August 2021

Mechanics’ Matters Newsletter No 1 – Quarterly Newsletter

Mechanics’ Update

Mechanics' Matters Newsletter No 1 - screengrab of a newslettter

The Mechanics’ Matters Newsletter
The building has been through three independent reviews. Two of these reviews covered viability proposals. And we’re pleased to say that a use, based on the Trust’s own proposals, is deemed viable.

The proposals are mainly based on a theatre, flexible space, education, retail and community use. The other review, led by the Council, concerned the actual structure. It’s feasible to restore the building – it can become a reality.

The current situation is that an independent heritage consultancy is using resident feedback to improve the viability proposal. That will ensure we cover every base and that we base future funding applications on sound proposals.

Changes at the Baker’s cafe

With regret, due to the pandemic, we’ve had to close the Bakers Café for the foreseeable future. We’ve not traded for 15 months and that’s led to a review of options. For the interim, we’ll use the Bakers as two community rooms. The smallest of these rooms will also act as a visitor centre.

These are excellent, clean facilities, right in the town centre and with good public transport. We offer flexibility and a range of room layouts. Space is available at attractive prices, in particular for local or charitable organisations. For booking – email: centralcommunitycentre@mechanics-

Mechanics' Matters Newsletter No 1 - the Baker's


The Swindon Heritage Action Zone was

Launched in June 2019, the Historic England heritage action zone is an ambitious five- year plan. One that aims to revitalise the town’s unique heritage and unlock its economic potential. The hope is, that by improving the zone it will build on England’s favourite conservation area, the town’s Railway Village. The village and its surroundings are a rich heritage area. It’s an area full of promise for residents, businesses, tourists and investors.

You can see a virtual tour of the HAZ on the this webpage:

The website also contains a map to explore, as well as key projects aimed at achieving the improved heritage zone.

The intent is to regenerate Brunel’s 1841 Great Western Railway Works and the village built to house its thousands of employees. It will restore and repair neglected public buildings and bring them back into use. The HAZ will also improve public spaces and connections between the village and the town centre thus promoting and celebrating the area’s special qualities. In turn that will help to instil a sense of local pride.

See more about the GWR railway village here.

Heritage open days

We’re looking forward to reopening the Railway Village Museum on Saturday
11 and Sunday 12 September 2021, 10-4pm as part of the Heritage Open Days festival.

Heritage open days text - Mechanics' Matters Newsletter

You can find out more here:

The Railway Cottage Museum -signage on the railway cottage - Mechanics' Matters Newsletter

You can arrange private tours and school visits in exchange for a donation. For more information please contact Katie Knowles –

How to get involved

The Mechanics’ Institution Trust is a charity and relies on volunteers and charitable funding. That said, we do generate income from the buildings we currently have responsibility for. We have a range of opportunities and are looking for volunteers and Trustees.

If you’re interested, contact us here. We’d love to hear from you!

MIT contact info
Booking the Community Centre or Bakers
Please e-mail your enquiry to:

See also:

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