Swindon: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Coordinates: 51°33′30″N 1°46′52″W / 51.558333°N 1.7811111°W / 51.558333; -1.7811111

The landmark David Murray John tower, seen from the Westcott Recreation Ground.
Swindon is located in Wiltshire

 Swindon shown within Wiltshire
Population 155,432 
OS grid reference SU152842
    - London  81mi 
Unitary authority Swindon
Ceremonial county Wiltshire
Region South West
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town SWINDON
Postcode district SN1-6, SN25, SN26
Dialling code 01793
Police Wiltshire
Fire Wiltshire
Ambulance Great Western
EU Parliament South West England
UK Parliament North Swindon
South Swindon
List of places: UK • England • Wiltshire

Swindon (About this sound pronunciation ) is a large town and unitary borough authority in the ceremonial county of Wiltshire in south west England. It is midway between Bristol, 40 miles (64 km) west, and Reading, 40 miles (64 km) east. London is 81 miles (130 km) east.

Swindon railway station is on the line from London, Paddington to Bristol. Swindon Borough Council, is a unitary authority independent of Wiltshire Council since 1997. Residents of Swindon are known as Swindonians. Swindon's motto is "Salubritas et Industria" (health and industry).

Swindon was named an Expanded Town under the Town Development Act 1952 and this led to a major increase in its population.[1] In the 2001 census the population of the Swindon urban area was 155,432, while around 184,000 lived in the borough, which includes the large villages of Highworth and Wroughton.





The original Saxon settlement of Swindon sat in a defensible position atop a limestone hill. It is referred to in the Domesday Book as Suindune, believed to be derived from the Anglo-Saxon words swine and dun meaning 'pig hill', or possibly 'Sweyn's hill', where Sweyn would be the local landlord.

Industrial Revolution

Swindon was a small market town, mainly for barter trade, until roughly 1848. This original market area is on top of the hill in central Swindon, now known as Old Town.

The Industrial Revolution was responsible for an acceleration of Swindon's growth. It started with the construction of the Wilts and Berks Canal in 1810 and the North Wilts Canal in 1819. The canals brought trade to the area, and Swindon's population started to grow.

Railway town

  Swindon Area Railway Map
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 GWML to London
Highworth branch line 
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 Stratton Park Halt
Stratton St Margaret Works 
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M&SWJR to Cheltenham 
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 M&SWJR to Southampton
Hayes Knoll 
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 Chiseldon Camp Halt
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Moredon Platform 
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 Swindon Town
Moredon Power Station 
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 Rushey Platt
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Golden Valley Line 
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 Wootton Bassett
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 SWML to Swansea
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 GWML to Bristol

In 1840, Isambard Kingdom Brunel chose Swindon as the site for the railway works he planned for the Great Western Railway. Eastwards towards London the line was gently graded, while westwards there was a steep descent towards Bath. Swindon was the junction for the proposed line to Gloucester.

Swindon Junction station opened in 1842 and until 1895 every train stopped for at least 10 minutes to change locomotives. As a result, the station hosted the first recorded railway refreshment rooms. There were three storeys to the station in 1842, with the refreshment rooms on the ground floor, the upper floors housing the station hotel and lounge. That building was demolished in 1972, and replaced by an office building with a single-storey modern station under it.

The town's railway works were completed in 1842. The GWR built a small railway 'village' to house some of its workers. People still live in those houses and several of the buildings that made up the railway works remain, although many are vacant. The Steam Railway Museum and English Heritage, including the National Monuments Record, now occupy part of the old works. In the village were the GWR Medical Fund Clinic at Park House and its hospital, both on Faringdon Road, and the 1892 health centre in Milton Road – which housed clinics, a pharmacy, laundries, baths, Turkish baths and swimming pools – was almost opposite.

From 1871, GWR workers had a small amount deducted from their weekly pay and put into a healthcare fund – its doctors could prescribe them or their family members free medicines or send them for medical treatment. In 1878 the fund began providing artificial limbs made by craftsmen from the carriage and wagon works, and nine years later opened its first dental surgery. In his first few months in post the dentist extracted more than 2000 teeth. From the opening in 1892 of the Health Centre, a doctor could also prescribe a haircut or even a bath. The cradle-to-grave extent of this service was later used as a blueprint for the NHS.[2]

The Mechanics' Institute, formed in 1844, moved into a building looking rather like a church and included a covered market, on 1 May 1855. The New Swindon Improvement Company, a co-operative, raised the funds for this path self-improvement, and paid the GWR £40 a year for its new home on a site at the heart of the railway village. It was a groundbreaking organisation that transformed the railway's workforce into some of the country's best-educated manual workers.[3]

It had the UK's first lending library,[4] and a range of improving lectures, access to a theatre and a range of activiies from ambulance classes to xylophone lessons. A former Institute secretary formed the New Swindon Co-operative Society in 1853, which, after a schism in the society's membership, spawned the New Swindon Industrial Society that ran a retail business from a stall in the market at the Institute. The Institute also nurtured pioneering trades unionists and encouraged local democracy.[5]

