OARE like many villages has changed a great deal in the last 100 years. Apart from the homes, jobs and what clothes people wore some of the most obvious changes are the roads.

In my last piece there was a photo from the Rob Dickens collection of the main street through Oare which was strikingly different from how it looks today. The pub (now closed) is still there but road widening had pushed the cottages back. A photograph supplied by Conrad Pearce who lives in the village shows a slightly different view of the village this time looking down the road.

Back to Rob’s photos and a look back at the railway links in Marlborough. Sadly, the town no longer has a rail link which of course could change in the future since railways and finally back in fashion as the roads clog up. In fact much of the old lines remain and in theory could be reopened one day.

Looking back with Rob’s photographs older readers will be aware that the town had not just one railway but two. He explained that there was an upper and lower station with two lines one east to west and one north to south built originally built by different companies – the Great Western Railway and The Midland and South Western Junction Railway (M&SWJR), which were competitors in the rail boom of Victorian England but joined forces later.

In 1921 the Government rationalised the many different companies operating across the country with the GWR taking over the M&SWJR. The stations came to be known as the Marlborough High Level and Savernake Low Level, while the former M&SWJR stations were renamed as Marlborough Low Level and Savernake High Level. During both World Wars the lines were used for troop movements especially in the Second World War in the build up to D-Day. After 1945 they continued to be well used but with the rise of the motor car passenger numbers fell until their closure in the early 1960s and disappearance of the station buildings.

During the war they were well used but by the 1950s under public ownership they declined and were closed in the 1960s.

One building in Marlborough that has survived into the modern age is the Merchant’s House in the High Street. Last month the town council voted to renew its seven-year lease retaining museum, gift shop and period rooms of the 350-year-old building in the town’s possession. The photograph from Rob shows the building in the Edwardian era when it was a shop. Possibly taken in pre-First World War Marlborough there’s a female cyclist looking in the window and two girls in pinafores next to a letterbox. Interestingly the upper floor windows are open suggesting domestic arrangements are in progress airing the rooms and perhaps changing bed linen.

Finally, Rob has provided this wonderful photograph of the Marlborough Town Band in their exquisite uniforms. The date is unknown so if any readers are able to help then drop me line along with any details of the history of this long-lost musical addition to the town’s cultural heritage. Email harry.mottram@newsquest.co.uk