Public Art at Orbital Centre Flies

Public Art at Orbital Centre Flies

Public art at Swindon’s Orbital centre recognises the role of Swindon people in both the defence of the realm and the town’s transport history

Everyone knows about Swindon’s incredible railway history, and the effect it had on the world during its heyday. But fewer people are aware of is Swindon’s aviation heritage. But this piece of public art at the Orbital centre in north Swindon is doing its bit to spread the word.

Made in Swindon: https://youtu.be/a6YIZnYdarQ

Extending from predictions of manned flight by Swindon’s nature writer Richard Jefferies in the 1800s, to the town’s links with today’s space industry, Swindon reaches for the skies. And beyond.

In the Orbital Shopping Centre in North Swindon, there’s a celebration of the town’s commitment to being at the forefront of transportation and the defence of the nation.

A range of artworks and interpretation boards tell the story. The installation includes paving slabs with pictures from students at Abbey North School, poems from children at Haydon Wick and Haydonleigh Primary Schools, and ever-changing art from other local children in the British Land Visitor Centre.

The centre piece is a sculpture based on the shape and size of a Spitfire wing in honour of the aircraft built in Swindon towards the end of World War II. 

The inspiration, plus the research and design of the sculpture and other works around the Orbital, is the work of local historian/artist Mike Pringle, of Green Rook. Mike is also director of the Richard Jefferies Museum near Coate Water. 

In the following YouTube clip (thanks to Roger Ogle) you can hear Mike talk about the inspiration for the sculpture:

https://youtu.be/TYwMEHQBR3o

The figures within the wing represent the men and women of Swindon involved in the town’s aviation heritage, both in the sky and on the ground. Swindon not only provided pilots for the Battle of Britain, it also provided female pilots for transporting planes from one place to another, as well as many women working on aircraft repair and construction.

Through the centre of the sculpture, the two uprights and the glass panels represent tracks and sleepers of the railways, out of which Swindon’s rich engineering heritage was born.

The figures within the wing represent the men and women of Swindon involved in the town’s aviation heritage, both in the sky and on the ground. Swindon not only provided pilots for the Battle of Britain, it also provided female pilots for transporting planes from one place to another, as well as many women working on aircraft repair and construction.

Through the centre of the sculpture, the two uprights and the glass panels represent tracks and sleepers of the railways, out of which Swindon’s rich engineering heritage was born.

The management of Orbital shopping park,
Broad Gates Estates, commissioned the public art on behalf of British Land. Local fabricators, Stainless Supplies Limited laser cut and welded the sculpture.

Shoebox Theatre

Shoebox Theatre

At last! It’s been my intention to feature the small but perfectly formed Shoebox Theatre on here for ages of a crow. Yet somehow or other I’ve failed. Never mind – they’re here now!

Who or what are they?

shoebox theatre

The box office/cash desk/reception at the Shoebox Theatre

As it says on the about section of their website:

‘The Shoebox Theatre is a 50-seat flexible studio space in the heart of Swindon’s award winning GWR Railway Village. *

Managed by the Wrong Shoes Theatre Company, the space supports new and contemporary work, hosts an exciting programme of contemporary theatre and provides quality theatre training.’

*In truth the historic and important Health Hydro/Milton Rd baths lie just outside the boundary of the actual railway village conservation area. Though they are in the railway village.

Having been in the Artsite/Postmodern/old post office building on Theatre Square, the theatre company are now ensconced in Milton Road baths in the former laundry rooms. Here, in collaboration with GLL and the Wrong Shoes theatre company, they’ve converted these historic rooms into an affordable fringe theatre and rehearsal venue.

It seems to me that this theatre and arts space is a fabulous addition to Swindon’s cultural offering. I love that they have Swindon-born (well Purton but close enough for government work) Billie Piper as a patron! Before she filled our screens as Rose Tyler in Dr Who, my awareness of her had been a passing one. I’m sure as heck aware of her now as she’s gone from strength to strength. Well done Billie.



Having been in the Artsite/Postmodern/old post office building on Theatre Square, the theatre company are now ensconced in Milton Road baths in the former laundry rooms. Here, in collaboration with GLL and the Wrong Shoes theatre company, they’ve converted these historic rooms into an affordable fringe theatre and rehearsal venue.

