For our last talk, we were pleased to welcome Heritage Architect Michael Gray to talk about the Baptist Tabernacle, which stood very near the centre of Swindon where the current Pilgrim Centre is now situated. Michael is interested in finding a new purpose for the Tabernacle Stones, and in thinking about it, suggested a project which would be unique to Swindon. This was the online introduction to the talk from our website:
'In 2006 Swindon Borough Council took delivery of 2,000 large carved limestone blocks, that when re-assembled make-up a giant temple front that once adorned the centre of Swindon. The Council had aspirations to re-instate this local landmark as an expression of civic pride but despite their noble ambitions, the portico remains in pieces, stored away and almost forgotten.
In this talk Heritage Architect Michael Gray explains the history of the stones, their classical design and meaning. He will discuss similar projects that have involved the reuse of classical artefacts, and examine the ideas that have been suggested for the stones before introducing a new scheme for discussion.'
Michael began by saying a bit about the buildings in the centre of the town, here's the first Baptist Tabernacle built in 1865 on the corner of Bridge Street to accommodate the growing numbers of railway workers:
Brightwen Binyon was built half way between the railway Village and Old Town, possibly creating a centre of the town, on land acquired from Colonel William Vilett Rolleston. But before getting further into the history of the Tabernacle, Michael gave us an interesting thought: big, important roundabouts often have monuments in the centre of them, think about the Arc de Triomphe in the centre of Paris:
Mechanics Institute which could seat 900.
protests took place in 1978, with Peter Shaw giving consent.
Croome House effect, as seen below:
By a swimming pool as at Casina del Lago, how would they translate at Coate Water?
And coincidentally, today Swindon Libraries have a jigsaw of the Baptist Tabernacle to do, why not have a go?