Public art in Swindon: Isambard Kingdom Brunel

 Yeah, I know, strictly speaking a statue rather than a sculpture but it’s close enough eh? And he has to be mentioned somewhere does old Isambard Kingdom Brunel – such an awesome name! And he, together with Sir Daniel Gooch, did put Swindon on the map.

I love that I live somewhere with such a heritage. I love that the Designer Outlet Village has retained much of the character of the old railway sheds and has pieces of engineering equipment dotted about and a train in the food court. It makes it really personal to Swindon. When shopping there I often think of the men and women that laboured so hard in the railway works.

statue Isambard Kingdom Brunel in Swindon. Wilts.
Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Statue in Swindon. Erected in 1973.

Back to Brunel

Anyway, returning to this statue of Brunel. Without him and Gooch putting their GWR works where they did, Swindon would arguably have remained a small, insignificant rural market town.

The statue you see in the image above is located close to the Brunel shopping precinct looking straight at Iceland; the frozen food store not the country.

As it says on the STEAM museum website: ‘The pioneering vision and engineering genius of Isambard Kingdom Brunel led to the Great Western Railway network becoming regarded as the most advanced in the world’.

There’s a wealth of information on that there interweb for anyone wanting to know more about the founder of new Swindon. Or even better hotfoot it to the STEAM museum in Swindon which is well worth a visit. I’ve been several times myself now and have always enjoyed it.

STEAM – ‘The Museum of the Great Western Railway is housed in a beautifully restored Grade II railway building in the heart of the former Swindon railway works. Situated right opposite the Swindon Designer Outlet, the museum tells the story of the men and women who built, operated and travelled on the Great Western Railway. The railway often referred to by historians and railway fans as ‘God’s Wonderful Railway’.

Wax statue of Brunel
Wax sculpture of Brunel in Swindon’s Steam Railway museum.

Why not make a day of it? When you’re ready for a spot of light refreshment why not try out some of the eating places I’ve written about on here?

The town centre of course has its McDonald’s and numerous Wetherspoons. All of which are fine and dandy in their place and I visit them too. But if you fancy a change then eschew them and give one or more of the ‘independents’ a try.

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