When tuberculosis hit the new town, the Mechanics’ Institute persuaded the industrial pioneers of North Wiltshire to agree that the railway's former employees should continue to receive medical attention from the doctors of GWR Medical Society Fund, which the Institute had played a role in establishing and funding.[6]

Swindon's ‘other’ railway, the Swindon, Marlborough and Andover Railway, merged with the Swindon and Cheltenham Extension Railway to form the Midland & South Western Junction Railway, which set out to join the London & South Western Railway with the Midland Railway at Cheltenham. The Swindon, Marlborough & Andover had planned to tunnel under the hill on which Swindon's Old Town stands but the money ran out, and the railway ran into Swindon Town railway station, off Devizes Road in the Old Town, skirting the new town to the west, intersecting with the GWR at Rushey Platt and heading north for Cirencester, Cheltenham and the LMS, whose 'Midland Red' livery the M&SWJR adopted.

During the second half of the 19th century Swindon New Town grew around the main line between London and Bristol. The Old Town, the original market town, merged with its newer neighbour at the bottom of the hill to become a single Swindon.

20th century

Swindon in 1933

On 1 July 1923 the GWR took over the largely single-track M&SWJR and the line northwards from Swindon Town was diverted to Swindon Junction station, leaving the Town station with only the line south to Andover and Salisbury[7][8][9] The last passenger trains on what had been the SM&A ran on 10 September 1961, 80 years after the railway's first stretch opened.

During the first half of the 20th century the railway works was the town's largest employer and one of the biggest in the country, employing more than 14,500 workers. The works' decline started in 1960, when it rolled out Evening Star, the last steam engine to be built in the UK[10] The works lost its loco building role and took on rolling stock maintenance for British Rail. In the late 1970s much of the works closed, and the rest followed in 1986.

21st century

In 2001 construction began on Priory Vale, the third and final instalment in Swindon's 'Northern Expansion' project, which began with Abbey Meads and continued at St Andrew's Ridge. In 2002 the New Swindon Company was formed with the remit of regenerating the town centre,[11] to improve Swindon's regional status. The main areas targeted are Union Square, The Promenade, The Hub, Swindon Central, North Star Village, The Campus and the Public Realm.

In February 2008 The Times named Swindon as one of "The 20 best places to buy a property in Britain" [12]. Only Warrington had a lower ratio of house prices to household income in 2007, with the average household income in Swindon among the highest in the country.

In October 2008 Swindon made a controversial move to ban fixed point speed cameras. The move was branded as reckless by some[13] but by November 2008 Portsmouth, Walsall and Birmingham councils[14][15] were also considering the move.

Notable people

Geography and climate

The town has an area of approximately 40 km² (25.33 mi²).

Swindon has a temperate climate, with roughly equal length winters and summers. The landscape is dominated by the chalk hills of the Wiltshire Downs to the south and east.


A Swindon-built locomotive (Hagley Hall) on display in the eating area of the McArthur Glen Designer Outlet, Swindon.

The local council was created in 1974 as the Borough of Thamesdown, out of Swindon Borough and Highworth Rural Councils. It was not initially called Swindon, because the borough covers a larger area than the town and encompasses villages and land. It was eventually renamed to Borough of Swindon in 1997, however. The borough became a unitary authority on 1 April 1997[16], following a review by Local Government Commission for England. The town is therefore no longer under the auspices of Wiltshire Council.

The borough consists of parished and non-parished areas. Parished areas inlcude Bishopstone and Hinton Parva, Blunsdon St Andrew, Castle Eaton, Chiseldon, Covingham, Hannington, Haydon Wick, Highworth, Inglesham, Liddington, South Marston, Stanton Fitzwarren, Stratton St Margaret, Wanborough, Wroughton.

The executive comprises a leader and a cabinet made up from the Conservative Group. The makeup of the council is Conservative 42 councillors, Labour 12, Liberal Democrat 3 and 2 (previously conservative and labour[17][18]) independents.[19]

Swindon is represented in the national parliament by two MPs. Anne Snelgrove (Labour) was elected for the South Swindon seat in 2005, and Michael Wills, also Labour, has represented North Swindon since 1997. Prior to 1997, there was a single seat for Swindon, although much of what is now in Swindon was then in the Devizes seat.

2001 Boundary Commission Changes: NORTH SWINDON COUNTY CONSTITUENCY (67,106). Eleven wards of the Borough of Swindon:- Abbey Meads, Blunsdon, Covingham and Nythe, Gorse Hill and Pinehurst, Haydon Wick, Highworth, Moredon, Penhill, St Margaret, St Philip, Western. SOUTH SWINDON COUNTY CONSTITUENCY (70,794). Eleven wards of the Borough of Swindon:- Central, Dorcan, Eastcott, Freshbrook and Grange Park, Old Town and Lawn, Parks, Ridgeway, Shaw and Nine Elms, Toothill and Westlea, Walcot, Wroughton and Chiseldon. [1]


The 2001 census shows there were 180,061 people and 75,154 occupied houses in the Swindon Unitary Authority.[20] The average household size was 2.38 people. The population density was 780/km² (2020.19/mi²). 20.96% of the population were 0–15 years old, 72.80% 16-74, and the remaining 6.24% were 75 years old or over. For every 100 females there were 98.97 males. Approximately 300,000 people live within 20 minutes of Swindon town centre.

