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Sunday, 2 October 2022

David Thackray on the Mechanics

 We were really pleased to welcome David Thackray, Chair of The Mechanics' Institution Trust to give our August talk on the updates about the Mechanics building, situated in the centre of the Railway Village, now designated a Heritage Action Zone. I took some notes during the talk and also photographed many of the slides, so will include a mixture of both of them. Firstly, the point was made that the positioning of the Mechanics in the centre of the village has symbolic and aesthetic value. Like the nearby church, the northern facade of the Mechanics was designed by Edward Roberts so it could be seen from the railway, at that time it was a theatre, reading room and a library. The history of the building dating back to the very beginning is presented in such detail that I'll refer you to the website for that.  Finding a way of restoring the Mechanics Institute would be a very positive step for Swindon, reasons why this should happen can be found under the Myths section of the website which gives a wonderful amount of detail.

I have added some of the slides David used in his presentation, but to read them, I have made them extra large which probably means they will spill over into the right hand side. I hope they can still be read.

Artist Tim Carroll produced these watercolours of the railway Village a number of years ago:

And last, but by no means least, please consider joining the Mechanics Institute Trust:
Finally, David showed us some of the plasterwork still in evidence. photos courtesy of English Heritage National Monuments Record.
Food for thought from the talk, it's a tremendous responsibility to restore the building and bring it into use again. 

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