The Civic City in a Nomadic World

9th May 2018

The Civic City in a Nomadic World

On Tuesday 15th May, at the Swindon Festival of Literature, Charles Landry is speaking at the Arts Centre in Old Town.

Charles Landry at the Arts Centre

‘What’s going on in our towns and our cities today?

What is their identity, culture, and distinctiveness? Is the anytime, anyplace, anyone, anywhere phenomenon the new norm? Are we becoming nomadic? Or is the greatest yearning still to belong?

Do we need to invent a new and meaningful cultural anchorage in our sprawling urban landscape? What’s actually going on in our towns and our cities and what part do we play in it? How can we all be more switched on to what our own town or city has to offer?

In his new, ground-breaking, and richly-illustrated book, international speaker, inventor of the Creative City concept, and author of The Art of City Making, Charles Landry helps us navigate the evolving urban landscape.’

The civic City

The event is presented in association with Switch on to Swindon.  Swindon Civic Voice recommends this talk to anyone with any interest at all in planning Swindon’s future.

Here is a link to a document you may wish to glance at:

Posted in Talks and events | Tagged , , | Comments Off on The Civic City in a Nomadic World

Business Sponsorship proposal for Swindon Civic Day 2018

Business Sponsorship proposal for Swindon Civic Day

Civic Day 2018: Saturday June 16th

Civic Day

‘Our Conservation Area Matters’

A Sponsorship Proposal by Swindon Civic Voice 

Business Sponsorship proposal for Swindon Civic Day


The national Civic Voice organisation, of which Swindon Civic Voice is a member, are this year focusing on Our Conservation Area Matters’ as the theme for 2018’s Civic Day celebrations. There are twenty-eight Conservation Areas in Swindon.

As 2018 also marks the 70th anniversary of the NHS, and Swindon provided the key model for the NHS from premises in its GWR Railway Village (a Conservation Area), we have chosen to focus our 2018 Civic Day on this story, and this Conservation Area, by offering activities from the actual historic premises which are still in daily use though in modern guises.

The GWR Medical Fund Society was already 100 years old when the NHS took it over in 1848.  The story of the GWR Medical Fund Society and the premises it operated from — the GWR Medical Fund Hospital, and the Milton Road Baths and Medical Centre in particular – is inspirational.  It is locally and nationally significant and is one of several keys to why Swindon’s Railway Village Conservation Area matters as much as it does.

Swindon Civic Voice want to share this story with a day of events. To realise this ambition we are seeking financial contributions from Swindon’s business community.

This is your chance to be associated with highlighting Swindon’s special role and to help others understand the significance of these premises which have evolved since 1847 when the Medical Fund Society was formed.

Business Sponsorship proposal for Swindon Civic Day 2018

What’s in it for you?

Aside from the satisfaction of being associated with an inspirational community event:

  1. As a supporter, your business will be acknowledged on social media with a link to your business page and/or website – and on our website too.
  2. We will have a display board bearing contributor’s logos in the Heath Hydro (Milton Road Baths), the location for a large reception of local officials and heritage folks following the unveiling of a blue plaque.

We recognise that small businesses may not be able to offer large sums of money. Bearing that in mind, anything from a minimum of £10 is welcomed.

Contribute £50 or more and you can display your business leaflets at the event.

What will the Civic Day event offer?

  • Tours from 11.00am of the fascinating Milton Road Baths, home among other secrets of the oldest extant Victorian Turkish Bath in the world
  • Unveiling of a Blue Plaque outside the Baths’ Faringdon Road facade at 12.30pm
  • Tours of the Railway Village sites key to the 100 years evolution of Swindon’s Medical Fund Society
  • Refreshments and other multi-media displays in the Central Community Centre, the former GWR Medical Fund Hospital, from 1.00pm

For further information about business sponsorship or to make a donation contact:

Angela Atkinson

Trustee, Swindon Civic Voice


About Swindon Civic Voice

Swindon Civic Voice is a Swindon registered charity, affiliated with the national organisation ‘Civic Voice’. Find out more on our Facebook page:

Or our website:



Posted in Projects, Talks and events | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Business Sponsorship proposal for Swindon Civic Day 2018

Civic Day 2018: Why your conservation area matters

Civic Day 2018: Why Your Conservation Area Matters

scv logo - Civic day 2018

Save the Date: Saturday 16th June 2018

 Saturday the 16th of June is National Civic Day. Building on last year’s “I care about where I live campaign”, the National Civic Voice Movement have themed this year:   ‘My conservation area matters because ….

