18th June 2017
Swindon Civic Day 2107
Hello listeners. So yesterday, in my Swindon Civic Voice hat, I was busy down at the central community centre. The erstwhile GWR medical fund hospital was the hub of Swindon’s civic day celebrations and the great get together to commemorate Jo Cox (the MP murdered a year ago yesterday).
Visit Swindon History blogpost to find out more about the past life of this community centre: http://swindonhistory.blogspot.co.uk/2011/09/great-western-railway-medical-fund.html
Coordinated by the national civic voice movement, town and cities up and down the land organise events for national civic day to help visitors understand more about the area they live in. And there’s no escaping that Swindon’s railway history is just a little bit special…
So together with the Mechanics’ Institution trust we had an open doors day. Visitors were able to see bits of the Health Hydro not normally open to the public, see the renovations in what was the Baker’s Arms (soon to be community cafe) and take a tour of the railway village under the expert guidance of Daniel Rose. Among other things.
The turnout was great – which is heartwarming – with people queuing outside the railway cottage museum for the first tour of the day.
Having missed other opportunities to do the railway village tour I took this one. Always something new to learn. It has to said – the entire railway village area is tourist gold. Or rather it could be. And should be.
Here’s a few random photos. There’s more on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pg/swindoncivicvoice/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1497402710282812
No 1: Me talking to a visitor. No 2: the original schoolhouse for GWR workers’ children – now part of UTC. N0 3: one of the back alleys. No 4 & 5: signage at the railway cottage museum. Nos 6- 9 a fabulous tapestry depicting the key buildings of the railway village. It’s been in storage for years but has new been cleaned and given pride of place in the central community centre.
It’s a lovely thing and the photos don’t do it justice. Best thing is to get to the community centre and see it for yourself.
Huge thanks to Martha Parry and the other Swindon Civic Voice volunteers. Also to Michael Grey for bringing his stones – they didn’t roll – and Martin Newman for having a display out about the listed buildings and structures in Swindon. There’s a a staggering number as it happens. And of course to Hannah Parry and Michael Scott for the great get together and not forgetting tour guide extraordinaire, Daniel Rose of the MIT. And more besides.
Find Swindon Civic Voice:
Become a member: http://www.swindoncivicvoice.org.uk/membership-2/