The Wilts and Berks Canal near Rushey Platt, Swindon.

It is forecast that there will be a 70,000 (38.9%) increase in Swindon's population by 2026 from the current 180,000, to 250,000.[21] The size of the population and urban area has raised the possibility of city status.

The ethnic make-up of the town was 95.2% white, 1.3% Indian, and 3.5% other. 92.4% were born in the UK, 2.7% in the EU, and 4.9% elsewhere.

The majority of Swindonians (70.3%) identify themselves as Christians. This is followed by those of no religion (19.2%), Muslims (1.0%), Sikhs (0.6%), Hindus (0.6%), other (0.2%) and Jews (0.1%). In addition, 8.0% of people chose not to answer this question in the 2001 census[22].

Swindon is considered to be a microcosm of the whole United Kingdom in its demography. It has thus been used for market research purposes and trials of new products and services including the ill-fated Mondex electronic money.

In May 2007 65.3% of households in Swindon had broadband Internet access, the highest in the UK, up 5.5% from June 2006.[23]

A 2007 report by Endsleigh Insurance says it was the second safest place to live in the UK, second only to Guildford in Surrey.[24] This was based on the number of insurance claims made and burglaries and accidents reported. Endsleigh said: "Swindon is a great example of where local authorities, working hand in hand with the community, have played a key role in bringing down crime"[24]

Polish community

After the end of World War II, Polish refugees were temporarily housed in barracks at Fairford RAF base about 25 km (15 miles) north. Around 1950 some settled in Scotland and others in Swindon[25] rather than stay in the barracks or hostels they were offered.[26]

The 2001 UK Census found that most of the Polish-born people had stayed or returned after serving with British forces during World War II. Swindon and Nottingham were parts of this settlement.[27] Data from that census showed that 566 Swindonians were Poland-born.[28] Notes to those data read: ‘The Polish Resettlement Act of 1947, which was designed to provide help and support to people who wished to settle here, covered about 190,000 people...at the time Britain did not recognise many of the professional [qualifications] gained overseas...[but] many did find work after the war; some went down the mines, some worked on the land or in steel works. Housing was more of a problem and many Poles were forced to live in barracks previously used for POWs...The first generation took pains to ensure that their children grew up with a strong sense of Polish identity.’

In 2004, NHS planners devising services for senior citizens estimated that 5 percent of Swindon's population were not ‘ethnically British’[29] and most of those were culturally Polish.

The town's Polish ex-servicemen's club, which had run a football team for 40 years, closed in 2007. Barman Jerzy Trojan blamed the decline of both club and team on the children and grandchildren of the original refugees losing their Polish identity.[30]


Major employers include the Honda car production plant at an old Vickers factory site on the former World War II RAF base of South Marston; BMW/Mini formerly Pressed Steel Fisher in Stratton; mobile phone company Motorola; Dolby Labs; and retailer W H Smith's distribution centre and headquarters. The electronics company Intel has its European head office on the south side of the town. Insurance and financial services companies such as Nationwide Building Society and Zurich Financial Services, the energy company RWE which includes the well known retail brand npower, the fuel card and fleet management company Arval, pharmaceutical companies such as Canada's Patheon and the United States-based Cardinal Health have their UK divisions headquartered in the town. Swindon also has the registered Head Office of the National Trust

Other employers include several of the national Research Councils, the British Computer Society, Alcatel-Lucent, eCommerce provider Shopatron, divisions of Tyco International, consumer goods supplier Reckitt Benckiser and a branch of Becton Dickinson.


At the junction of two Roman roads, the town has developed over the centuries, with the assistance of the GWR and the canals, into a transport hub. It has two junctions (15 and 16) onto the M4 motorway and is on the ex-GWR main line to London.

Swindon bus operators are Thamesdown and Stagecoach.
The local council acknowledges the need for more car parking as part of its vision for 2010.[31]
Swindon is one of the locations for an innovative scheme called Car share. It was set up as a joint venture between Wiltshire County Council and a private organization which now has over 300,000 members registered. Despite the name, however, it is a carpool or ride-sharing rather than a car share scheme, seeking to link people willing to share transport.



The town is notable for its roundabouts and there is a calendar featuring a different roundabout each month.[32] The best-known is the 'Magic Roundabout'. This is not one roundabout but five,[33] on at the junction of five roads including Drove Road, Queens Drive and Fleming Way. It is built on the site of Swindon wharf on the abandoned Wilts & Berks Canal, near the County Ground. The official name used to be County Islands, although it was colloquially known as the Magic Roundabout and the name was changed in the late 1990s to match its nickname. The roundabout is the subject of the song English Roundabout from the album English Settlement by local band XTC.

