Made in Swindon Art Trail: Part 1

Made in Swindon Art Trail: Part 1

19th April 2016


Well I say part 1 – I’m not sure if I’ll get round anymore of it or, if I do, if I’ll have time to blog about. But in a spirit of hope if not expectation here we have:

Part 1: Swindon Dance, Artsite and the Central Library.

First stop for me on the Made in Swindon Art Trail was Swindon Dance. Read more about Swindon Dance themselves here:

In the town hall, the home of Swindon Dance, is a collaborative project between David Bent and his Movement 2000 work (read more of that here: and Swindon’s Harbour Project. 

Moving, humbling and thought provoking. The pictures aren’t fab – sorry about that – go see them!

Next up was the Central Library to check out a display by an artist I’m not familiar with: Juliet Wood. Her display is called Brunel’s People 2 and I loved it.

Find out a little more about her here:

Juliet Wood Brunel's People

Juliet Wood Brunel’s People

From the Swindon 175 art trail website: Juliet Wood – ‘Alone and Together – Brunel’s People’

A selection from this series, with some new paintings and oil pastels. Apart from portraits, the figurative scenes I paint are invented from sketchbook drawings, inspired by human interaction and sheer force of life which I often find in Swindon, a favourite urban subject.”


My 3rd and final visit yesterday was to Artsite and the Post Modern – where there’s always something of interest.

Find out about Artsite and what they do here: and here:


From the Swindon 175 art trail website: Artsite – ‘Who do we think we are? – Postcards of Swindon’

“An exhibition of local artist’s responding to Swindon’s urban landscape. Artsite is a catalyst for the visual arts in Swindon. Providing affordable studios, exhibition and workshop space for artists and the community in Theatre Square.”

I lingered here for a chat with Vicky and Sally and was thrilled – if unsurprised in some ways – to hear that they’d been visited by a local councillor from the Forest of Dean area.  He’d heard of Artsite and the work they do and wanted to use it as a model for something in their own area. Surely if ever there was a case for the art work below that’s it?

applause stencil

I REALLY love this piece. If someone wants to buy it for me I wouldn’t say no. #justsaying

I was also rather taken with these – but you need to visit to seem them properly:

Swindon in 2041

Swindon in 2041

So that’s it – my roundup of my first visit to the Made in Swindon art trail. It’s only a flavour so go and get the full art feast yourself.


Thar she blows: the GWR Hooter

Thar she blows: the GWR Hooter

26th March 2016


Today has been a special day for Swindon. One that not even some pretty diabolical weather could dampen. Despite the howling wind and driving rain a large crowd stoically gathered outside Swindon’s STEAM museum for a long-awaited and much-vaunted moment.

For today, at 4.30pm outside STEAM museum, the replica hooter was sounded once more to mark the 30th anniversary of the closure of the Swindon Works.


I very nearly didn’t bother to go and I got absolutely drenched. Oh how I suffer for this blog! 😉

Fab hooter facts

Read some hooter FAQs here on the Swindon Heritage magazine website.  And some more here on an earlier post of mine.

See the hooter:

Hear the hooter! 



For more information about all that’s happening in Swindon for its 175 celebrations go here:

Swindon 175 Art trail

Swindon 175 Art trail

March 2106

Know your art from your elbow with the Swindon 175 Art trail


5th June 2016- 3rd July 2016


From the Swindon Art’s Trail website: ‘The Swindon Arts Trail will feature some of the very best art Made in Swindon, displayed at venues across the town. … Many of the artists featured draw inspiration from our industrial and urban heritage (Ken White, David Bent, David Robinson, Tim Carroll, Mark Worrall, Juliet Wood, The Visual Drop). Others highlight the natural beauty and open spaces to be found across Swindon (Beverley Greig, Caroline Day, Terry Humphries, Susan Carr).’

This listeners I’m really rather excited about. I might even have an art attack! 😉

Some of the artists featured in this art trail have been written about previously on this here Born again Swindonian blog.  I own prints and other items created by a number of them but others in this list are unknown to me so I’m looking forward to discovering their work.

I’ll tell you now of some of them I know and those I miss I’ll beg your pardon

Ken White: When I first set up this blog Ken White was one of the ‘things’ I featured in my 10 things to celebrate about Swindon. Ken is famed for his murals, all but one of the Swindon ones sadly now gone. He’s also the creator of Virgin’s iconic red lady emblem and a huge body of work related to Swindon and its GWR past. Indeed Ken began his working life ‘inside’ – as working in the GWR Works was referred to.

Caroline Day and the Town Garden’s Artist Group:  I got to know about Caroline’s work and about the group as a whole when it started appearing on my Facebook feed. Caroline kindly wrote me a lovely goest post back in 2014:

Tim Carroll:  I own a couple of pieces of Tim’s work. One that I think of as swimmers – it’s a sculptural sort of a piece -and the other is one of his 100 views of Swindon: the David Murray John Tower.

From the Swindon Advertiser: “… It all started with a vague notion of producing something completely different from his usual work, which often includes classically inspired themes or great leaps of imagination. He also quite fancied working outdoors.

Tim’s modus operandi is to make meticulously detailed drawings of street scenes in his sketchbook – which takes an average of three-and-a-half hours – before producing colourful acrylic or water colour versions back at his home studio.

