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Weekly’s glossy magazine depicts two centuries of county life

A weekly newspaper has continued its 200th anniversary celebrations by publishing a photographic record of two centuries of life on its patch.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald began life in January 1816 as Simpson’s Salisbury Gazette before it later moved to Devizes.

Currently owned by Newsquest, the paper has already marked its bicentenary with a series of events and publications including a reprint of the original broadsheet edition.

Now the Gazette has delved into its photographic archive to publish Yesterdays – a glossy magazine full of amazing pictures that tell their own story of life in Wiltshire over the past 200 years.

Chief photographer Diane Vose, with former colleague Colin Kearley's widow Marion.

Chief photographer Diane Vose, left, with former colleague Colin Kearley’s widow Marion.

The book, which includes the work of many different photographers who have worked for the paper, was compiled by its current chief photographer Diane Vose, with the help of freelance photographer Trevor Porter.

Many of the images had previously been catalogued by her former colleague Colin Kearley, who died in 2013

Said Diane: “I began archiving pictures from the photographic collection kept by Colin six months ago. I initially contacted Marion, Colin’s wife back in November 2015 to locate the collection, which was held at the Wiltshire History centre in Chippenham on the wishes of Colin when he passed away.

“Trevor paid them a visit and they allowed us to access the 22 CD’s which contained thousands of images. The idea for the book was to have chapters for each town in Wiltshire and focus on key events such as carnivals, sporting achievements, military and rural life.

“Searching through thousands of images covering a century in historical Wiltshire life was a daunting task but also very exciting and interesting. Every day a new photograph to view and each picture needed to be captioned and double checked for date and historical accuracy with museums across the Wiltshire area.

“Amongst the pictures in the archive were images that captured a snap shot of life in Wiltshire such as Soldiers heading off to war, country folk harvesting in the fields, royal visits full of grandeur and pomp, scaffolding full of builders with no regard for health and safety.”

The book is now available to buy priced at £5.95 from the paper’s offices at 15 Duke Street, Trowbridge, BA14 8EF.

A percentage of each sale will go to the Gazette’s 200th anniversary appeal in aid of Julia’s House, which is opening a new children’s hospice in Devizes next year.

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