Tourism and recreation


  • Swindon was chosen to be the host of Radio 1's Big Weekend in 2009. The event was held in Lydiard Park over the weekend of 9 and 10 May 2009.
  • The town has a live music scene, venues such as The Beehive, Riffs Bar, The 12 Bar and The Victoria attract local acts as well as touring national acts and host Swindon's annual music festival the Swindon Shuffle.[34][35]. The Oasis Leisure Centre and the County Ground are also used for some of the more major events.
  • The Arts Centre, located in Old Town, is a 212 seater theatre which features music, professional and amateur theatre, nationally-recognised comedians, films, children's events, and one-man shows.
  • The Wyvern Theatre features events in film, comedy, and music.
  • Swindon hosts festivals such as the Swindon Festival of Literature and the annual Swindon Mela (an all-day celebration of South Indian arts and culture) in the Town Gardens — an event which attracts up to 10,000 visitors each year.[36]


McArthur Glen Designer Outlet, a shopping complex built within the disused Swindon railway engine works
  • The Brunel Centre and the Parade are shopping areas in the town centre, built along the line of the filled-in Wilts and Berks Canal (where a canal milepost can still be seen).
  • Swindon Tented Market located in the Town Centre, close to the Brunel Centre, was built in 1994. It reopened in October 2009, having been closed for several years.
  • Retail parks include Greenbridge, West Swindon Shopping Centre, Stratton and the Orbital Shopping Park.
  • McArthur Glen Designer Outlet is an indoor shopping mall for reduced price goods (mainly clothing), using the buildings of the disused railway engine works. The outlet is adjacent to the Steam Museum.
  • Craft shops within Studley Grange Craft Village, inside Blooms Garden Centre, just off junction 16 of the M4 motorway.
  • Small specialist shops within BSS House in Cheney Manor Industrial Park and Basepoint Business Centre.

Green spaces

  • Public parks include Lydiard Country Park, Stanton Park, Barbury Castle, Queens Park, Town Gardens and Coate Water.
  • Shaw Community Forest is being developed on the site of a former landfill site in West Swindon.




King George V pulling the 'Bristolian' passenger train at the Swindon Steam Railway Museum.

Swindon has a daily newspaper, the Swindon Advertiser, with daily sales of about 21,000. Other newspapers covering the area include Bristol's daily Western Daily Press and the Swindon Advertisers weekly, the Gazette and Herald. It's All About[37] a free magazine distributed in Swindon'The Local Buddy' The Wiltshire Ocelot (a free listings magazine), Swindon Star, Hungry Monkeys (a comic), Stratton Outlook, Frequency (an arts and cultural magazine), The Great Swindon Magazine, the Swindon Business News and The Swindon Link (for information on the goings on in Swindon).


Local radio stations include Heart Wiltshire and Brunel FM in the commercial sector, with BBC Radio Swindon as a publicly funded alternative. An AM station, Classic Gold 936/1161 only includes local programming in the late afternoon. A new community station was launched in March 2008, Swindon 105.5, which is one of the only stations in Swindon to broadcast local content 24/7. On the 9 and 10 May, Swindon held Radio 1's Big Weekend.


Between 1973 and June 2000 Swindon had its own cable television channel. It was called Swindon Viewpoint, a community television project run mainly by enthusiasts from the basement of a Radio Rentals branch on Victoria Road. It was followed by the more commercial Swindon's Local Channel, which included pay-per-view films.[38] NTL (later Virgin Media) took over the channel's parent company, ComTel, and closed the station.

Regional news programmes covering Swindon include Thames Valley Tonight replaced by "Meridian Tonight" for the second time in Feb 2009 and The West Tonight from regional ITV1 stations and South Today (Oxford) and Points West from BBC One's regional variants.

New media

Swindon has two web forum communities producing New Media for the inhabitants of the Borough: Talkswindon and Swindontalk.org

Talkswindon is the larger of the two web communities with over 400 members. Community members attend local events and council meetings before publishing their experiences on the Talkswindon forum. These on-line reports often lead to lengthy debates. Topics include local politics, culture and the environment. In contrast to its larger twin, the Swindontalk forum is more relaxed and focuses more on social activities and local news. The Talkswindon and Swindontalk forums are wholly owned and maintained by their members, membership and use of both forums is free to the public.

SwindonMusic.co.uk is the largest online discussion board regarding local music with over a thousand members. The website acts as a guide to the local music scene with events listings, band profiles and venue information. The website was instrumental in the creation of the now well-established charity festival Swindon Shuffle, as well as being the birthplace for the idea for the Radio One Big Weekend.[39]

Film and television location

The Mechanics Institute (foreground) with the Murray John Tower (background)
  • Swindon was used as a backdrop to a 1994 commercial for Benylin cough medicine. The advert featured a shot of Britain and then zoomed in and cut to aerial views of Swindon, stopping at a bathroom window at 29 Falconscroft, Covingham.
  • The long-running television series Casualty has used Swindon locations for two of its episodes. The Oasis Leisure Centre featured in the 1994 episode "Only The Lonely", and Wroughton Airfield was used to recreate a huge motorway crash in the 1997 episode "The Golden Hour".


