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Alfred Williams, Swindon's 'hammerman poet'
Alfred Williams, Swindon's 'hammerman poet'

Press Release - 18 April 2007

Writers and place: a lunchtime lecture

People in Swindon can find out how their town has inspired writers through the ages, in a lunchtime lecture at the University of Bath in Swindon.

In her lecture Writers and Place, on Friday 4 May, from 12.15pm to 1.30pm, local writer Mary Palmer will outline the part played by place in creative writing.

From Anglo-Saxon poetry to 21st century crime novels, Swindon and nearby Bath have inspired writers, she will say.

The self-taught poet, Alfred Williams wrote his most famous work, Life in a Railway Factory, at night after gruelling days at work in Swindon’s railway factories. His poem, written in 1915, has been described as the most important literary work produced in and about Swindon.

Richard Jeffries, 19th century nature writer and novelist lived in Coate. He wrote fiction mainly based on farming and rural life and in his early career worked as a reporter for the North Wiltshire Herald and the Swindon Advertiser. His birthplace and home is a museum open to the public.

Ms Palmer will also refer to the work of Austen, Dickens and Hardy, who all include Bath in their literature.

Ms Palmer has a MA in Creative Writing and her poetry, articles and reviews are widely published. She is a regular tutor on the University’s part-time creative writing courses run by the Centre for Lifelong Learning.

Tickets for the lecture cost £5 and need to be booked in advance. Please send a cheque made payable to the University of Bath to: University of Bath in Swindon, Centre for Lifelong Learning, Marlowe Avenue, Swindon SN3 3JR. The lecture will take place in room 2.6 and parking is free. For queries contact Anne Olesen on 01793 328800 or email

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