May 2020

To be clear, this post is about the GWR Weighbridge Swindon as part of the GWR Works – not the Weighbridge Brewhouse as the restaurant that it is now.

The GWR Weighbridge Swindon

The GWR Weighbridge Swindon on Penzance Drive – near the Outlet Centre and the Pattern Store – soon to be the Pattern Church.

Once the home of Archer’s Brewery – now a restaurant.

Photograph taken during the Covid-19 2020 lockdown. This road is never normally quiet like this.

Swindon’s GWR Weighbridge

This GWR weighbridge – part of ‘A’ shop, came into life in 1906. Penzance Drive is now a busy thoroughfare, with housing on the opposite side, going to the Outlet Centre – itself once part of the mighty GWR Works. But imagine the area as it was – packed with railway sidings and full of rolling stock.

Locomotives came into this building for weighing and balancing along a single track.

A few years later came a breeze block extension and a 1920s interior refurbishment.

The Swindon Book by Mark Child tell us that, photographs taken in the place, over the next decade, depict balancing machines named ‘Henry Pooley and Sons, Birmingham and London – and dated 1930

Archer’s Brewery

Between the GWR period and the the buildings’ current use, Archer’s brewery inhabited the place.

According to Quaffle (love that name) Archer’s beer first was brewed in London Street before moving to the weighbridge.

Founded in 1979, by former RAF pilot Mark Archer Wellington and his wife, Wendy, they set up up their brewery in an industrial unit, that once was part of the GWR carriage and wagon works on the aforementioned street.

The Pattern Store and the Turntable

A few yards down the road from the weighbridge, and on the opposite side of the McArthur Glen Outlet centre, is the Pattern Store – becoming the Pattern Church and the turntable.

As the Pattern Store, that building features in Swindon in 50 buildings. As part of a triumverate with the turntable and the water tank on its roof, it features too in my forthcoming Born Again Swindonian Guide. I hope to have that out in the summer.

See this Historic England entry for technical detail: https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1355885