Baker’s Community Café

Baker’s Community Café

29th August 2018

The Baker’s Community Café

It’s been sometime in the coming – you know how it is with building works – it always takes longer and costs more than you think. But at last it’s open and getting underway and, best thing of all, it’s a lovely bit of good news for Swindon’s heritage and the railway village conservation area.

What am I talking about listeners? The Baker’s Community café of course.

the bakers arms community cafe

From guns to buns 

Or as suggested on social media:

From riot to quiet

From thugs to mugs 

Moving on!!

I’m pretty ignorant of the history of this ex railway village pub, but it seems it had a reputation for being ‘a bit rough’ – to understate the case. As this article in the Swindon Advertiser explains:

‘The Bakers Arms will reopen as a community café this week after a makeover that saw builders rip out moulding bar and restore historic fireplaces in the 150-year-old pub.

It will prove a major reversal of fortune for the Emlyn Square pub, which was once a source of anti-social behaviour and ire for residents.

In December 2011, police raided the Bakers Arms and found a shotgun and a large amount of what officers suspected was cocaine. The pub was closed three months later after a review by the council’s licensing panel. .. ‘

Huge congrats to everyone at the Mechanics’ Institute Trust – I’m sure it will be great asset to the central area and to Swindon as a whole. Goodness knows Swindon’s heritage areas need some uplift. So this is super welcome.

Find them on social media:




Swindon stuff to do on the cheap

Swindon stuff to do on the cheap

August 2018

Swindon stuff to do on the cheap

National Cycle Network 45 sign - Swindon stuff to do on the cheap

National Cycle Network 45 sign
The sign shows a person and bicycle icon, with the letters “45” underneath. The direction shown reads:
Swindon Station 3
Chiseldon 8
Avebury 18

A couple of years ago I published a post –  Some of what follows is repeated from the old post – but not all so take a look. But some of it is new stuff.

The best way to see a town is on foot. Indeed it’s astonishing what you see and a learn about a place if you get of the car. So do exactly that and try some of these things out:

  1. The West Swindon Sculpture trail: on the face of it looking at sculptures doesn’t sound much of a family activity. Yet following the West Sculpture trail takes you across acres of West Swindon’s green spaces. It traverses play parks and outdoor gyms. It’s a 5-mile walk that can be cycled and is push chair friendly.

how the mighty fall

Download a map of the trail here. And explore blog posts about the sculptures here:

2. Explore the River Ray Parkway walk. I’ve thus far only done half of this week. We started at Moulden Hill and walked across to Mannington. Fabulously green, this walk follows the Route 45 cycle track. If you’re short enough and the water is low – which it was and my companion and myself are – you can walk right under the Great Western Way.  The map is downloadable here and is courtesy of Swindon Local Studies.

Kissing gate

Old kissing gate along the River Ray Parkway

3. Pack up a picnic and visit one of Swindon’s parks and open spaces.  The above two are perfect for a picnic. As too are the following parks. These are only a few of astonishing number of parks, green spaces, walks and cycle paths that Swindon offers. Google is your friend here.

A. Queen’s Park

B. The Lawn – or Lawn if we’re going to be really proper. And I’m not sure I was in the post I link to. Must edit.

C. Town Gardens

D. The GWR Park – or Faringdon Park

E. Coate Water – where you can find quite the best miniature railway I’ve come across.

See also this post about the Coate Water Diving platform

Mention of the Coate Water railway leads to:

4. The Richard Jefferies Museum:

Free to enter, this museum and its gardens are simply a delight. The museum has its own halt for the Coate Water railway. In the summer there’s cream teas in the garden, sometimes with music of some sort, and they put on all sorts of children’s activities. Visit their website (link in heading above) to find out what’s going on.

So you can find out about this particular writer’s life in the museum. You can also see locations where he lived and worked and went to school by following the

5. Richard Jeffereries Old Town Trail. Here’s a downloadable text file of the trail with a map.

Read about the trial here:

Part 1: 

Part 2:

6. For further urban exploration walk around the town in search of the blue plaques in Swindon. Find a map of them all by following the link to my post about them.

Health Hydro plaque - one of the blue plaques in swindon

Milton Road Baths

7. Try the Explorer’s Guide to New Swindon – get the map produced by Swindon Civic Voice (£2 from the central library) and explore ‘New Swindon.’

8. Go to the Museum and Art gallery in Old Town: they have lots of activities for children in school holidays. Get your #crocselfie taken with the gharial. It’s tradition! Lots of cafe/pub/eating opportunities in Old Town. Combine with a visit to Ton Gardens, Lawn, Richard Jefferies Old Town trial – there’s options!

swindon museum and art gallery






Event: Summer Workshops at Swindon’s Museum and Art Gallery

Event: Summer Workshops at Swindon’s Museum and Art Gallery

11th August 2018

Summer Workshops at Swindon’s Museum and Art Gallery

Doing what it says on the tin – a poster advertising stuff to do with the kids, in the form of summer workshops at Swindon’s museum and art gallery up in Old Town. The activities are sponsored by the friends of Swindon museum and art gallery– an organisation well worth joining.

If you’re the sociable sort then check out Facebook: and Twitter:

And Instagram too:

Summer workshops at museum and art gallery

Event: Transport company’s drive to raise charity funds arrives at fun day

Event: Transport company’s drive to raise charity funds arrives at fun day

10th August 2018

Transport company’s drive to raise charity funds arrives at fun day

Akcess fun day August 19th at Coate Water 
Akcess fun day August 19th

Akcess Medical NEPTS transport

They say you wait for one bus then three come along – well that’s just what’s going to happen when the team at Swindon-based transport company Akcess lay on a bumper fundraising fun day.