Swindon has 53 primary schools, 11 secondary schools and two purpose built sixth-form colleges. Two secondary schools also have an in-house sixth-form.

Further education

New College and Swindon College cater for the town's further education and higher education requirements, mainly for 16-21 year olds. Swindon College is one of the largest FE-HE colleges in southwestern England, situated at a purpose-built campus in North Star, Swindon.

University-level education

The University of Bath in Swindon was established in 2000, with its Oakfield Campus in Walcot, east Swindon, although the campus has now closed.

Oxford Brookes University's Ferndale site is based in Swindon, housing its School of Health and Social Care since 1999.

Swindon is the UK's largest centre of population without its own university (by comparison, there are two universities in nearby Bath, which is half Swindon's size). In March 2008 a proposal was put forward by the MP for Swindon South, Anne Snelgrove, for a university-level institution to be established in the town within a decade, culminating in a future 'University of Swindon'. In October 2008, plans were announced for a possible University of Swindon campus to be built in east Swindon to the south of the town's Great Western Hospital, close to the M4-A419 interchange.

Museums and cultural institutions



Swindon Town F.C., play in League One (third tier) at the County Ground near Swindon Town centre. They have been Football League members since joining the then new Third Division (southern section) in 1920, and won promotion to the Second Division for the first time in 1963. They won their only major trophy to date, the Football League Cup, in 1969, beating Arsenal 3-1 at Wembley Stadium. They won promotion to the First Division in 1990, but stayed in the Second Division due to financial irregularities, only to reach the top flight (by then the Premier League) three years later. Their spell in the top flight lasted just one season, and then came a second successive relegation. A brief spite saw them promoted at the first attempt as champions of the new Division Two, but they were relegated again four years later and in 2006 fell back into the fourth tier for the first time since 1986, although promotion was gained at the first attempt. Notable former players of the club include John Trollope, Don Rogers, John Moncur, Fraser Digby, Steve White, Duncan Shearer, Paul Bodin, Alan McLoughlin, Paul Rideout, Mike Summerbee, Shaun Taylor and Phil King. Notable former managers include Lou Macari, Ossie Ardiles, Glenn Hoddle, John Gorman, Steve McMahon, Jimmy Quinn (a former player of the club), Colin Todd, Andy King, Dennis Wise and Paul Sturrock.

The town also has two non league clubs: Swindon Supermarine F.C., playing in Southern League Premier Division, and Highworth Town F.C., based in Highworth and playing in the Hellenic League

Motor sports

  • Swindon Robins — a speedway team competing in the Elite League. The team has operated at the Abbey Stadium, Blunsdon since the mid-1949. There are proposals to redevelop the stadium. Speedway operated at a track in the Gorse Hill area of Swindon in the early days of the late 1920s and early 1930s.
  • Foxhill motocross circuit is 6 miles south east of the town and has staged Grand Prix events.

Other sports

  • Swindon Wildcats, Swindon Top Cats and Swindon Panthers are ice hockey teams who play at the 6000 capacity Link Centre ice rink
  • Swindon Flames is a roller hockey team who train at Croft Sports Centre.
  • Swindon Sonics is a basketball team who compete at the Link Centre.
  • Swindon St George ARLFC—Amateur Rugby League club.
  • Swindon RFC—Amateur Rugby Union club.
  • Supermarine RFC - Amateur rugby union club
  • Swindon Hockey Club—Amateur field hockey club.
  • Swindon Road Club—cycling club.
  • Gliding clubs are at Sandhill Farm near Shrivenham and Aston Down airfield near Cirencester.
  • Swindon Badminton Club is based at Isambard Kingdom Brunel school and plays matches at New College.
  • Two leisure centres, the Link Centre and the Oasis.
  • Broome Manor Golf Complex is a golf course set against the backdrop of the Marlborough Downs.
  • Milton Road Health Hydro has a 33m pool used for casual and club swimming.

Twin towns

Swindon is twinned with[2]:

Swindon has an informal link with:

As part of a competition run by Disney for 2010[3] Swindon will have an unofficial twinning with:

In popular culture

  • Robert Goddard's Into the Blue, Out of the Sun and most recently "Never Go Back" feature the central character of Harry Barnett from Swindon, and all three novels start in the town. The TV detective series A Touch of Frost starring David Jason is often set in or around Swindon (called "Denton" in the series) and early episodes feature briefings of the detective team in front of maps of the Swindon area.
  • The British television comedy series The Office contains references to Swindon. In the programme Swindon was home to part of Wernham-Hogg's Slough office after downsizing.
  • The town was referred to in a 1998 episode of The Comic Strip titled "Four Men in a Car" in which Rik Mayall, Adrian Edmundson et al. attempt to get to Swindon for a sales conference. and featured Mayall's frequent lament "I just want to get to Swindon".
  • The British television series Red Dwarf makes a reference to the town in series seven, in the episode Epideme. The character Dave Lister dies and is brought back from the dead. Upon being asked what death was like, he replies "Have you ever been to Swindon?"
  • The father of The Nice Family (a caricature of a strictly disciplined, dull family) in Channel 4's "Absolutely" exclaims "By Swindon, this is an inspiring tale!" during a particularly boring presentation by a travelling salesman.
  • Comedian Eddie Izzard uses Swindon as the base of a fictitious 1960s British moon landing attempt that uses a series of ladders. In his live recording Dress to Kill, the San Francisco-based audience fails to recognise the reference and he makes light of this:
There should be a bigger laugh for that joke, I think.