 So Swindon Civic Voice have chosen this day to focus on the Milton Road Baths, or the Health Hydro as it’s known, with central community centre as a supporting role!

Portico at Health Hydro

The Milton Road baths are an historic and unique Victorian health facility, a heritage asset right in the middle of Swindon and an integral part of our proud Railway history. And of course the central community centre, managed by the Mechanics’ Institute trust, was once the GWR community fund hospital.

central community centre banner

The arms of New Swindon’s conservation area embrace not only Milton Road baths but the Railway Village, the Central Community Centre, the Baker’s Arms, the Platform and the Mechanics’ Institute.

Were you aware that?

  •  The Health Hydro and Swimming baths have been serving the community for 125 years.
  •  The GWR Medical Fund Society, an entity that influenced the formation of the NHS, was already 100 years old when it was handed to the NHS.
  •  2018 marks the 70th anniversary of the NHS
  • The Victorian Turkish Baths at Milton Road are now the oldest, extant of their kind in the world.
  •  Swindon Amateur Swimming Club, the third oldest swimming club in the county, has been based at Milton Rd since it first opened.

Five fantastic and important reasons right there why your conservation area matters … to you, to Swindon and to the nation!

 Planning for Swindon’s Civic Day is now well underway. We can’t reveal everything yet but we can tell you that there’ll be photographic and film displays, guided tours around the Baths and the Railway Village led by local experts – always extremely popular … plus refreshments with suitably themed biscuits … and there could still be time to round it off with a visit to the Designer Outlet Village!

So, please do put the date in your diary! In the meantime, download the ‘I care about where I live’ sign here and send us your photos telling us why YOU care about where you live.

Find us on Twitter: @SwindonV and Facebook:

Swindon Civic Day: Saturday the 16th June 2018

See You There!




Posted in Talks and events | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Civic Day 2018: Why your conservation area matters

Legacy of a Rag and Bone Man: A century of community life in Eastcott

8th March 2018

Legacy of a Rag and Bone Man: A century of community life in Eastcott

Legacy of a Rag and Bone Man: A century of community life in Eastcott
Would you like to know more about our story?
Join us on Friday 23 March 2018
10 am – 12 midday
At Savernake Street Social Hall, Savernake Street, Swindon SN1 3LZ
Throughout 2017/18, volunteers at Eastcott Community Organisation have explored, documented and celebrated the heritage of Savernake Street Social Hall and the surrounding area, thanks to a £10,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
One of the key outputs of the project has been a book and a timeline leaflet, produced with research help from volunteers, Local Studies; Swindon Central Library and writer/designer Kate Parsons.
The project has also included memory sharing events, community celebrations, a schools art project, and a forthcoming exhibition in Swindon Museum and Art Gallery.
Would you like to know more about the project?
This session might be of interest if you:
          are interested in the themes of the book, and would like to know more about how it came together and/ or
          are thinking of starting or are already involved in a project, and would like to know more about the process involved in exploring local heritage.
You’ll hear from:
          Darryl Moody, Local Studies, Swindon Central Library – about the resources and support available from Local Studies
          Caroline Davies-Khan, Eastcott Community Organisation – about the heritage year.
          Kate Parsons, Writer and Illustrator, about bringing the research together.
How to book: . There is no charge for the session but booking is essential. We would be grateful if you could let us know one thing you’d especially like to find out so that we are aware of the interests of participants. 
Following the session there will be a light sandwich lunch so please advise on any dietary requirements.
Please contact to book or for further information.
 A limited number of parking spaces, including accessible spaces, are available onsite if needed.
Eastcott Community Organisation
c/o Savernake Street Social Hall
Savernake Street Swindon SN1 3LZRegistered Charity Number 1160538 support us by shopping through Give as you Live

Please ‘like’ our Facebook page to be kept up to date with our community events:

Posted in Talks and events | Tagged , | Comments Off on Legacy of a Rag and Bone Man: A century of community life in Eastcott

2016-2017 Annual Report

25th January 2018

2017-2018 Annual Report

I care about where I live - civic day

Below is a link to the Swindon Civic Voice 2016-2017 – 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2017:

SCV 2017 Trustees Annual Report

Some edited highlights: 


Membership is open to all who are interested in actively furthering the objectives set out in the constitution, and are willing to accept the rules as set out therein, together with any policies which have been agreed by the Executive Committee.



