History Newspaper Archives
Newspaper Archives 1800 - 1859
July 1838 Coate Rreservoir

The following appears in a publication dated July 1838

Frequently during the summer months of the last three or four years select parties of the gentry of the town and neighbourhood of Swindon have resorted to the reservoir, a fine sheet of water about two miles distant from the town, and nearly seventy acres in extent.
It is generally allowed that some of the finest scenery that nature ever formed surrounds this spot and greets the eye, which way soever you turn.
It would be almost an impossibility to select a place where the words of the poet, when he says, (Fair nature spreads a rich and boundless store, To charm my sight" could be more clearly and beautifully verified, or a place better calculated to spend an afternoon in an entertainment of any kind.
Pleasure boats' the property of O C Codrington, Esq, of Wroughton, and other gentlemen in the neighbourhood, being kept on the lake, the powers of those skilled in rowing have been time after time put to the test, whilst waltzing and quadrilling parties form another part of the joyous scene, and grace the banks "where chestnut trees shed a twilight of gloom".
The first of these assemblies for the present season took place on Tuesday, the 10th instant, and was exceedingly well and respectably attended, and passed off with the greatest éclat.
A repast was spread in the booths erected for the purpose, and after the party had partaken of the delicacies which it contained, dancing and water excursions commenced and continued with great spirit till (darkness began to veil the sky", when the party returned , every one apparently highly delighted with the entertainment. The Swindon band, which may be proud of its superiority over every other in this part of the country, attended and played in a most excellent and tasty manner during the afternoon.

Swindon Advertiser July 1838 - Reprinted on 9 June 1888


Dec 1855 Escape from drowning

I thought that we should reprint the first ever account of a story concerning the canal.

The first Advertiser appeared in 1854 but the first mention of the canal was on the 17th Dec 1855 with the heading NARROW ESCAPE FROM DROWNING.

Yesterday (Sunday )week a sad catastrophe which almost proved fatal, happened to Thomas Day, cowman to H L Dunsford, Esq, of the Wharf.

It appears that Day had been to Stratton to spend the evening with a few friends.
On his return home between ten and eleven he was alone, and his residence being at Cetus' Buildings, he had to proceed thither up the towing path of the canal, when descending from the main road to the water side , he awoke some men who were sleeping in a boat near the bridge by singing out in a stentorian voice "Ay,ding dong for dumplings" which he repeated several times.

The men arose , and the unfortunate man had not proceeded any distance before he was , by some means or other , precipitated into the canal.

His cries for assistance were soon heard ; the boatmen hastened to the spot, and succeeded, after great exertion (not escaping, however, without a "cold bath" themselves), in extricating the aged man from the water and a watery grave, after having recourse to the usual restoratives, We hear he has since been enabled to resume his wonted avocations.

Swindon Advertiser December 17 1855