It’s funny where a Facebook conversation can take you. Today it’s about Swindon’s gorilla sculpture. Now residing in Queen’s Park, it began its Swindon life under the gazebo/pavilion (whatever we’re calling it) by the Wyvern Theatre.
Only yesterday I put together a post about a long-standing piece of Swindon’s public art. Namely the Tricentre Chi Sculpture in the town centre dating to 1991. But for this post we come up-to-date with the plough horse sculpture on the Gablecross roundabout.
So this post is about a thing – not a new thing – but a thing that I’ve not got around to putting on the blog. I’ve no idea why. I lose the plot on a regular basis. The subject of this post, the Chi sculpture by the Tricentre (Allied Dunbar Tricentre as was) had its unveiling in 1991. And that would be around the time I came to Swindon. Though I’ve not been writing this blog all that time.
I’m somewhat late, well over two years, in celebrating this VJ Day memorial in Queen’s Park in Swindon. But I happened to pass by the park the other day so took the opportunity to nip in and take a picture of it.
The Stratton Peace Memorial Swindon
So yesterday, together with two friends and two dogs, I strolled round Stratton following a Stratton history trail. One of the things this trail takes in, is the Stratton Peace memorial, the main focus of this post. But I’ll come back to that in a bit. First a bit of info about the Stratton treasure/history trail.
Purton Road Bridge Swindon – something I’ve seen often but have never thought too much about until Roger Ogle posted the photograph below on Facebook. That prompted me to ask him for more information about it.
So a week or so ago I watched a super talk, via the ubiquitous Zoom, arranged by the Friends of the Museum and Art Gallery. The speaker was a sculptor by the name of Joseph Ingleby. His name might not mean anything to you but a piece of his work will. For Joseph is the creator of the Turtle Storm sculpture that resides in Queen’s Park.
The Watchers restored.
Among the doom and gloom of Covid and Brexit and town centre shop closures there’s some good local news in the restoration of The Watchers.
The Watchers form part of the West Swindon sculpture walk. These sculptures are a culturally significant part of the West Swindon landscape, installed in the late 1970s/early 1980s. Roger Ogle has done much to champion them – then much than him – later so have I. Despite the fact that they’ve been shamefully neglected by our town’s leaders for decades now, they remain things of enjoyment and an untapped resource I’m sure. If the powers that be did but know it.
Public Art in Swindon: I’ve no idea how much public art other towns have but it seems to me that Swindon has an astonishing amount.
‘When I began blogging about Swindon, the public art was one of the first things I turned my keyboard to. Not that I even knew the term then. Back in the corner of Derbyshire I left behind, the closest I got to it was an ancient village pump, a cenotaph and a redundant and rusting pit-winding wheel. Hence, discovering all the public art in Swindon was quite the revelation. It’s not possible to write about all of it here but, if you’re so inclined, Born Again Swindonian has oodles of posts about Swindon’s public art – in particular the West Swindon sculpture trail.’
You may (or may not) remember that Angela and I walked half of the River Ray Parkway last year, from Moulden Hill to John Lewis. This summer (2019) we finally got around to walking the second half, John Lewis to Coate Water.
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.
I’ve been meaning for long enough to get some photographs of this memorial in the GWR Park on the blog. It had its unveiling back in November 2018.