The objectives of Swindon Civic Voice are:

  • To promote high standards of planning, environmental sustainability and architecture in Swindon
  • To secure the preservation, protection, development and improvement of features of historic or public interest in Swindon
  • To research, inform and educate the public in the geography, history, natural history, architecture, the built environment and the process of government in Swindon.


Anticipated activities include:

  • Priority is to recruit additional committee members, including and especially a new Chair and Treasurer.
  • Further work on the website, to embed an interactive graphic which will permit local community organisations to enter a page of their own information and edit it as they choose.
  • Better and wider use of social media opportunities, and other efforts to share information and engage more citizens in community action.
  • Pursuit of issues – especially review of Swindon Local Plan. This is a challenging process, but a crucial one which will affect Swindon’s shape until 2036.
  • Pursuit of closer working with Voluntary Action Swindon, especially in respect of the Council’s consultation policy.
  • Lobbying of councillors and Swindon MPs;
  • Further events: The NHS is 70 years old this year, and this may warrant a Civic Day celebration, as the Medical Fund Society was a prime model for the design of that service.  We will seek to work with groups locally which are lobbying re NHS funding.

In conclusion, the Committee urges members to consider how they can actively support the work of Swindon Civic Voice in the coming year, whether by fund-raising, member recruitment, staffing promotional stalls, or more issue-focussed activity.

We would especially welcome members interested in serving as Trustees on the Committee which meets monthly.




Posted in articles, Meetings | Tagged , | Comments Off on 2016-2017 Annual Report

AGM and talk January 2018

18th December 2017

Rescheduled 2017 AGM and talk: Thursday 18th January

‘What interesting things can we learn by looking at maps of Swindon?’


We’d intended to run our AGM alongside the talk delivered to us by Malcolm Shifrin about the Victorian Turkish Bath late last year. Of course our own Health Hydro houses a notable example.

Unfortunately we had to postpone it. So this meeting is the rescheduled 2017 AGM.

Here is a link to a film of the talk by Mr Shifrin on Swindon Viewpoint:

Due to circumstances beyond our control we had to postpone the AGM.

It is now scheduled for: Thursday the 18th of January. The location: the old dispensary in the Health Hydro in Milton Road. TIME: 7pm

Note: We can only seat 25 people there so booking is essential.

Email: to let us know you’re coming.

Parking: There is parking in the Brunel north carpark and disabled parking outside the Health Hydro.

Entrance by the side door – we’ll have someone there to show you in.

The talk: 

‘What interesting things can we learn by looking at maps of Swindon?’

Contour map of Swindon

Current chair of SCV, Martha Parry, will present a talk on the above topic.

Martha will use this talk to introduce the think thinking that you, as citizens of Swindon, can do during the review of the Swindon Local Plan in 2018.

We’ll have a collection of fascinating maps from 1840 to the present for you see. We’ve also made a 3D model of Swindon Hill showing the extent of our town in 1900.

1900 was the year when Queen Victoria united the Old Swindon Local Board and the New Swindon Local Board as one local authority named ‘Swindon’.

Swindon Civic Voice intends to offer monthly opportunities to follow the progress of Council planners as they assemble a document for consultation in Sept 2018. This will outline the issues and options for the revised Plan, leading to a revised draft for inspection to serve until 2036.

Get your head around this stuff from 18th January, if you want to make a difference!

Membership of SCV

Interested in joining Swindon Civic Voice? Find out more here:




Posted in Meetings, Talks and events | Tagged , , | Comments Off on AGM and talk January 2018

Community forum December 2107

7th December 2017

Community forum 9th December

A Community Forum

To discuss

Swindon Local Plan Review’s

“Issues and Options” Questions 

9th December 1.00pm to 3.00pm

at Health Hydro – Milton Rd bath

(Parking at Central Community Centre or Brunel Car Parks in Farnsby St.)

(Disabled Parking outside Health Hydro)

*Due to Swindon B.C.’s 19th December deadline for responses.

There will be further opportunities in 2018, but this is the first

chance to help shape the document and there is a deadline!

Please contact: if you can attend.