It seems to me that this theatre and arts space is a fabulous addition to Swindon’s cultural offering. I love that they have Swindon-born (well Purton but close enough for government work) Billie Piper as a patron! Before she filled our screens as Rose Tyler in Dr Who, my awareness of her had been a passing one. I’m sure as heck aware of her now as she’s gone from strength to strength. Well done Billie.

An Interview with Luke Marquez

A superb way to find out more about Shoebox is to read this interview with Luke Marquez, the artistic director of the theatre.

He’s right in this: ‘Swindon has an abundance of talented young performers and emerging artists but, like me, they were seeking theatre out of town and more importantly they relied on creative opportunities further afield. We needed an affordable creative space to create new work and so do the other amazing talents in the town and that’s what we want to achieve with the Shoebox Theatre.’

The theatre runs an educational programme, with weekly classes for beginners, advanced classes for the more experienced. Also weekly stage combat classes and masterclasses with theatre professionals. Find out more about the theatre’s education programme here.

All in all Shoebox Theatre is a perfect fit. No blisters here! Long may that continue.

The theatre on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wrongshoestheatre





David Bent – Out of the Box

David Bent – Out of the Box

June 2019

Hello listeners. I appear to be reduced to sharing Linda Kasmaty’s blogs at the moment! Pfft.

The other day it was her post about Tim Carroll at the Bath Society of Arts Exhibition. Today it’s a Friends of Museum and Art Gallery post about David Bent’s recent talk to the friends. I was at that talk so don’t ask me what I was doing – or not doing – I’ve no idea.

There’s so much going on and I’ve got a business to run and Swindon Civic Voice stuff … hark, I hear violins! That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it. So here’s a link to Linda’s post about David Bent’s ‘Out of the Box’ talk.

It’s really best to read Linda’s post but here’s a teeny extract:

David’s Father was, in his words  ‘an aviation nutcase’, he was also a brilliant aeromodeller whose first job was at Croydon airport working for Sir Alan Cobham a pioneering aviator . David & his dad watched the first public flight of the Red Arrows in 1965 together at Biggin Hill.’

David’s talk at Swindon’s museum and art gallery came close to the end of his Out of the Box exhibition there. It’s been a gorgeous exhibition with a super cross section of David’s output. Because, all though most known (it’s arguable) for his aviation work and his association with the Red Arrows, that isn’t all he does.

Visit his web site at David Bent Studio and you’ll see what I mean. I have of course, written about David more than once on this here blog so have a root through these posts here: https://swindonian.me/category/artscultureheritage/david-bent/

David’s exhibition garnered some super feedback as can be seen in this image from the Museum and Art gallery’s Twitter feed.

'Circus' by David Bent - David Bent out of the box
Circus’ by David Bent

NB: For only £15 a year, you can become a Friend and come along to their talks, join them on trips out to places like The Royal Academy and Pallant House Gallery.
There’s always something going on. To become a Friend or find out more about about them visit: www.friendsofsmag.org 

Tim Carroll at Bath Society of Artists

Tim Carroll at Bath Society of Artists

It’s always fab to have some nice news to share on Born again Swindonian about any one of the lovely artists here in Swindon.

This post is about Tim Carroll and the Bath Society of Artists Open Exhibition 2019, for whom he’s the exhibition organiser.

Not only is one of Tim’s paintings, Orangerie, on the exhibition poster, he also has some paintings in the exhibition.

‘This highly popular exhibition showcases the best of the region’s artistic talent and is a must for art lovers and collectors alike, with all works for sale.

The Society was founded in 1904 with 26 members. It has grown over the years to a membership of around 120 diverse, talented artists.

Many distinguished 20th-century painters have exhibited with the Society including Walter Sickert, Patrick Heron, Mary Fedden and Howard Hodgkin.’

Gardens, galleries and walking around

On her lovely blog, Gardens, galleries and walking around, Tim’s partner Linda and great mate of mine, has put a post on her blog about Tim Carroll at Bath Society of artists and the opening night at the Victoria Art Gallery. With Tim being exhibition organiser, Linda has all the ‘behind the scenes’ info. As she says in her blog, it’s a tremendous undertaking to select and gather work together to exhibit in the wonderfully prestigious Victoria Art Gallery.