Yeah, I can't quite understand it; I thought it was really funny. Swindon, a knackered, kind of Fresno town.

They don't seem to be going for it.

They're obviously bastards.

—Eddie Izzard, Dress to Kill (1999)[46]

In music

  • The rock band XTC, formed in 1977, are from Swindon, as are members of the related act Shriekback. XTC's co-founder guitarist, vocalist, songwriter and graphic artist Andy Partridge still lives in the town.
  • Liam Gallagher, frontman of the rock band Oasis chose the name of the band after seeing Swindon's Oasis swimming pool and leisure centre on a poster for Inspiral Carpets, whilst his brother Noel Gallagher worked as a roadie for a band.
  • Supertramp keyboard player and singer Rick Davies comes from Swindon. The sleeve art for Breakfast in America shows the band's members in an American diner reading their hometowns' newspapers, Davies is reading Swindon's Evening Advertiser (since renamed as the Swindon Advertiser).
  • Moody Blues' vocalist, lead guitarist and songwriter Justin Hayward is from Swindon. He wrote their biggest hit Nights in White Satin.
  • Electronic music outfit Meat Beat Manifesto were formed in Swindon in 1987.
  • 1970s novelty act The Barron Knights released The Swindon Cowboy as the B-side of their 1980 single Never Mind the Presents. Written after the band played a gig in town, it gently mocks the Swindon accent.
  • Actress and singer Billie Piper was born in Swindon in 1982.
  • Alex Yeoman, better known as the bass player from Captain (or as his current alter-ego, the YouTube sensation 'Antan Debt'), is from Swindon.[47][48]

