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Thursday, 5 January 2023

Fenella Elms Remembered

 It is with great sadness that we learned of the death of Fenella Elms, a wonderful ceramicist, we are lucky to have at least two of her beautiful pieces in the Swindon Collection.

I met Fenella Elms twice, once when she came to the grand unveiling of her 'Large Flowpot' seen above when Grant Aston also came along to reveal 'Radioactivitat', both ceramicists chatted about their influences and how pleased they were to have their works picked for inclusion into the Swindon Collection. They came in April 2015, here's the post written at the time, where you can see the Flowpot.

Subsequently in July 2016, Fenella came and gave a fantastic 'in conversation' with curator, Sophie Cummings. On this occasion she brought a huge number of pots with her so we could see the progression in her work. Here's a link to that post.

Monday, 2 January 2023

Letter of Support for Plans

 In the previous post, I gave an update on the situation regarding Apsley House since it has been put on the market. The hope is that the building will remain in community use rather than be converted into apartments. You can add your comments by clicking on this link: We need your support | Apsley Corner — APSLEY CORNER 

This is what I posted as Chair of the Friends:

'When Friends learned that Apsley House was being sold by Swindon Borough Council, we were concerned that this historic building, open to the public since the 1930s, would no longer be generally accessible. Our hopes for the potential buyer included: someone with a creative vision and a track record of imaginative work who could improve the appearance of the building and include some public access, while providing opportunities for employment, for independent retailers and increased footfall to Old TownArthur Dallimer's proposals chime with everything we would hope for the building; breathing new life into it, and improving the Old Town offer; this aspirational plan is very positive for Old Town. Let's do everything we can to make this happen.'

Plans for Apsley House Released

 Last week, the Swindon Advertiser ran an article entitled 'Swindon Museum could become shops and restaurants under plans' with some architect's impressions of how the outside of the building could be enhanced. Local property developer, Arthur Dallimer has put forward plans to buy and develop Apsley House, once home of the Swindon Museum and Art Gallery, closed for Covid on 21 March 2020, and closed for good in June 2021. Swindon Borough Council had failed to maintain the building and decided it needed too much investment to bring it back into use, and put it on the market. The Friends successfully applied to have it listed as an Asset of Community Value, and it was accepted as one;  South Swindon Parish Council triggered a 6 month moratorium on the sale by expressing an interest in buying Apsley House, but after looking into the business case, and having the building surveyed, it was decided that the parish could not move forward with the project. Other people interested in buying it have until 5 January 2023 to submit their bids to SBC.

Fears were expressed initially that Apsley House might share the fate of the Corn Exchange and the Oasis, or that it would be converted into HMOs and fall further into disrepair. The building has been in community use as a museum for 90 years and as a gallery for 60 years, and occupies an important position at the heart of Old Town and needs to remain accessible to the community.

There is a page where you can add your comments on the plans for Apsley Corner here: 

Architect's impressions of how the building could look are shown below, courtesy of the Swindon Advertiser:

Another article has appeared in the Swindon Advertiser today and can be read here.