September 2022

How Bright Ideas Built a Railway Town called Swindon

Hannah Dosanjh’ Children’s Book – it’s a wonderful thing.

Hannah Dosanjh Children's Book
Hannah Dosanjh Children’s Book

Hot off the press is this gorgeous book written and illustrated by Swindon artist, Hannah Dosanjh. Surprisingly, despite a tsunami of writings about Swindon, my own publications included, no-one has, to my knowledge, written Swindon’s story in a child-friendly format. So congrats Hannah for filling that gap. Oh to be this talented!

The back cover of the book
Back cover of Hannah Dosanjh Children’s Book

Full of delightful illustrations by the author, this book uses a series of rhyming couplets to tell Swindon’s story in child-friendly format. I love all of it, but what impresses me a great deal is how, without over-egging the pudding, she conveys the good, the bad and the ugly about the early years of this fledgeling town. For the families who pitched up in New Swindon, by any means possible – often on foot, didn’t find a version of Bournville or Port Sunlight.

The GWR/New Swindon Company were not paternalistic and benevolent as were the Cadbury family. Thus the early residents of New Swindon found themselves in the wild west of the southwest. The new railway village was lawless and insanitary – people were dying in droves and the settlement almost failed. She also covers the dangers of toiling in the Works and the creation of the Medical Fund Society. And Hannah has managed to convey all that in a format that children – of all ages – can relate to. I can’t speak of it highly enough!

Inside flyleaf of Hannah Dosanjh book

A bit about Hannah

From her website:

‘Hannah lives just outside Swindon, and is a Parish Councillor. She exhibits regularly with Swindon Open Studios, has a love of local history ( she recently painted a mural along the Mechanics’ Institution) and painted the first “Swindog”  ready to launch the Julia’s House sculpture trail in summer 2023.

This year she published her first book for children “A Railway Town Called Swindon” available to buy from this website. Here’s the link to buy Hannah’s book:

She is a member of the Association of British Naïve Artists 

Finally, be warned; if you’re standing in a pub wearing leopard skin lycra, she’s probably the woman in the corner furtively sketching you…’

Hannah on Facebook:

Hannah Dosanjh Children's Book - Hannah Dosanjh and Angela Atkinson flogging their wares outside the Baker's in the GWR railway village.
Hannah Dosanjh and Angela Atkinson (your premier blogger 😉 ) flogging their wares outside the Baker’s in the GWR railway village.

Book launch

Hannah is launching her lovely book at Swindon central library on October 15th. She’ll be there from 12 to 2pm. So an ideal opportunity there to get a signed copy from the author.

The Swindogs are coming

Find out more about the Swindogs and see some pictures of the one that Hannah painted here:

Born Again Swindonian Logo

Sign up to receive awesome Swindon content in your inbox, every week.