See also


  1. ^ Great Britain Historical GIS Project. "Swindon: Total Population". A Vision of Britain through time. http://www.visionofbritain.org.uk/data_cube_table_page.jsp?data_theme=T_POP&data_cube=N_TPop&u_id=10104178&c_id=10001043&add=N. Retrieved 2007-01-09. 
  2. ^ ‘’Background’’ – New Mechanics Institution Preservation Society. Retrieved on 2007-07-23.
  3. ^ 1850 – New Mechanics Institution Preservation Trust, Swindon. Retrieved on 23 July 2007.
  4. ^ Background – New Mechanics Institution Preservation Trust, Swindon.Retrieved on 2007-07-23.
  5. ^ This is Our Heritage — 1996 lecture by Swindon labour movement historian Trevor Cockbill. Retrieved on 2007-07-23.
  6. ^ Background – New Mechanics Institution Preservation Society.Retrieved 2007-07-23.
  7. ^ Swindon's Other Railway — the Swindon, Marlborough & Andover Railway. Retrieved on 2007-07-23.
  8. ^ The Midland & South Western Junction Railway, Railspot Reloaded.Retrieved on 2007-07-23.
  9. ^ GWR Museum picture gallery. Retrieved on 2007-07-23
  10. ^ Evening Star — Steam Locomotive, BBC, 29 November 2006. Retrieved on 2007-07-21.
  11. ^ New Swindon.
  12. ^ The 20 best places to buy a property in Britain, The Times, Property pages, February 2008.]
  13. ^ More councils expected to ban speed cameras, The Times, October 2008.
  14. ^ http://www.bigredl.co.uk/Swindonbansspeedcameras.htm
  15. ^ http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2008/oct/23/localgovernment-motoring
  16. ^ Wiltshire (Borough of Thamesdown)(Structural Change) Order 1995
  17. ^ http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/local/1411127.I_quit_Labour_says_veteran_councillor/ Retrieved on 2010-02-02
  18. ^ http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/local/4832958.Ex_mayor_quits_tories/ Retrieved on 2010-02-02
  19. ^ http://ww2.swindon.gov.uk/moderngov/mgMemberIndex.asp?FN=PARTY&VW=LIST&J=2 Retrieved on 2010-02-02
  20. ^ "Swindon UA". Census 2001. Office of National Statistics. http://www.statistics.gov.uk/census2001/profiles/00HX-A.asp. Retrieved 2007-01-09. 
  21. ^ "Vision proposes 35,000 new homes". BBC News. 2006. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/wiltshire/5223288.stm. Retrieved 2007-01-09. 
  22. ^ http://www.statistics.gov.uk/census2001/profiles/00HX.asp#ethnic
  23. ^ Swindon and Milton Keynes top the UK broadband league – Computer Weekly, London, 23 May 2007.Accessed:2007-08-21.
  24. ^ a b "Swindon is second safest town in the UK". Swindon Advertiser. 2007-05-28. http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/swindonnewsheadlines/display.var.1430363.0.swindon_is_second_safest_town_in_the_uk.php. Retrieved 2007-05-29. 
  25. ^ Community celebrates its golden anniversary, Swindon Advertiser, 31 May 2000.Retrieved on 2007-07-23.
  26. ^ Polish club closes doors for last time – Swindon Advertiser, 1 April 2007. Retrieved on 2007-07-24
  27. ^ Born Abroad, BBC News.Retrieved on 2007-07-23.
  28. ^ Polish Community Focus Multicultural Matters.Retrieved on 2007-07-23
  29. ^ [http://www.agwsha.nhs.uk/board/july04/Agenda_Item_6.1_Vic_SOC_Final_10_June_20041.pdf/ Modernising Services for Older People in Swindon– Avon & Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust, Swindon Primary Care Trust and Swindon Borough Council].Retrieved on 2007-07-24.
  30. ^ Polish club closes doors for last time – Swindon Advertiser, 1 April 2007. Retrieved on 2007-27-24.
  31. ^ "Car Parking — General Information". Transport & Streets. Swindon Borough Council. http://www.swindon.gov.uk/roadstransport/roadsandtransport-carparkinggeneral-link. Retrieved 2007-01-17. 
  32. ^ "Round trip for town's calendar". BBC News. 2003. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/wiltshire/3081662.stm. Retrieved 2007-01-17. 
  33. ^ Aerial view from Google maps
  34. ^ Richard Craven (2007-07-26). "Swindon Shuffle 2007 — A Retrospective". BBC Wiltshire. http://www.bbc.co.uk/wiltshire/content/articles/2007/07/04/swindon_shuffle_2007_feature.shtml. Retrieved 2007-07-26. 
  35. ^ unknown (2008-08-11). "Swindon Shuffle 2008". Swindonweb. http://www.swindonweb.com/event/?m=611&s=616&ss=0&c=3715&t=Swindon+Shuffle. Retrieved 2008-08-11. 
  36. ^ Swindon Mela.
  37. ^ http://www.itsallabout.org.uk
  38. ^ Swindon Cable — Swindon View Point — The Local Channel, Swindoncable.co.uk. Retrieved on 2007-07-21.
  39. ^ http://www.swindonmusic.co.uk/forum/view/1240/
  40. ^ a b "A View to a Kill (1985) - Filming Locations". IMDb. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0090264/locations. Retrieved 2009-01-30. 
  41. ^ a b c d "Twin Towns". Swindon Borough Council. http://www.swindon.gov.uk/heritage-twintowns. Retrieved 2006-12-12. 
  42. ^ "More About SOL". Swindon Ocotal Link. http://www.swindonocotal-link.org/SOLmore.htm. Retrieved 2006-12-12. 
  43. ^ "Chattanoga's Sister Cities". City of Chattanooga. http://www.chattanooga.gov/General_Government/62_3193.htm. Retrieved 2006-12-12. 
  44. ^ "BBC". http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/wiltshire/8399996.stm. 
  45. ^ "The Telegraph". http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/greenpolitics/planning/6753758/Swindon-twinned-with-Disney-World.html. 
  46. ^ "Dress to Kill transcript at cake or death: an eddie izzard site". http://www.auntiemomo.com/cakeordeath/d2ktranscription.html. Retrieved 2007-10-04. 
  47. ^ "Captain steer to chart success". BBC Wiltshire. http://www.bbc.co.uk/wiltshire/content/articles/2006/05/09/captain_top40_feature.shtml. Retrieved 2006-05-09. 
  48. ^ "Credit crunch song is an online hit". Telegraph. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/3280471/Credit-crunch-song-is-an-online-hit.html. Retrieved 2008-10-30. 

Further reading

  • Swindon, Mark Child, Breedon Books, 2002, hardcover, 159 pages, ISBN 1-85983-322-5
  • Francis Frith's Swindon Living Memories (Photographic Memories S.), Francis Frith and Brian Bridgeman, The Frith Book Company Ltd, 2003, Paperback, 96 pages, ISBN 1-85937-656-8

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Swindon [1] is in Wiltshire, in southern England and has a good nightlife and plenty of things to do.


This town began its existence as a Saxon village, and derived its name from the Saxon words swine dun meaning pig hill. It grew when quarrying was begun nearby and canals increased trade, but it was the introduction of the railway in the mid 19th century that transformed Swindon from a village into a town.

In 1952 it was designated a "London overflow city" and the town became a sprawl. In the 60s several council estates and shopping precincts were added, which quickly dated and are now run down. During the 90s a revamping of the shopping precinct was only half-successful and some areas still need regeneration.

