Born again Swindonian background

Blogging positive on all things Swindon

born again swindonian logo

I’m Angela Atkinson and I’m Born Again Swindonian – amongst other things. 


I started this blog in 2013 when studying for a joint English Hons degree at the University of the West of England, in Bristol.  

Two motivating factors drove me:

  1. In my forthcoming third year, I planned to undertake a travel writing module: Moving Words. A conversation my the module leader gave me the idea of using Swindon as source material for some of my portfolio submissions. So in part, I conceived the blog as a means of collecting material.
  2. I was, by this point in my studies, a little tired of hearing the constant drip, drip, drip of negativity towards, and misconceptions about, Swindon and decided to use the blog as a means of redressing the balance.

Thus it was that Born again Swindonian was … born. Yes – I realise that title rather gives the impression that I was born here, went away and then returned. That’s not the case. But the phrase is a deliberate play on Born again Christian and all that is activated in the mind by it. Because I do love Swindon. I am passionate about Swindon. It has got under my skin.

Moreover, I’ll confess to being a mite evangelical in my  mission to dispel the all-too-common perception that there is nothing in Swindon to enjoy and celebrate and that Swindon has nothing of cultural value. It’s a risable suggestion.

Swindon – Soulless?

Never! Swindon is anything but soulless. Beneath a sometimes uninspiring exterior there is most definitely a healthy heart of art and creativity and culture, parks and green spaces, good food and coffee and of course its rich railway heritage!

My Origins

I came here in the early 1990s from a once-mining village on the Derbyshire/Nottinghamshire border. Nearest town Worksop. Nearest city (and it wasn’t that near) Sheffield. Other nearby places, Mansfield and Chesterfield. So, as you see, on the edges of three counties in effect. Derby, the county town, was waaaaaaaay the other side of a large county – never went there, never had cause to.

So this blog was conceived as way of addressing that received wisdom about the town – and as a means to amassing material for the aforementioned travel writing module.

When I left my part of the world to move to this part of the world, I left behind an area that was still ravaged from the legacy of the 1980s miners’ strike. Coming here truly felt like arriving in the land of milk and honey. Hence to a large extent my fondness for, and advocacy of, Swindon and the decision to create this Swindon blog.

Swindon station sign - born again swindonian background

Travelogue

The travelogue I wrote, centred around the West Swindon sculpture trail is one of the pieces that came out of that and can be read on the blog here: https://swindonian.me/2014/05/24/the-west-swindon-sculpture-trail-a-travelogue/

As my starting point when I began blogging back in May 2013, I compiled a personal, and far from definitive, list of:

Ten things to celebrate about Swindon: https://swindonian.me/category/ten-things-to-celebrate-about-swindon/  There are of course many more and indeed the blog has grown enormously since then.

As Swindon Heritage said in the preface to an issue of their splendid  Swindon Heritage magazine:  I use the blog ‘ … to celebrate Swindon’s rich heritage and spread the word to those who still doubt Swindon and its many qualities.’

Other info

Social Media 

The blog has a Facebook page where you will find links to what’s on the blog and much more besides, so connect with me there.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Anjelica1956

LinkedIn:

Personal profile:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/aaedits-bas/

Company page: https://www.linkedin.com/company/born-again-swindonian/

 Other hats

In yet another guise I run a proofreading and copywriting business AA Editorial Services. You can find out more about here: http://www.aaedits.co.uk.

12 Comments

  1. helen holly

    Swindon has some great cycle routes too. It is on Sustrans Route 45 which goes from Salisbury right up to Chester. It is also surrounded by by some wonderful countryside and only and hours trainride from London [ if you an afford the fare] What’s not to like?
    Great to see someone extolling Swindon’s virtues!!

  2. Tracy Cox

    I am a Swindonian .i did leave for a while in the 90’s this only made me love my home town more.(theirs nothing like a dirty city to make you home sick) I have a small family business here, we could have gone to Bath,Bristol or such like but no we wanted to inject a little culture into our home town, the journey has been eventful but the people we meet and the little treasures we find in our quest for all things vintage make it the best move we ever made .

    • amaatk123

      Tracy, great to hear from you on here. And well done on bringing your venture to Swindon. It’s just this sort of thing that I want to show on the blog: that beneath a rather dispiriting exterior there is so much to celebrate in the town. Good luck!

  3. Pam Jones

    We’ve been here 10 years this year and I agree – it’s a great place. So much to do here – just have to find it and get out there. My social life has never been better; met some great people, made some wonderful friends; and with both our businesses running from Swindon; our network and knowledge of the area keeps growing. What a love the most is the vast choice of great pubs we have access to and the wonderful countryside surrounding this town.

    • amaatk123

      Thanks for the comment P! That’s exactly what I’m trying to get across in the blog. You are right, we do have lots of fabulous countryside surrounding the town. But we don’t actually have to leave the town to find green spaces. Apart from the formal parks – which are numerous and varied – there’s acres and acres of green spaces in Swindon itself. A case in point being just behind Shaw Ridge. Walk up from the cinema to the top of the Shaw Ridge and you come out onto a green space. Here it’s easy to forget you are in a conurbation the size of Swindon. It’s only five minutes from the cinema where you can find ‘How the Mighty Fall’ http://swindonian.wordpress.com/2013/06/24/west-swindon-sculpture-walk-part-2-how-the-mighty-fall/ – but really the whole of this walk takes you through so much green space. It is really fabulous. I can’t speak for the other side of town as I don’t know it too well but here in West Swindon we’re particular blessed with walks and green spaces.And of course: public art!! 🙂

  4. Seattle Coffee Scene

    Hi There! My name is Ed. I was wondering if you would be inclined to share one of your Swindonian Coffee Stories on a new blog that I am starting? I would love a story about a cafe in your area of England. Let me know if you would be interested in sharing!

    • amaatk123

      Hello Ed

      Good morning to you. Thank you for your interest in my blog. And yes, I would to share. Let me know who, what where etc. Y’know. Cheers! A

  5. Seattle Coffee Scene

    Hi There – will it be possible to get you’re email for more details? Or you can email me at Contact@SeattleCoffeeScene.com. Basically, you would pic the story of a cafe and pictures and I will post it – give you credit, a link to your website, and anything else you would like to add on the post. I’m trying to create a place where people can discover emerging coffee and food writers from around the world. Im glad you want to be a part of that! – Eddie

  6. Sarah

    Great blog – I just found you after you shared one of our Free Art Friday Swindon posts – I am also a “born again Swindonian” after moving here from the Midlands 14 years ago. It’s not a bad ol’ town, I’m very happy here 🙂

    • amaatk123

      Hey Sarah – thanks for the comment. Yep, I’m happy here too. Cheers! 🙂

  7. PaulAtApex

    Hi Angela, just doing some tests = 2:30 Born again Swindonian background

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