It is now three years since Apsley House closed because of Covid restrictions, but failed to reopen when restrictions were lifted. A decision had been made by Swindon Borough Council to close the building for good, put the art and museum collections into storage until the art pavilion in the Cultural Quarter had been built. The plans for the museum collections were vague. We were not happy with this arrangement because many of us would never have seen Swindon Museum and Art Gallery reopened in our lifetime. An interim solution was suggested at Lydiard House, where it was proposed three breakfast rooms could house small exhibitions. This was followed by the idea of converting the first floor of the Civic Offices into a museum and art gallery; this seemed like an excellent idea, although previous calculations in 2019 had put a figure of over a million pounds to carry out the conversion. In 2019 it was decided Apsley House would be the best option for SM&AG, with a proposed £400k to be spent on improvements to the building. This money has not been spent, and remains available for the conversion of the first floor of the Civic Offices into a museum and art gallery. Dates for work to begin on the building slide, the latest estimate is the end of the year for the work to be complete, and the building open to the public.
We are marking the third anniversary of the closure of Swindon Museum and Art Gallery outside Apsley House at 1pm this Friday 17 March with cake. Please come along if you can, we will be there until 2pm.