Chippenham has a long and fascinating history. The following text is taken from the Chippenham Museum and Heritage Centre.
In the Georgian period Chippenham prospered greatly from the wool trade. Overseen by Sir Samuel Fludyer the fine buildings the clothiers built gave the town the nickname ‘Little Bath’.
By the 19th Century Chippenham began to expand rapidly. Although situated on the Great West coaching road to Bristol, it was the building of the Wiltshire & Berkshire Canal, then Brunel’s Great Western Railway, that linked Chippenham to the rest of the country and allowed local agriculture to thrive and flourish. The Chippenham Cheese Market was famous and the cattle market grew to be one of the largest in the country. New industries such as Westinghouse railway works were established too.
Like the rest of Britain, Chippenham was involved in both World War I and World War II. Soldiers were based here in camps during the First War and the Town Hall became a Red Cross hospital. Local men went off to fight and women took their places in the factories, particularly Westinghouse which was a major munitions supplier in both wars.
Fortunately the town was relatively untouched by bombing during the Second War however, the face of the town has changed drastically since 1945 with even the course of the river changing. Chippenham still hosts some fantastic buildings such as the Yelde Hall, which was originally constructed as the town's main meeting place in the mid-15th century. Chippenham has a great heritage, why not find out more by visiting one of our fantastic museums and heritage centres.