Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Fog In The Shire

The view from Barbury Castle today as the fog lingered.

Right Beneath Our Feet : Swindon's Lost Library

It's not every day you discover a library lost for decades whilst walking to buy a loaf of bread.

But at the back of Aspen House, in the alleyway that links Regent Street and Granville Street, just a few inches below where the tarmac has broken away, is a double-line of bricks.

Looking at this map from the Swindon Collection, it's marked in 1956 as a 'Arts Centre and Junior Library'. It's shape and location makes it seem to be the Northern wall, running South-West to North-East.

In a similar way to the remains of Byron Street that we found just a few inches below the street surface, it makes you wonder how many other buildings in Swindon lie just below our feet, waiting to be discovered...

The broken red brick sits clearly amongst the broken tarmac and fag-ends.

To give some context, the close-up picture is about an inch to the left of the left gate-post of the back of the Aspen House site.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Gotta See The Show

Don't forget about the Christmas at Steam event this weekend at the Steam Museum. The Kentwood Show Choir will be singing on the Saturday, making a good reason to post this photo taken during rehearsals at the Wyvern Theatre last year.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

New & Old History

It's only been two years since these photographs were taken and already the regeneration has taken a bite out of the past. Some places and views have changed markedly, and others are exactly the same.

For New Falcon House, time stands still.

Whalebridge with the roundabout slowly vanishing. This view is no longer possible as the first stage of the Kimmerfields development sits in the wasteground at the front of the picture.

Don't trip over the kerb.


1980s Brutalism

1980s Brutalism (with shoulder pads)

Monday, November 25, 2013

Rail, Retail & Rubble

The former Clares site at North Star use to be a carriage works building before turning to making retail equipment. Although the buildings were demolished, the ground still yields lots of recent history.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Lost Streets of Swindon

When Ed Howell and I photographed the demolition of Swindon College at Regent Circus, we didn't expect to find an entire street hidden on the site.

As we walked on a soaking wet day around the front of the site, passed the flat roof library, at the back of Byron Street, the mud had been churned up by the bulldozers. 

They'd scraped away the top layer of soil and just a few inches under the surface was the brickwork of the houses of the now (nearly entirely) lost Byron Street. 

The flat-roofed library building, which the original line of Byron street went through from left to right.

The double-brickwork of houses from the 1960s-demolished Byron Street.

Byron Street now exists as a small stub at Regent Circus, but the original street went north to south through the former Swindon College site.

How Byron Street use to look in 1957. This is looking south towards Old Town.

For more details on the photograph above, visit the Swindon Local Flickr account here.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Hidden Tunnels Just Beneath Our Feet In Swindon

We've got the well-known Old Town Tunnels, we've got the slightly less known GWR Tunnels underneath the former rail works site and we've also got our 1960s subterranean additions beneath Theatre Square.