And a few more photos below:


Other Swindon artists – see also:

  1. David Bent: https://swindonian.me/category/artscultureheritage/david-bent/
  2. Ken White: https://swindonian.me/category/artscultureheritage/ken-white/
  3. Marilyn Trew: https://swindonian.me/2019/03/19/marilyn-trew-artist/
  4. Dona Bradley: https://swindonian.me/2019/02/02/dona-bradley-architectural-illustrator/

Blue Plaque unveiled at  Richard Jefferies Museum

Blue Plaque unveiled at Richard Jefferies Museum

2nd June 2019

Today, at long last, a blue plaque was unveiled at the Richard Jefferies Museum at Coate Yay!

I’m so pleased to see this. There’s a blue plaque in Surbiton on the house where Jefferies and his wife lived. There’s even a non-blue plaque on Surbiton library. So it’s high-time his birthplace in Swindon got one.

This video on my under-used Born again Swindonian YouTube channel shows Mike Pringle unveiling the plaque: https://youtu.be/R7ktJcyMc5E

The other plaques that Mike refers to:

Blue plaque over the blue front door of the Richard Jefferies Museum.  Blue Plaque unveiled at  Richard Jefferies Museum.

The new blue plaque over the front door of the Richard Jefferies Museum.

Bust of Richard Jefferies looking out of the window. Blue plaque over front door.

The bust of Richard Jefferies looks down over his new plaque!

Also on the subject of blue plaques in Swindon is this almost comprehensive post: https://swindonian.me/2018/08/16/blue-plaques-in-swindon/ The post contains a Google map that takes you round most of them. I should get that updated really …

See also about the Richard Jefferies museum here. And the
Richard Jeffries society here.

And there’s more on Swindon’s blue plaques on this Swindon Heritage blue plaques webpage.

The Royal Big Knit

The Royal Big Knit

The Royal Big Knit

The 8th of June 2019 is a special day. The Yarn balls are aligning for a spectacular event : The Royal Big Knit.

The Swindon Big Knit is hosting another afternoon of knitting, crocheting and sewing to create lovely warm blankets for Swindon’s homeless.

These events are held every other month or so, at the Customer Service Hub at the Swindon Orbital Shopping Centre. Everyone is welcome to come along and help. It’s free to join in and all materials are provided.

We’re always appealing for more knitters, crocheters and sewers to help make the blankets. The workshops are only two and a half hours long and warm blankets for the homeless are in such great demand. It’s a short time to make as many blankets as we can and extra hands are appreciated.

the royal big knit - crown on a cushion

The next event on the 8th of June is a special date because it’s the day to celebrate the Queen’s Birthday.

So, for a bit of fun we thought we would call it the Royal Big Knit.


Nearer the time we’ll email out free knitting and crochet patterns for attendees to make themselves a crown to wear at the event.

We will email the patterns out to everyone signed up to the Swindon Big Knit Newsletter. You can add yourself here http://eepurl.com/dHLx11

NB: The crowns are for fun and not a requirement.

The 8th of June is also World Wide Knit In Public Day which started in 2005 as a way of bringing knitters together.

We hear a lot about how knitting is good for your wellbeing. Yet it it’s a very solitary activity unless you bring a lot of knitters together in one room – and then it becomes a yarn party!

The up and coming Swindon Big Knit is an important event in the yarn calendar. We’re Purling One for the Queen, Knitting one for the World Wide Knit In Public Day and Gaining one for the Swindon Homeless. While having a good time!

We would love to invite more people to the Big Knit events. It’s such a good cause for the crafters and the recipients. If you can, please come along and join in.

If you can’t make the June date add yourself to the newsletter so we can let you now when the next event is.

When and Where?

The Royal Big Knit is happening on the 8th June 2019 at the Costumer Service Hub, at the Swindon Orbital.

It’s the last building on the same side of the road of Boots and DW, towards the roundabout near Haydon Wick.

It starts at 2pm till 4.30pm – it’s free and all you need to bring is yourself. You can bring your own tools if you prefer
.

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