Friday Bench: At Foxham Horse Show

An improvised set of benches fashioned from some of the items used for the show jumping classes at FoxhamΒ Horse Show last weekend.

Unusually for a country show, most of the seating being used were the hundreds of horses entered for the various classes held in 9 show rings on the day.

Lined up, the jump components are reminiscent of nearby Maud Heath’s Causeway at Kellaways, which I drove past on the way to the showground.

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Friday Bench: Herman Miller

I visited the Herman Miller factory in Melksham last week – purveyor of top quality design-led office furniture. They hosted a tour as part of Heritage Open Days.

The building’s architecture is pretty amazing – a long-term partnership the company has had with Nicholas Grimshaw, who’s designed all their facilities in Bath and Chippenham as well as this one.

Examples of their furniture are found all round the office, so they were a natural to feature for a Friday Bench today πŸ˜‰

Whilst there I realised:

  1. the site is where my uncle Gerald did his national service in the RAF
  2. I’ve sat on and used Herman Miller furniture in my previous day job.

I’m amazed to think a global brand is made so close to home. The chairs we sat on in the meeting room were so comfortable, I want one!

It was a fascinating visit and tour.

Friday Bench: from the old railway works

Click to enlarge if needed – the benches should be easier to see if you do

These benches are located en route from Swindon station to the Steam museum which tells the story of Swindon’s now defunct railway works.

Indeed we are looking at where the works used to be. I was particularly interested in seeing how this area had changed as I used to pass through on my way to my voluntary work at Heelis, the National Trust’s HQ.

Back then, this area was a mass of railway lines as it was where chains were tested for use on the railway. Some of these chain testing pits are still there to the left of this photo, but the rest of the area was concreted over when they started to build what’s now called the Old Railway Quarter around 10 years ago.

I always enjoy coming here to look for clues to the site’s previous use. The buildings you can see at the end are part of Historic England’s HQ and housed the drawing office of the old railway works.

Whenever I find a reminder of the old railway works, I always feel a sense of loss, even though this area is being redeveloped with some sensitivity to what went before. It’s hard to imagine the noise, bustle and activity which was swept away and replaced by this much quieter – albeit award winning – scene.

Energising Business

An ironic find from the photos I took on Saturday of the demolition and soon-to-be-gone buildings on a huge chunk of the Westinghouse site in Chippenham.

Westinghouse continues in its latest incarnation as part of the Siemens Group, but doesn’t need the space it once used as the employer of thousands of Chippenham residents.

If you’ve ever travelled by train or on an underground railway, it’s likely products which originated on this siteΒ helped you make that journey.

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