Save Ranikhet, the house in South Marston of WW1 Poet, Alfred Williams,

Save Ranikhet, the house in South Marston of WW1 Poet, Alfred Williams,

5 December 2019
Signatures: 293Next Goal: 500
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Why this petition matters

Started by anne featherstone

Alfred Williams was born and lived in South Marston.  He wrote poems about his home and family, places nearby, his experiences in the Swindon Railway Works and of his army days in India where he served his country in World War 1.  He named his house Ranikhet, after a place in India he fell in love with.  Ranikhet is situated at the junction of Chapel Lane and Old Vicarage Lane.

Alfred's house, Rankihet was recently sold and modernised for the rental market.  The new owner has gained permission to build 2 houses in the back garden and has now submitted a plan to build another house on the garden at the front.  We need to stop this.

Alfred is also known both locally and nationally, as The Hammerman Poet because of the 23 years he spend working in the GWR railway factory stamping shop.  His book, 'Life in a Railway Factory', is undisputed as the most important literary work ever produced in Swindon, about Swindon.

Alfred rode his bicycle over 5000 miles around Wiltshire to listen to and collect folk songs.  He taught himself many languages and wrote several books.  These did not sell and he and his wife, Mary, lived in Ranikhet, in poverty. 

Alfred and Mary built Ranikhet with their own bare hands using bricks that they transported from the old canal.  Unable to make money as an author and poet, Alfred tried to make a living out of market gardening, but failed.  He worked hard, yet died in poverty at the age of 53 and Mary watched the funeral procession to the Church, from her bedroom window.  Mary, devoted to Alfred and herself malnourished, died just a few weeks later.  They are buried together in South Marston's churchyard.

Published works by Alfred Williams:

Songs in Wiltshire, 1909
Poems in Wiltshire, 1911
Nature and Other Poems, 1912
A Wiltshire Village, 1912
Cor Cordium, 1913
Villages of the White Horse, 1913
Life in a Railway Factory, 1915
War Sonnets and Songs, 1916
Roung About the Upper Thames, 1922
Folk Songs of the Upper Thames, 1923
Selected Poems, 1926
Tales from the Panchatantra, 1930
Tales from the East, 1931


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Signatures: 293Next Goal: 500
Support now