Born again Swindonian background


Blogging positive on all things Swindon

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Okay. So the blog title, Born again Swindonian, gives the impression that I was born in Swindon, left and returned in later years. Hence ‘Born again’.  That’s not the case but it’s the best I can come up with that remotely suits my position. I moved to Swindon from a northerly part of the country in the early 1990s. Swindon is now definitely home and I’ve grown very fond of the place. The blog name is meant to be a play on the more common connotation of ‘born again’ – and I am somewhat evangelical in my mission to dispel the all-too-common perception that there is nothing in Swindon to enjoy and celebrate. But there is  – and that’s why I started the blog.

Swindon is anything but soulless. Beneath a sometimes uninspiring exterior there is most definitely a healthy heart of art and creativity and culture, parks and green spaces, good food and coffee and of course its rich railway heritage!

Tiring of all the,’the best thing about Swindon, is the train pulling out of it’ cracks I thought I’d try and redress the balance a bit. And anyway, given the extortionate cost of a train ticket to and from Swindon thanks to the greed of FGW, how can that statement even be true?

So this blog was conceived as way of addressing that received wisdom about the town – and as a means to amassing material for a travel writing module that I followed in my 3rd year at UWE when I did my degree – the travelogue I wrote, centred around the West Swindon sculpture trail is one of the pieces that came out of that and can be read on the blog here:

My starting point when I began blogging back in May 2013 was my personal, and far from definitive, list of: Ten things to celebrate about Swindon:  There are of course many more and indeed the blog has grown enormously since then.

As Swindon Heritage said in the preface to an issue of their splendid  Swindon Heritage magazine:  I use the blog ‘ … to celebrate Swindon’s rich heritage and spread the word to those who still doubt Swindon and its many qualities.’

My origins

  • Born and raised in Whitwell, Derbyshire. Nearest town Worksop, Notts and nearest city Sheffield. So Robin Hood and Peak District country.
  • Moved to Swindon with No 1 daughter (okay only daughter) in 1992 or thereabouts
  • Worked at Swindon Research Councils for about 16 years until early retirement in 2009
  • Did a year volunteering with an adult literacy group at Swindon college and undertook courses in teaching in the lifelong learning sector: PTLLS and CTTLS. Then I went to UWE to get an education! 🙂
  • May 2014 – Joint English Hons BA graduate – 1st class don’t ya know!? 🙂

When I left my part of the world to move to this part of the world I left behind an area that was still ravaged from the legacy of the 1980s miners’ strike. Coming here truly felt like arriving in the land of milk and honey. Hence to a large extent my fondness for and advocacy of Swindon and the decision to create this Swindon blog.

The blog has a Facebook page where you will find links to what’s on the blog and much more besides, so connect with me there.

In yet another guise I run a proofreading and copywriting business AA Editorial Services. You can find out more about here: and here:




  1. Swindon has some great cycle routes too. It is on Sustrans Route 45 which goes from Salisbury right up to Chester. It is also surrounded by by some wonderful countryside and only and hours trainride from London [ if you an afford the fare] What’s not to like?
    Great to see someone extolling Swindon’s virtues!!

  2. Excellent point Helen. Thanks for that. 🙂

  3. I am a Swindonian .i did leave for a while in the 90’s this only made me love my home town more.(theirs nothing like a dirty city to make you home sick) I have a small family business here, we could have gone to Bath,Bristol or such like but no we wanted to inject a little culture into our home town, the journey has been eventful but the people we meet and the little treasures we find in our quest for all things vintage make it the best move we ever made .

    • Tracy, great to hear from you on here. And well done on bringing your venture to Swindon. It’s just this sort of thing that I want to show on the blog: that beneath a rather dispiriting exterior there is so much to celebrate in the town. Good luck!

  4. We’ve been here 10 years this year and I agree – it’s a great place. So much to do here – just have to find it and get out there. My social life has never been better; met some great people, made some wonderful friends; and with both our businesses running from Swindon; our network and knowledge of the area keeps growing. What a love the most is the vast choice of great pubs we have access to and the wonderful countryside surrounding this town.

    • Thanks for the comment P! That’s exactly what I’m trying to get across in the blog. You are right, we do have lots of fabulous countryside surrounding the town. But we don’t actually have to leave the town to find green spaces. Apart from the formal parks – which are numerous and varied – there’s acres and acres of green spaces in Swindon itself. A case in point being just behind Shaw Ridge. Walk up from the cinema to the top of the Shaw Ridge and you come out onto a green space. Here it’s easy to forget you are in a conurbation the size of Swindon. It’s only five minutes from the cinema where you can find ‘How the Mighty Fall’ – but really the whole of this walk takes you through so much green space. It is really fabulous. I can’t speak for the other side of town as I don’t know it too well but here in West Swindon we’re particular blessed with walks and green spaces.And of course: public art!! 🙂

  5. Hi There! My name is Ed. I was wondering if you would be inclined to share one of your Swindonian Coffee Stories on a new blog that I am starting? I would love a story about a cafe in your area of England. Let me know if you would be interested in sharing!

  6. Hi There – will it be possible to get you’re email for more details? Or you can email me at Basically, you would pic the story of a cafe and pictures and I will post it – give you credit, a link to your website, and anything else you would like to add on the post. I’m trying to create a place where people can discover emerging coffee and food writers from around the world. Im glad you want to be a part of that! – Eddie

  7. Pingback: Happy birthday to me! | Born again Swindonian

  8. Great blog – I just found you after you shared one of our Free Art Friday Swindon posts – I am also a “born again Swindonian” after moving here from the Midlands 14 years ago. It’s not a bad ol’ town, I’m very happy here 🙂

  9. Hi Angela, just doing some tests = 2:30 Born again Swindonian background

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