Friday, April 27, 2012

A Nod to the Past, a Turn to the Future

I was last at Swindon College at Regent Circus as a student in 2001.

I last went into the building in, about 2004.

After passing by it thousands of times when open and, with increasing concern in the last few years as it's started to resemble a hulking ruin, today was special.

Today I got see the old college building behind the hoardings.

It's not a pretty sight. You'd be lucky to find a dozen windows that aren't broken in the entire place, much of value has been stripped out, pipework, wiring, etc. Fellow regeneration photographer (not sure if that's a genre, but we're using it on our business cards!) Ed Howell and I took a walk-around with site manager Steve from Wring Group, the contractor given the task by developer Ashfield Land to bring the college down safely

The Principal's parking space.
The first buildings to come down, that have had the asbestos removal works done, will be the workshops at the rear. The main college block building itself is off limits to everyone except the asbestos contractor. Another issue is bats living in the tops of the two main block stairwells, which a special, well, batman comes in to carefully remove! 

In one of the workshops, a pile of sanding and cutting discs await collection for recycling.

6 years of flytipping, squatters remnants and overgrowth has to be cleared too. 

This sign looks vaguely familiar, maybe they were staring at me whilst I was sat in lectures in 2000!

If there was a physical representation of Swindon's historic attitude towards town centre rebuilding, the college building would be it. Quickly outdated, broken, unused and looming large on the skyline.

 Looming large on the skyline, but like the old college building, not for long. 

Update : A greater selection of images are now on Flickr, just click here.

All the equipment, brushes and canvases have gone, but the evidence of the art department lingers on.

Looking into the library, from the rear access road, the windows in the background look out onto Regent Circus.
The workshop on the right will be being demolished next week, for those living on  Edmund Street, the view is about to change, forever.

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