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.
In a week when the news from Charlottesville was vile, it’s been good to remind myself that our stay there a few weeks ago was great. Here’s the downtown area in more peaceful times complete with some tippity top pots and public planting.
Created for C’Ville Arts Artists’ Cooperative by Virginia Gardner December 2007.
The loveseat is sculpted in polystyrene. Sheets of poly were laminated together to form large blocks, which were then sculpted to form a large, comfy sofa. Several layers of fibreglass mesh and concrete were applied, over which the mosaic of mixed materials was applied.
It was designed specifically for this spot outside C’Ville Arts and is not for sale.
Artists from the cooperative contributed small personal objects which were also incorporated into the design, representing the cooperative nature of their organisation. The five elements of Feng Shui (Water, Fire, Earth, Wood and Metal) have been defined symbolically and form the basis of the design. Feng Shui can be described as the natural path with the least resistance. The practice of Feng Shui is about creating harmony within our environment.
The Hole in the centre is provided for drainage. I would appreciate it if you do not place objects in the hole. It’s a pain cleaning it out. Thank you.”
Visitors are encouraged to take photos and send them to the gallery. Sadly the website address given on the sign no longer appears to exist. I’ll be sending this blog post to them by other means 🙂