“I am going to design…a Station after my own fancy.” Isambard Kingdom Brunel
And he did rather didn’t he?
As was amply demonstrated throughout 2015 with its Battle of Britain celebrations centred around Squadron Leader Harold Starr, one of The Few, and culminating in a royal visit and a flypast from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, Swindon knows how to mark an occasion.
So, make no mistake about it, 2016, with its planned packed calendar of events, is going full steam ahead to celebrate this special anniversary.
At the back end of last year I attended the launch of Swindon’s 175 celebrations. Held at STEAM museum the event was 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 (#madeinswindon) can certainly 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.
- The King George V – the most powerful and beautiful loco from the golden age of steam. Made in Swindon in 1927.
- 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.
- The Magic Roundabout. Made in Swindon in 1972.
- Garrard record decks – Swindon-based inventors of the record changes. Made in Swindon.
- Spitfire – the world’s most iconic aircraft. Made in Swindon since 1943
- Cars – from the 1950s Swindon has designed and built cars, including over 2,000,000 Hondas. Made in Swindon.
This link will take you to the brochure from the launch event: http://issuu.com/paulrgentleman/docs/swindon175launch
But even before the launch event there was huge excitement in Swindon at the return to their birthplace, from the railway museum in York, of two mighty engines: the King George V and The City of Truro. You can read more about that event in the blog of Swindon Heritage magazine: http://www.swindonheritage.com/blog/the-return-of-the-king/ – there’s lots of fab photographs too.
I’ve recently published a post on Born again Swindonian which has some dates for your diary of the forthcoming events. More details will probably be published on the blog nearer the time but for now – save the dates: http://swindonian.me/2016/01/13/swindon-175-save-the-dates/
Born Again Swindonian