Vote for your favourite conservation area

September 2018

Vote for your favourite conservation area: Swindon’s Railway Village

It’s dead easy to do – follow this link:

And vote by selecting the image(s) you see and clicking the heart over the conservation area that you want to win. When the heart is red you’ve voted.  For Swindon this one:

Image railway village Big Conversation

Image railway village Big Conversation

Why it matters

‘Recently the Mechanics’ Trust and Swindon Civic Voice supported a Heritage Action Zone bid to Historic England, with this Conservation Area at the centre of the targeted area.

The local group consider that national attention is warranted to the significance of this area. Especially its social history which reflects the active voluntary involvement of railway workers in establishing institutions addressing health and social welfare in the era from 1841, prior to modern local government.

Since council award-winning renovation in 1970s, and closure of the Works, there is clear evidence of lack of appreciation of the historic significance and the present potential of this area.

It was and can be again the unifying social focus of Swindon’s character: cutting-edge technology renewing itself from New Swindon’s foundation in 1841 into the future, supported by citizen action to achieve coherent social context in response to residents’ needs and aspirations.

A particular challenge exists from through traffic and a range of bus routes (2 buses per minute) dominating the Area inappropriately. This has been the subject of three years focused work by Swindon Civic Voice to achieve attention and resolution, including a dense study with proposals, and public consultation, which is now receiving attention from Council planners.

It’s clear that the community in Swindon value this Conservation Area. They have worked unrelentingly since 1986 to promote and protect its significance, social and physical.

The local community was the driving force behind the establishment in 1995 of the New Mechanics’ Institution Preservation Trust Ltd (‘The Mechanics’ Trust’ or MIT).

With 2500 initial members that Trust was instrumental in the establishment of Swindon Civic Trust (now Voice) in 2002. In particular, Swindon Civic Voice supported National Civic Day in 2017 and 2018 with events focused on the Conservation Area.’

Download: What is the future for our conservation areas?

vote for railway village conservation area

Swindon Civic Voice is part of the national Civic Voice movement. Laura Sandys, the vice-President of Civic Voice, designed a ‘Big Conservation’ campaign to raise awareness of this countries conservation areas.

In her conversation about conservation she said: 

“We have over 10,000 conservation areas in England which reflect the rich built heritage of the nation. As well as encouraging people to nominate and vote, we want to raise awareness of the importance of our conservation areas and call on more communities to celebrate, our rich and varied heritage .

With 249 conservation areas being nominated, it shows that people are proud of where they live.

These 18 conservation areas (shortlisted)have been selected by Civic Voice to ensure that as wide a range of conservation areas were as shortlisted as possible.  What the shortlist shows us is that conservation areas are real places loved by real people”.

The important bit for Swindon:

From the 249 conservation areas nominated from across the country, Civic Voice have selected a shortlist of EIGHTEEN. And ONE of those eighteen is Swindon’s Railway village conservation area. Now YOU have a chance to vote for our conservation area to be named ‘England’s Favourite Conservation Area.’

It’s simple to do – follow this link:

Vote by selecting the image(s) you see and clicking the heart over the conservation area that you think should win.

You can only vote for each conservation area once.

When will the results be announced?

The winning conservation area will be announced at the annual conference in October. Two representatives from Swindon Civic Voice are attending this conference. Help us bring back the ‘trophy’!

And do visit this page:

As it says on the website:


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An SCV Civic Day 2018 thank you

17th June 2018

An SCV Civic Day thank you

Civic Day bags

So yesterday we held Civic Day 2018 – our focus on why your railway conservation area matters. 

The first thing I want to do is give a big vote of thanks to our FIFTEEN small business sponsors. You made all the difference to the success of the day. Thank you. Find links to all their websites here:  And here they all are:

Business Support for Swindon Civic Day 2018

GLL: Now a word about GLL

Credit where it is due – GLL got onboard with the thing and made it possible for us to open up the Health Hydro and show visitors around that fantastic building. And thanks to the GWR for their substantial sponsorship sum.

Media Coverage

We got some great media coverage of the event. For as long as the link on iPlayer is live there’s this lovely event from BBC Points West:

And this from the Swindon Advertiser:

Now for a few photographs

At the Health Hydro

In Central Community Centre – 

Big thanks to the lovely ladies of Stitch N Bitch too for this gorgeous knitted hospital display. Isn’t it great?

See also:

See also: and a fab post from the Swindon Advertiser with a map of the blue plaques:




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Civic Day Business Sponsors

27th May 2018

Civic Day Business Sponsors

Civic Day is happening soon: Saturday the 16th June.  We’ve been fortunate to secure sponsorship from GWR, one of the parish councils, and the purpose of this post, lots of lovely small businesses based in Swindon that have stepped forward with pledges of sponsorship support to help us stage Civic Day.

Twitter: @SwindonV

So a super Swindon Civic Voice shout out to our lovely Civic Day business sponsors – you’re all amazing.

Business Support for Swindon Civic Day 2018

In no particular order – their websites:

  1. AA Editorial Services –

2. Shirley Hensher – The Change Agent  

3. Ian Locke – Thrive Personal Training

4. SED Developments 

5. Body and Mind Coaching 

6. The Prosecco Party:

See also:

7. Simon Webb – fabulous hand-turned pens

See also:

8. Alice Douglass –

9. Swindon Will Writing:

10. Pink & Green Organic Skincare: 

11. Martin Jarvis – DMJ Computer Services: 

12. Catherine Attwell – aka Catherine Jay Jewellery.

13. Nicky Pasquier – the Virtuoso assistant

14. Odile Motte – Westrin Study Centre:

15. Fabulous functions UK:






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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:

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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 101 years old when the NHS took it over in 1948.  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:




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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!




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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:

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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.




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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:




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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




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