Community Organisations and active citizens are welcome to discuss together some of the important questions being asked at the start of a year-long process of reviewing and updating Swindon’s Local Plan, the key document which will lead up to 2036!  It may help to hear what other Swindon groups and people think?

Some of the 34 Questions Posed:

* Are there any cross-boundary planning issues that the Council  should consider in preparing the Local Plan Review?

* Do you agree with the objectives set out for the plan area?

* Please suggest any changes that you think should be made to the objectives for the Local Plan Review.

*How should the plan balance the short-term need for additional housing with the longer-term development strategy for the area?

*Are there any specific or broad locations that you think may be suitable to accommodate housing development?

*Are there any other sites you think may be suitable to   accommodate business (office and industrial uses)?

* Do you have any views or suggestions for how planning policies can support the advancement of the regeneration of Swindon’s  central area and the enhancement of its role, to improve the  image of the town?

Community forum 9th December




Posted in Meetings, Talks and events | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Community forum December 2107

SCV Circulation Study

14th October 2017

SCV Circulation Study

SCV circulation study

This study was pursued over the course of a year, and finished with a week-long public consultation during Spring Break 2015 inside the Brunel Centre.

There were many useful conversations, and these are sampled in Appendix II of the report.  

Since then, we have shared the report selectively with public officials.  However, now that plans for the bus station area are up in the air, it seems a good time to draw the attention of our members and other interested parties, to the opportunities for 2-way circulation and other improvements in the town centre of Swindon.

Opportunities identified: A heritage route from Swindon Works via the Railway Village and up Milton Road to the Rolleston Hotel.

Download the Swindon Civic Voice Town Centre circulation study here: SCV Circulation study

Download town centre comments data here: Town Centre Comments Data 230415

Posted in articles, Projects | Tagged | Comments Off on SCV Circulation Study

Swindon Civic Voice 2017 AGM

25th September 2017

Swindon Civic Voice 2017 AGM and talk from Malcolm Shifrin


badge with swindon civic voice logo


In accordance with the constitution, members are hereby notified that the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Swindon Civic Voice will be held on Thursday 19th October starting at 7:00pm at the Central Community Centre.

Former members, whose membership has recently lapsed, are also welcome to attend subject to paying the annual membership fee before the AGM begins.

New members are welcome to attend, subject to paying the annual membership fee before Tuesday 10th October.

The annual membership fee is still £5 per year (£2 for concessions).

£2 entry fee for members. £4 for non-members

Join on on the night and get the discount.

Find out more about membership here:

Central Community Centre has limited parking, which is available on a first-come basis.  Blue Badge holders can also park nearby.  Alternative car parking is available in Brunel North car park in Farnsby Street, which closes at 9.00pm.

Annual General Meeting Order of Business:
Welcome and apologies
To approve the Minutes of the last AGM held on 6th October 2016
To receive the Trustees’ Annual Report
To receive the Annual Accounts
To elect members to the Board of Trustees

It would be helpful to know if you will be attending. Please either confirm your attendance or send your apologies:

By email:

By telephone: 01793 520592

In writing: Swindon Civic Voice, C/o The Health Hydro, Milton Road,
Swindon, SN1 5JA

We look forward to seeing you.

Issued on behalf of the Trustees of Swindon Civic Voice on 25th September 2017.

Please note the following information about our AGM.

Members are eligible to stand as Trustees and we would very much welcome new Trustees. Please contact the office for a nomination form. Completed forms must be received in the office by Tuesday 10th October.

Additionally, we are pleased to let you know that Malcolm Shifrin, author of Victorian Turkish Baths (published by Historic England), has agreed to be our guest speaker at the AGM.

AGM and guest speaker: “He Wrote the Book on Victorian Turkish Baths!”







Posted in Meetings | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Swindon Civic Voice 2017 AGM

Swindon’s Listed Buildings List

15th September 2017

Swindon’s Listed Buildings List

Thanks to Martin Newman, member and friend of Swindon Civic Voice, and heritage professional, for this fabulous blog post about Swindon’s listed buildings – well the list of them – if you follow?

Way back when, in their comic opera The Mikado, Gilbert and Sullivan wrote of him having a ‘little list’. Well – we’ve got a list of listed buildings in Swindon that’s far from being little! To find out more read on.

NB: There’s a brief bio of Martin at the bottom. Thank you Martin for a great post.

