Today Marlborough News Online launches a series of occasional feature articles under the title Marlborough People Today. Ellen Prockter picks up where the millennium publication Marlborough People left off – catching up with some of those who were featured in the book and seeking out some of the newer inhabitants of Marlborough and the surrounding villages. Here is her introduction to the series.
As the twentieth century came to a close the book Marlborough People was published. It was the brainchild of Nick Maurice, who invited David Uttley to take what turned out to be some stunning photographs and offered me the privilege of interviewing and writing the articles.
Rather than produce another history of this lovely market town, we set out to present a cross section of the people of Marlborough, so we came up with the final list of 67 diverse personalities who would feature in the book telling their stories, their experiences and their thoughts – the subtitle of the book became A Snapshot of Local People at the Millennium.
But that was fifteen years ago and over the coming months I plan to revisit some of these people and discover what change there has been in their own lives and their relationship with Marlborough.
Did Susan marry someone Chinese? Has Richard fallen from a roof for a third time? Did Mary end up with that glamorous job in the art world? I hope to find out. Others have moved on – many of Marlborough’s institutions have new incumbents.
And there have been many other changes reflecting the economic climate and the explosion of the internet – the postal system has changed, there is no Gazette and Herald office in the town, Woolworth’s, Smith’s the greengrocers and the Tudor Tea Rooms have all closed. Other institutions have flourished – St. John’s School is at last on one site, the Brandt Group maintains its high profile as does the Merchant’s House.
Sadly, some contributors have died. What a fluid community Marlborough is – I am really looking forward to interviewing a new batch of Marlborough People.
The compilers’ lives have certainly changed. Most importantly for Nick and Kate, all their children are happily married and living in Wiltshire. They now have seven wonderful grandchildren. Long retired as a GP, Nick became the Director of UK One World Linking Association and created a new charity BUILD (Building Understanding through International Links for Development).
Now he is once again Director of the Marlborough Brandt Group and leading a very full life including regular visits to Marlborough’s partner community of Gunjur in The Gambia.
When David Uttley took the Marlborough People photos he was using film which meant that what he took could not be changed. By 2002 digital media opened up tremendous opportunities for creativity. He and Dianne put this to good use photographing weddings plus some portraiture and environmental work for Wiltshire Life.
They downsized within Marlborough about seven years ago and retired shortly after. They spend a lot of time with their children and grandchildren all of whom live nearby in the Bedwyns. Dianne takes most of the family photographs now and David is the process of selling his professional equipment and plans to buy a good quality slimline digital camera and be creative again.
Immediately after the book was published I started my history degree at the University of Bristol, graduating at the same time as my youngest daughter. I then worked in the library at New College in Swindon until I had to leave because of my husband David’s poor health.
I enjoy spending time with my extended family and singing with the Marlborough Community Choir. I hope that this will be the first of many articles I write for Marlborough News Online.
Many of Marlborough News Online’s readers will have bought a copy of Marlborough People when it was published, but for those who missed out and for the many who have moved to Marlborough since then, copies are available at The White Horse Bookshop for £9.99.