When you think of Swindon, you may not think of Tech or Innovation. But Swindon was built on Innovation. In fact the town is best known for its railway heritage, as the base for the Great Western Railway Workshops. Where some of the most well respected engineers of the time worked on producing, repairing and maintaining some of the best locomotives of the time.
Swindon started its life as a Anglo-Saxon settlement, high up on a hill, and was originally known as Suindune, which was made up of Swine (Pig) and Dun (hill). So yes, we were a market town, know for the sale of pigs! Humble beginnings! The original settlement is now known as "old town", and sits at the top of Victoria Hill. Whilst the railway village is at the bottom, and now connected up.
When the Industrial Revolution started, it was responsible for an acceleration of Swindon's growth. It started with the construction of the Wilts and Berks Canal in 1810 and the North Wilts Canal in 1819. The canals brought a wealth of trade to the area and Swindon's population started to grow with the new jobs being created.
In the early 1840'w, Isambard Kingdom Brunel's Swindon Works was built for the repair and maintenance of locomotives on the Great Western Railway The GWR built a small railway village to house some of its workers, with this still standing protected and proudly as part of Swindon. The Steam Railway Museum and English Heritage now occupy part of the old works. A new innovate scheme is in place, partnering Swindon Borough Council and Nationwide Building Society, which takes home in the newly refurbished Worksheds.
During the second half of the 19th century, Swindon New Town grew around the main line between London and Bristol. In 1900, the original market town, Old Swindon, merged with its new neighbour at the bottom of the hill to become a single town.
The works' decline started in 1960, when it rolled out Evening Star, the last steam engine to be built in the UK. The works lost its locomotive building role and took on rolling stock maintenance for British Rail. In the late 1970s, much of the works closed and the rest followed in 1986. The community centre in the railway village was originally the barrack accommodation for railway employees of the GWR. The building became the Railway Museum in the 1960s, until the opening of the STEAM Museum in the 2000s.
Swindon has lots going for it, With its location being 35 each way between Reading and Bristol, and fantastic links to Bath, Cardiff, the Cotswolds and much more.
In a nutshell, We love our home town, but our plans are so much bigger. But Swindon is what made us who we are, and now Swindon will be our launch site for Tote. And we cant wait to share the ride with the fantastic people of Swindon!