He originally set himself a year to complete the project but it has taken much longer than anticipated.

Now he’s aiming for two years and two months – just in time for the 175 Swindon Art Trail which will feature several key local artists displaying images of the town at various venues to celebrate 175 years since the opening of the railway works and the beginning of modern Swindon.”

David Bent:I’ve only got to know David more recently. He’s very well-known as an aviation artist and that body of his work is the main thrust of this post: It features a nice little film clip of him talking about the beauty of aircraft design.

He does though of course have a huge body of other work – notably his Movement 2000 collection  – painted in 1999/2000 as an artistic response to the Balkan wars and the refugee crisis that created. And never was a thing more apposite than  now.

Here’s two of his Movement 2000 pictures:

See more in the post about David’s Movement 2000.

Working with the Harbour Project – The Harbour Project, in their art sessions, are exploring David’s work – in particular his use of symbolism in his “Movement 2000” paintings collection.

The hope is that they’ll exhibit some of the art work produced, alongside David’s, when he exhibits in Swindon Dance as part of refugee week, also in collaboration with Swindon175 and the Made In Swindon Art Trail.  For more about Dave and his work, visit or on Facebook:

That’s a really fabulous and exciting initiative and something for us all to celebrate as well as the art trail as a whole. In answer to the question: ‘What’s Swindon got in a the way of art?’ – rather a bloody lot frankly!

The Harbour Project: 

“At The Harbour Project we welcome and support refugees and asylum seekers in Swindon.

To those who’ve risked their lives, families and homes fleeing war and persecution, we provide friendship and hope for a future. With this purpose, we’ve been working tirelessly since the Kosovo crisis in 2000. Today, we’re aiding people from across the world.

We became a registered charity in 2003 when a small team of staff committed resources to running daily drop-in services, Monday to Friday. Whether it’s recreational activities, assistance with legal processes or help with social welfare, we’re still giving all we can to new visitors … “

On Facebook:

Swindon Dance: 

Swindon Dance is located in the heart of Swindon, where from its base in the town’s former Victorian Town Hall, it has for over three decades been a leading innovator in Dance Development in the UK.

Each year thousands of people of all ages and abilities Take Part in a comprehensive range of quality classes, project and performances. For many this will be a leisure pursuit and a fun pathway to health and well being but for many others Swindon Dance has provided a step into an amazing career in dance … “

On Facebook:

Swindon 175: Save the dates

Swindon 175: Save the dates

January 13 2016


Hello Listeners

2016 is the year of Swindon 175:

“On 25 February 1841, GWR directors gave the go-ahead for the railway works to be built in Swindon – following the advice and recommendations of Locomotive Superintendent Daniel Gooch. He identified the town as being the ideal place for the GWR’s central repair workshops. Construction started immediately and a new town was born!

Throughout 2016 we will be celebrating this historic occasion plus the huge achievements that Swindon has made in the last 175 years.”


So this post is a simple shout-out for some of the events planned so you can get them in your diary. More details will come as each one gets closer. But for now – lick your pencils and get them diarised.






23RD JUNE – 

9TH & 10TH JULY – 






Made in Swindon: Celebrating 175 years

Made in Swindon: Celebrating 175 years

The year 2016 marks 175 years since the birth of Swindon as a railway town…

I am going to design… a Station after my own fancy; that is, with engineering roofs, etc. Isambard Kingdom Brunel

And he did rather didn’t he?



It’s rather fitting I think, that this multicultural town of Swindon – the new Swindon –  was made possible by a man of French descent. Though born in England, Isambard was sent to school in France for a time before returning to work with his father, Sir Marc Isambard Brunel.

logo swindon 175

Last night I was fortunate enough to attend the launch ‘do’ for a year of celebrations to mark 175 years of the birth of Swindon as a railway town. And a very splendidly done affair it was too.

Not only was the event a fabulous platform (brace yourselves now – railway related word play is likely to puther out as thickly as when the City of Truro was getting up a full head of steam!) to launch the events of 2016, it was also a reminder of just how proud of Swindon we really should be. Yes – because of Brunel and God’s Wonderful railway. But not just because of that.

Made in Swindon can be described as ‘Trains, planes and automobiles’ – but gosh there’s so much more besides! YES THERE IS. Don’t doubt it.

Indeed Graham Carter of Swindon Heritage gave a fantastic presentation listing tons of reasons why we should be proud of Swindon. Yup. Tons of fantastic, wonderful amazing ‘things’ that were made in Swindon.

Here – taken at random – are six of them.

  1. The King George V – the most powerful and beautiful loco from the golden age of steam. Made in Swindon in 1927.
  2. The GWR medical fund: this was the forerunner of the NHS and that didn’t come about for another 101 years. Made in Swindon in 1847.
  3. The Magic Roundabout. Made in Swindon in 1972.
  4. Garrard record decks –  Swindon-based inventors of the record changes.
  5. Spitfire – the world’s most iconic aircraft. Made in Swindon since 1943
  6. Cars – from the 1950s Swindon has designed and built cars, including over 2,000,000 Hondas.

So toot the whistle people of Swindon. Get behind the train of events ( I told ya!) – it’s gonna be an awesome, eclectic ride through 2016. You surely don’t want to be the wrong side of the tracks?! 😉

Read about the return of the King here:


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