Park House Swindon

I’ve done the GWR workers’ tunnel and the GWR barracks in the railway village conservation area in this series of Swindon in 50 More Buildings. So now it’s time now to look at Park House.

Grade II listed, now the home of Business West, Park House Swindon, sits on Church Place overlooking the GWR park, in the railway village.

Park House Swindon
Park House – thanks to Chris Eley for the photo

1876 saw the GWR directors agree to build a house and surgery combined. The house, Park House, was for the company’s chief medical officer and his family. Thus, that year saw a substantial yellow brick house erected on the south side of Taunton Street.

Park House then became home and consulting room and treatment rooms for the company’s then chief medical officer, GM Swinhoe. Later, it became familiar to generations of GWR men. They had to go to Park House for their medical examinations before they could secure employment. Either in the Works themselves or as footplate staff.

Inside the front door at Park House.

A precarious position

Before this building’s arrival though, Swindon’s medical officer endured a more precarious position.

This article, by Frances Bevan, from the Swindon Advertiser ‘Popular doctors led health battle’ tells how Dr Stuart Rea, was the one most often called to accidents at the Works. The 1847 creation of the GWR Medical Fund Society put this terms and conditions of employment on a more secure footing.

*For more on the Medical Fund Society and the MFS hospital – now central community centre – I refer you to Secret Swindon and Swindon in 50 Buildings respectively.

Related: Healthcare History and Swindon

Sketch in the healthcare history blog above by Dona Bradley, architectural illustrator:

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