Get in


Driving along the M4, take junctions 15 or 16 into Swindon. There are Park and Ride buses now available National Park and Ride Directory. If you are going into the town centre, watch out for the magic roundabout. Five roads converge onto the roundabout: At each of these roads is a mini-roundabout which is connected to its neighbours. In the centre is the result of the 5 mini-roundabouts: A mega-roundabout that goes around anti-clockwise (ie the wrong way): A tad scary to travel through, but not as bad as Coventry.


Several trains an hour arrive in Swindon from various directions because Swindon is on the main London Paddington to Bristol/Swansea line.


National Express Coaches from all major airports.

Get around


The town centre is small enough to walk through on foot.


Local buses seem to have been infected by the Cotswolds with regards to infrequency, but they do exist.

Thamsedown runs a good bus service, although prices may be high. But they are normally on time, especially inner-Swindon buses, buses to outer-Swindon areas are not as reliable.

  • Swindon Museum, interesting displays on local history, geology and archaeology. Admission is free, Open: M-Sa: 10AM-5PM; Sun: 2PM-5PM.
  • Swindon Art Gallery, very important collection of 20th century British Art and includes work by Henry Moore and L.S. Lowry.

Admission is free, Open: Mon-Sat: 10AM-5PM; Sun: 2PM-5PM.

  • Steam: The Great Western Railway Museum, Kemble Drive,SN2 2TA. This museum is located in a restored railway works building. The building is a treat in itself. As well as having a wealth of information about the railways, it also is an invaluable source of social history. There are plenty of events for children, and it is right next to the 'Shopping Village' outlet centre, and the National Trust Headquarters, so anyone in the family who doesn't want to visit the museum has plenty of other options. Both the Steam Museum and the National Trust centre have excellent shops and cafes.

Telephone 01793 466646 [Change country code ...] (By car, follow brown tourist signs for the Outlet Centre "Great Western Heritage Area" or "M for STEAM Museum"), 01793 466 646 [2]. 10AM until 5PM. Adults £5.95, Concessions(+Students): £3.95

  • BCS Crows, [3] - The legendary football team that are Swindon's equivalent to the Harlem Globetrotters play regular exhibition matches at local venues to inspire the town's youth development scheme. Most games are a sell out and tickets are hard to come by, particularly for the annual Andy Powell Tribute Trophy, a 5 a-side competition that attracts around 400 entries and has been won by BCS Crows for the past 25 years.
  • Museum of Computing @ Swindon, educational museum with excellent collections, guided tours and admission is free.
  • Wilts & Berks Canal. (See Main Article [4], built between 1795 and 1810 very little of this canal now remains. It's course can be traced by following Canal Street from Kingshill into the town centre but the section between Kingshill Road and the M4 was partially restored a few years ago and is popular wih Dog walkers and cyclists.
  • Coate Water [5] was originally built to supply water to the Wilts & Berks Canal but is now a popular country park.

There also many private and public stately Homes and gardens to see in the area, such as Avebury Manor and Garden. [6]


Swindon is a large town and there are plenty of things to do such as shopping and visiting the town museum and art gallery.


McArthur Glen Designer Outlet, Europe's largest indoor designer outlet in the unique setting of restored Victorian railway engineering buildings.


The town centre has mainly well known high street shops brands.


There are plenty different types of places to choose from, including traditional English and Irish pubs, Chinese and Indian restaurants, and cafes and bars.

  • Poms Thai Cuisine, 24 High Street (Old Town), 01793 480046. Authentic Thai cuisine in a light, airy setting. Certainly the oldest and best Thai restaurant in Swindon.  edit
  • Cosmo, Linden Ct, Holbrook Way (opposite Holiday Inn Express), 01793 495666, [8]. Chinese and pan-asian buffet. The restaurant boasts 5 live cooking stations, incorporating a teppanyaki hotplate, barbecue grill, dim sum bar, fresh noodle bar and freshly prepared sushi counter. These are in addition to the popular and sumptuous Cosmo buffet choices.  edit


For really good pubs it is advised you head out of town into the countryside a bit, however three of the more popular pubs are:

  • Big Fish 20 Fleet Street. An independent, quirky pub with friendly staff - good food too. They recently had a makeover, but it's still a bit dirty. Known locally as 'The Sweaty Fish'.
  • The Glue Pot, 5 Emlyn Square (?), 01793 523935. Probably one of the better places to find good real ale in Swindon, although that's not saying much.
  • Groves Company Inn 22/23 Fleet Street (?). The ubiquitous Wetherspoons: Cheap beer, no atmosphere.

The Victoria Pub on Victoria Hill is excellent. Great food, a brilliant laugh free pub quiz on Wednesdays which involves snakes and ladders and cheating is encouraged! They are also a great music venue for all types of music encouraging unsigned bands. They also show films and have a great atmosphere.


Many hotels and B&Bs to choose from, Express by Holiday Inn, Hilton Hotel, De Vere Hotel.

Get out

Head towards Cirencester, Bath, Bristol, Salisbury or Reading.

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

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Proper noun


  1. A town in Wiltshire, England

Derived terms


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