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Six English Towns: Devizes
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Watch 'Six English Towns: Devizes

The late Alec Clifton-Taylor was a much-respected architectural historian and writer.

As a broadcaster, he presented a number of successful television programmes for the BBC.

One of which was 'Six English Towns' which ran for three series' between 1977-1984.

Each edition of the show saw Clifton-Taylor visit a different town in England and offer an architectural study as well as a potted history.

In terms of historical research, the programme is as valid today as when it was made. And it's fascinating to see how the many locations, Clifton-Taylor visited, looked in the mid 1970s to early 1980s.

Devizes Corn Exchange
Devizes Corn Exchange is one of the buildings Clifton-Taylor visits

One such edition of the show, broadcast on 30 September 1984, centred on the town of Devizes.

Throughout the 30 minute programme, Clifton-Taylor is seen visiting all the town's many historical buildings and landmarks including Devizes Castle, St James's Church, The Bear Hotel, the market and Corn Exchange and Wadworth Brewery.

At each point in his journey he reflects on the history of each location and ruminates on the town's varied architecture which stems from the Norman period to Georgian and beyond.

'Six English Towns: Devizes' offers a fascinating snapshot of life in the town in the late 1980s - and will appeal to anyone who remembers the town of the time - or is interested in its long history.

Click the link below to view our extensive collection of archive films of Wiltshire over the years.


Your comments

Very pleased to see this episode (and Bradford-On-Avon) online. I watched these programmes as a youngster and they ignited my interest in buildings and the 'pattern of English building'. Technically they are superb from the music, arial shots and of course Alec Clifton Taylor's unsurpassable knowledge. They are too such a social document now with the cars and fashions of the time. A landmark series for the BBC and I hope they will find their way to DVD with perhaps some footage which wasn't used.

Paul Croston, Hungary

We lived in Devizes for 8 years in the 1970's and returned here to live 3 years ago after 28 years away. This film opened our eyes to features and buildings we perhaps took for granted when we led busier lives.

Colin & Cynthia Crocker, Devizes

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