The Mechanics' Institute, formed in 1844, moved into a building looking rather like a church and included a covered market, on 1 May 1855. The New Swindon Improvement Company, a co-operative, raised the funds for this path self-improvement and paid the GWR £40 a year for its new home on a site at the heart of the railway village. It was a groundbreaking organisation that transformed the railway's workforce into some of the country's best-educated manual workers.[8]

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In May 2007[out of date], 65.3% of households in Swindon had broadband Internet access, the highest in the UK, up 5.5% from June 2006.[40]

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The original settlement is now known as Old Town.

Annual rainfall averages slightly under 720 mm (28 in) per year, with 123 days reporting over 1 mm of rain.

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The majority of Swindonians (70.3%) identify themselves as Christians. This is followed by those of no religion (19.2%), Muslims (1.0%), Sikhs (0.6%), Hindus (0.6%), other (0.2%) and Jews (0.1%). In addition, 8.0% of people chose not to answer this question in the 2001 census.[39]

During the first half of the 20th century, the railway works was the town's largest employer and one of the biggest in the country, employing more than 14,500 workers. Alfred Williams[15] (1877–1930) wrote about his life as a hammerman at the works.[16]

In October 2008 Swindon made a controversial move to ban fixed point speed cameras. The move was branded as reckless by some[20] but by November 2008 Portsmouth, Walsall, and Birmingham councils[21][22] were also considering the move.

In 2015, Public Health England found that 70.4% of the population was either overweight or obese with a BMI greater than 25.[41]

"Looking forward to 2013/14" Miles Storey

Swindon has its origin as a small market town, used mainly for barter trade until the mid-1800s.

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The local council was created in 1974 as the Borough of Thamesdown, out of the areas of Swindon Borough and Highworth Rural District. It was not initially called Swindon, because the borough covers a larger area than the town. It was renamed as the Borough of Swindon in 1997. The borough became a unitary authority on 1 April 1997,[25] following a review by the Local Government Commission for England. The town is therefore no longer under the auspices of Wiltshire Council.

Welcome to the Itinerary Planner. Use this tool to build your own journey or choose from an exciting range of specially selected tours.

Reigning Aviva Premiership champions Saracens preserved their 100…

On 1 July 1923, the GWR took over the largely single-track M&SWJR and the line northwards from Swindon Town was diverted to Swindon Junction station, leaving the Town station with only the line south to Andover and Salisbury.[12][13][14] The last passenger trains on what had been the SM&A ran on 10 September 1961, 80 years after the railway's first stretch opened.

The 2001 census[out of date] shows there were 180,061 people and 75,154 occupied houses in the Swindon Unitary Authority.[37] The average household size was 2.38 people. The population density was 780/km² (2020.19/mi²). 20.96% of the population were 0–15 years old, 72.80% 16–74 and the remaining 6.24% were 75 years old or over. For every 100 females there were 98.97 males. Approximately 300,000 people live within 20 minutes of Swindon town centre.

The absolute minimum is −16.0C (3.0F),[34] recorded in January 1982, and in an average year 45.2 nights of air frost can be expected.

Between 2000 and 2008 the University of Bath had a campus in Walcot, east Swindon.

Swindon

There are lots of things to see and do in Swindon including a relaxing stroll around Lydiard House and Park or shopping at the McArthurGlen Designer Outlet.

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There are numerous bus stops just around the town centre and the Swindon Bus Station is a two minute walk from the town centre, under the underpass towards The Parade. There is also a Park and Ride facility available in Swindon and this runs from Wroughton Park and Ride.

Swindon hosted Radio 1's Big Weekend in May 2009 at Lydiard Park. Building on the work of Radio 1, Swindon Borough Council organised the Big Arts Day in 2010. Aiming to be an annual event celebrating the arts it was held at Lydiard Park in July for three consecutive years before being cancelled due to lack of funding.[24]

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Since 1999 Oxford Brookes University has had its Ferndale Campus in north-central Swindon, offering degrees and diplomas in Adult Nursing. The main OBU campus is 35 miles (56 km) northeast of Swindon. The university also sponsors UTC Swindon, which opened in 2014.

Swindon bus operators are Thamesdown and Stagecoach. The local council acknowledges the need for more car parking as part of its vision for 2010.[out of date][52] Swindon is one of the locations for an innovative scheme called Car share. It was set up as a joint venture between Wiltshire County Council and a private organisation, and now has over 300,000 members registered. It is a car pool or ride-sharing rather than a car share scheme, seeking to link people willing to share transport.

Swindon is represented in the national parliament by two MPs. Robert Buckland (Conservative) was elected for the South Swindon seat in May 2010 with a 5.5% swing from Labour and Justin Tomlinson, also Conservative, represents North Swindon after a 10.1% swing at the same election. Both increased their majorities at the May 2015 election. Prior to 1997 there was a single seat for Swindon, although much of what is now in Swindon was then part of the Devizes seat.

For those more creative purchases look out for the local and international markets that regularly come to the town.

Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson travelled through Swindon in The Boscombe Valley Mystery: "We lunch at Swindon, and I see that we shall be there in twenty minutes."

Whether you are in search of the latest fashion, or have an eye for a bargain, this is the place to be

You can also discover the history of the Great Western Railway at STEAM Museum, learn about the history of various gadgets at the Museum of Computing or visit nearby farm park Roves Farm or the butterfly world and craft village at Studley Grange.

In 2004[out of date], NHS planners devising services for senior citizens estimated that 5 percent of Swindon's population were not 'ethnically British'[49] and most of those were culturally Polish.

From the north: follow the A419 and then the signposts to Swindon.From the east: follow the M4 in the Bristol direction and leave at Junction 15, following the signposts to Swindon.From the south: follow the A346, following the signposts to Swindon.From the west: follow the M4 in the London direction and leave at Junction 16, following the signposts to Swindon.

How the council intends to secure long term growth and prosperity for the Borough.