959 the corner shop still flourished and Cricklade Road was home to numerous enterprises.  From Redwoods at number 77, A.J. Drew - post office and grocers at number 345, V.W. Rawlings at 166 and Penhill Stores at 516 there were plenty of place to compare prices.

The 1901 census returns for Stratton St Margaret (Upper and Lower) reveal a population of 3,367 which included 16 officers and 330 inmates at the Swindon and Highworth Workhouse.  Fifty years later the population had risen to 7,761 while numbers for the 2001 census came in at 21,436.


  1. You probably have access to the records to check but I think Magson's initials were T.S. not T.G.

  2. Thanks Josie - I'll check up on that! Thanks for getting in touch.

    1. Yes. Thomas Symmons Magson was my father and he came to Swindon in 1949. My memories of Swindon are very happy ones. A little before he died in 1999, Dad attended a reunion of old pupils from, I think, the late fifties. They gave him a tankard and he was very touched.

      It has been so good to see this website and its pictures. Thank you!