Sir Terry Pratchett lived in south Wiltshire for many years and is well known in the county for his work at literary, community and charity events. In some recent books the influence of the chalk landscape in which he lived has been very apparent. However it is his book Raising Steam that has recently been added to the Wiltshire Collection at the Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre. In Raising Steam the power of steam locomotion comes to Discworld and the small settlement of Swine Town on the Sto Plain becomes a fast growing centre of engineering, mirroring the growth of our own Swindon. His railway company also provides homes and social facilities for railway workers, just like the GWR. There also happens to be a Fat Controller, the original of which was created by the Rev. Awdry after living in Box when a boy, listening to the steam locomotives chuffing and puffing around Box Tunnel, and later writing Thomas the Tank Engine books based on these memories.
Like Mike Marshman our County Local Studies Librarian at the Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre, Terry Pratchett was a fan of Steeleye Span since they were first formed – actually Mike was listening to members of the group before that, including Tim Hart and Maddy Prior at the Folk Singers Club in Swindon. Author and musicians, great fans of Discworld, have collaborated to produce a 16 track CD on the story of the Wintersmith. Needless to say that a copy now reposes in the Wiltshire Collection.
RIP Sir Terry, you will be missed.