We’ve got a little list

2017 is the 70th anniversary of the Town and Country Planning Act. This might not immediately seem to be something worth celebrating. Yet this led to the first historic Buildings being listed.

Listing wasn’t the first heritage protection in England, Scheduling of archaeological sites had begun in 1882, but listing remains the best well know of the designations published on the National Heritage List for England (NHLE) as well as the one with the greatest number of entries.

At the time of writing there are 37,7675 Listed Buildings in England making up the majority of the nearly 400k sites on the NHLE.

Listing has also had an important impact on the Swindon where it has helped shaped the town as we know it today. The bar for listing is set quite high as a building has to be of ‘national importance’ following the principles of selection published by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and further clarified by Historic England’s Selection Guides.

So, bearing this in mind, it’s impressive that Swindon contains 659 Listed buildings. AND fifty-three Scheduled Monuments and three Registered Parks and Gardens!

Fig 1 - map

The first buildings to be listed were not in Swindon however. That honour goes to Great Yarmouth in Norfolk.

It took the inspectors four years to get to Swindon and on the 2nd October 1951 twenty buildings were listed in the town which remain on the list today:

  • Bath Road Museum Apsley House and Gate Piers
  • Tritton House
  • Manor House and Manor Cottage
  • Stables 6 Metres North of Manor House
  • Church of The Holy Rood
  • Corn Exchange and Town Hall
  • Church of St Mary
  • Goddard Arms Hotel
  • 18 High Street
  • Richard Jefferies Museum
  • Park Farmhouse
  • Square House
  • 8 and 8A High Street
  • Christ Church
  • 6 High Street
  • 16 High Street
  • Westlecot Manor
  • 8-12 Bath Road
  • Church of St Mark
  • Villetts House

As you can see there were some notable exceptions. The buildings of the Railway Village for example were not listed till 1970.

Listing continued to be a slow and process by 1959 only 931 areas completed with 73,310 buildings listed.

At this time lists were published by local authority areas and a resurvey began in 1968. Lists continued to be published this way until the process was computerised in a project lasting from 1994-7.

The area of Swindon was covered by two volumes and the lists published for Swindon before the process went digital were the 14th List for Thamesdown in 1986 with twelve later amendments and the 8th list for Thamesdown (Former Rural District of Highworth) in 1979, twenty-seven amendments.

Booklets - listings from DoE

There are a number of misconceptions about listing, one of which is that all the entries are buildings. Yet, as the example below shows, this milestone on Canal Walk is a listed building. One which you could easily trip over if you weren’t looking where you were going!

Possibly Swindon’s most unlikely listed building © Martin Newman - old canal distance marker

Possibly Swindon’s most unlikely listed building © Martin Newman

Swindon’s most recently listed building isn’t exactly a building either, it’s a red telephone box in Bishopstone (listed 17/01/17).

Bishopstone red telephone box

Bishopstone red telephone box – Photo copyright of Historic England

Another common misapprehension about listed buildings is that they are all ‘old’. A building can be listed after thirty years, or ten years for the higher grades. When the Renault (now Spectrum) building was listed in 2013 it was one of the youngest Listed Buildings in the country and took pride of place on the cover Designation Yearbook.

The Spectrum Building, Swindon - swindons listed buildings

Listed buildings from Swindon’s Railway Village also adorn the cover of a Historic England publication giving guidance to owners of Listed Buildings.

Guide for owners of listed buildings

Last year Historic England launched a new initiative, ‘Enriching The List’.

This scheme invited the public to share their knowledge about and photos of listings, or simply their personal reminiscences and family stories. Once moderated these contributions then appear with, but separated from the official list entry.

So far 581 contributions have been published for listings in Swindon – a good indication of how much people in the town care about the historic buildings around them.’

A bit about Martin:

Martin is the Listing Information manager at Historic England. He’s worked in the heritage sector since graduating from Bradford University with a BSc in Archaeological Sciences in 1990.

Although starting out his career as an archaeologist he now spends more of his time involved with historic buildings.

He is a Member of the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists and was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in 2010. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts where he is an ambassador for their Heritage Identity and Place project and a Chartered Member of CILIP – Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals.

Martin has lived in Swindon for over 20 years and is a member of Swindon Civic Voice.


Posted in articles | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Swindon’s Listed Buildings List