As part of the festivities at the event, which takes place at Coate Water on August 19, visitors will be asked to guess the combined weight of three vehicles. The vehicles are from Akcess CIC, a not-for-profit community transport company, and its sister company Akcess Medical, which operates hospital transport.

As well as guess-the-weight, there will be everything from fun fair rides to tombolas and sweet stalls, displays, and old-fashioned races like egg-and-spoon. There will also be a raffle, with local business people generously donating prizes ranging from Swindon Town tickets and swimming lessons, to chocolates and Bluetooth speakers.

All the profits from the event, which starts at midday, will be split between Wiltshire Air Ambulance and Uplands special school in Swindon.

Organising the fun day is Akcess Medical’s crew manager, Tracey Mason.

“Originally, we were going to run a fun day for staff, as we employ about 200 people across the businesses, but then we decided to open it up to everybody who wants to come along and to help charity at the same time,” she said.

“We picked Uplands as we provide transport for a lot of the children to get to and from school, and for school trips, and they are really wonderful. Wiltshire Air Ambulance fits with Akcess Medical, although our ambulances are firmly on the ground!”

Tracey is still looking for people who want to run stalls or displays at the fun day. To get in touch or for more information email or call 01793 855550.

Events: Eastcott Community Organisation Swindon Suffragette Events

Events: Eastcott Community Organisation Swindon Suffragette Events

16th June 2018

Eastcott Community Organisation Eastcott Community Organisation and Swindon Suffragette EventsSwindon Suffragette Events

This month, June 2018, Eastcott Community Organisation and Swindon Suffragette are sharing the story of suffragette Edith New, and her involvement in the campaign that led to the women’s vote. This year is the centenary of the legislation which enabled the first women to vote. Furthermore it’s ninety years since the Equal Franchise Act. This act gave equal voting rights to men and women over the age of 21.
With an award of £1695.00 from the Women’s Vote Centenary Grant Scheme, Savernake Street Social all are staging two free events.
The Women’s Vote Centenary Grant Scheme is a £1.5 million government fund helping local and community groups across England to celebrate the centenary of women gaining the right to vote. There are several funding rounds during 2018.
Further information is available from
Edith New

Event one: Sunday 24th June – EqualiTea

This day of family-friendly activities celebrates past achievements and is set to inspire future equalities campaigners.
Through the words of Emily Wilding Davison, delivered by actor and campaigner Kate Willoughby, people can learn about the ambitions and hopes of the suffragettes. There will be musical performances from Talis Kimberley and the Swindon Community Choir, with the opportunity to join a pop-up choir to sing the modern anthem ‘I Can’t Keep Quiet.’
  • Arts and craft activities include:
  • colouring-in and sending a suffragette postcard
  • drawing an inspirational woman
  • and rock painting.
Adults and children can also cast a vote in a mock polling booth, add equalities issues to a protest banner and enjoy suffragette-themed refreshments.

Event Two: Friday 29th June

The Swindon Suffragette team will present an illustrated talk ‘’Worth the Whipping’’ about Edith New and her contribution to the campaign for Votes for Women.
Sharing photographs and newspaper articles they will give an overview of the suffrage campaign starting with the suffragists in the 1860s, through to the actions of the militant suffragettes which included Edith New, and beyond to the Equal Franchise Act in 1928.
The talk is aimed at adults (and secondary school age children with parental discretion).
Excited by the opportunity to continue sharing Edith’s story is local historian, Frances Bevan. She said: ‘We’ve been researching Edith New for several years and held many successful and well-attended talks and guided walks. Getting this grant and working with Eastcott community Organisation lets us bring a range of activities to a wider audience. We’re thrilled to be able to raise more awareness of Edith’s contribution to women’s equality in this centenary year.’
Also delighted by this grant award and the events it’s made possible is Caroline Davies-Khan, Chair of Eastcott Community Organisation.
‘Edith New was born and lived round the corner from Savernake Street Social Hall, on North Street and Prospect Place. We’re looking forward to working with Swindon Suffragette to share her story with the community in such a creative way.’
For further information about the activities organised by Eastcott Community Organisation and Swindon Suffragette, contact the team on Facebook ‘Swindon Suffragette’ ‘Savernake Street Social Hall’, or contact



Victory Breakfast

Victory Breakfast

14th June 2018

Victory Breakfast

Victory Breakfast

The Victory Breakfast is going to be a splendid event in celebration of votes for women. It’s taking place at Swindon’s Marriott Hotel on Thursday 5th July, 2018 and is raising funds for Swindon’s Womens’ Aid.

Tickets are £10. To get one contact:

Carol:01793 522955

Susan: 07842 489 819

Read more about it in this article in the Swindon Advertiser:

‘Carol Gibbon and Susan Pearson, investigated archives at the London School of Economics to make the victory breakfast as authentic as possible

WOMEN got the vote a century ago – but not all women.

That didn’t come until a decade later, and was marked with a victory breakfast at London’s Cecil Hotel on Thursday, July 5, 1928.

On Thursday, July 5, 2018 at Swindon’s Marriott Hotel, the breakfast will be recreated and the achievement of 90 years ago celebrated…

…Millicent Fawcett, who recently had her statue unveiled in Parliament Square, was involved right from the beginning, when she was a teenager. One of her sisters was the first female doctor, for instance. They were a very feminist-minded family.

“She married an MP who had been blinded in a shooting accident, so she was a secretary from quite a young age and gradually got more and more involved herself. She was there in 1928 at the victory breakfast, so she’d been working all those years and saw the culmination of her efforts.’