In CalneHistory


By Emma Kirkup

As part of Heritage Open Days, I made a visit to Calne to join in with one of the town’s first Heritage Week events – a guided tour of the town’s Heritage Quarter.

Meeting at Calne Heritage Centre, I had a brief look around taking in some of the town’s history from the woollen industry through to the Harris factory which remained in the town until the 1980s and was famous for bacon production.

A group of 28 of us met for this free walk which was guided by local historian Nick Baxter.
Our first stop was the Town Hall where we heard about how this used to be a mill. Nick was very good at describing what the town would have looked like and pointing out historic features you might not see otherwise.

We strolled into the local parkland, Castle Fields – where a section of the Wilts & Berks Canal passes through. There are theories that there was a castle that was located here. In fact, as we were there a plaque was unveiled by the town’s Mayor detailing more about where they think the castle was located.

Throughout the walk there was a lot of talk about the Harris factory and the huge influence it had on the town. In its prime – the factory (which produced bacon and other pork products) employed 2,000 people, many of whom lived locally. There’s a reminder of the factory at Phelps Parade where a statue of two pigs can be found.

Another of Calne’s interesting facts is that oxygen was discovered here by Joseph Priestley at Doctor’s Pond – just a short walk from the town centre will take you to this location.

We finished our walk by heading to the Green – where there are old school houses and some beautiful architecture. Priestley’s former house is also located here.

Here’s a selection of photos I took along the way:


Wilts & Berks Canal, Calne



Calne (C) Mike Hasted

Looking to visit the amazing town of Calne?...If so, click here to get the latest Calne tourist information direct from the official Wiltshire tourism site!

Calne Heritage Centre
Heritage/Visitor Centre
Calne Heritage Centre

The Calne Heritage Centre tells the story of Calne and the surrounding areas.



  1. Rob
    Thanks Emma for a great review of our historic town, is it ok to use it on our town team site
    Kind regards
  2. Calne Town Council
    Visitors to Calne can now enjoy two hours free parking in the Heritage Quarter Car Park, which can be entered from the A4 opposite the Town Hall.

    For more information, visit: .

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