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Goldiggers project wins community award

26th October 2020 / News, News-HP

A project celebrating the iconic Chippenham night club, Goldiggers, has won a prestigious national award.

Every year the Community Archives and Heritage Group give awards to outstanding groups and projects. During a virtual presentation ceremony on Monday 26 October they named the Goldiggers project, run by Chippenham Museum with Wiltshire College and University Centre, as winner of the 2020 Community Engagement Award.

Housed in the former Gaumont cinema building in Timber Street, Goldiggers opened in 1981. During the 1980s it was part of Richard Branson’s Virgin chain of go-to nightspots playing host to the top bands of the day. The club closed in 2000 and the building was later demolished.

The project captured the memories of those that worked at, or were regulars of, Goldiggers. Over 40 interviews were conducted by Wiltshire College media students providing valuable information about the development of the premier music venue.

Chair of Amenities, Culture and Leisure, Councillor Desna Allen, said “this has been an inspiring project which has encouraged different generations to work together. Goldiggers has been remembered with great fondness and shows that although the club is gone it is definitely not forgotten”.

Chair of Amenities, Culture and Leisure, Councillor Desna Allen, and Head of Heritage and Museum Services, Melissa Barnett, with the award

Chair of Amenities, Culture and Leisure, Councillor Desna Allen, and Head of Heritage and Museum Services, Melissa Barnett, with the award

Melissa Barnett, Head of Heritage and Museum Services, said “In addition to a wealth of personal memories the project has led to the donation of a range of objects to the museum, developing a collection, which will preserve the story of this important venue for the future”.

All of the interviews can be viewed on the project website, Goldiggers Memories designed and produced by Wiltshire College students.

Nicola Dew lecturer in media production said: “It’s really important for our students to get real-world experience and even better when that benefits the community at the same time. We’ve enjoyed watching the oral history come together and we are very proud that it has gained national recognition for Chippenham Museum.”

Wiltshire College and University Centre students' pop up studio at Chippenham Museum lr

Wiltshire College and University Centre students’ pop up studio at Chippenham Museum

The award is part of a double celebration for the project as it coincides with the release of a short documentary produced by TV, film and music students at Wiltshire College. This had been planned for completion in April and was due to be shown during an exhibition at the museum celebrating the venue, but had to be postponed.

The film brings together highlights from the three years’ of interviews collated into a 30-minute tribute to the club, with an original score from the college’s music students.

Watch the Goldiggers documentary here

group of students inside goldiggers exhibition

Wiltshire College and University Centre TV & Film Second Year Students and staff at Chippenham Museum’s Goldiggers exhibition

Chippenham Museum, a Chippenham Town Council facility, is free entry with level access throughout. Open every day except Sunday, drop in between 10am and 1pm or book a free timed ticket 1pm – 4pm giving up to six people sole use of the museum for one hour. Booking is available via the museum’s page on Chippenham Town Council’s website or by calling 01249 705020.