In the pioneering days of early Victorian railway engineering the decision of Gooch and Brunel to locate an engine house and works just to the north of Swindon led to the creation of a sizeable engineering enterprise and a new settlement.
The Great Western Railway became by far the largest employer in the region and for more than a century the fortunes of the town were inseparably linked with the development of the railway.
In 1984, however, many of the works buildings were under threat due to rationalisation within British Rail Engineering Ltd. Consequently, many of the buildings were listed and a photographic record was begun. The quality of the buildings and their significance for railway history were such that a more detailed study was justified. The recording exercise was therefore expanded, and this remarkable book is the result of that project.
By looking at the buildings themselves it traces the architectural history of the railway engineering works and of the associated railway village. The former general offices house the National Monuments Record, the public archive of English Heritage and a primary source of information on the architectural and archaeological heritage. This fascinating guide visits one of Britain's finest monuments to the early days of the railway age.
Foreword to the paperback edition (2000)
1. ‘Furze, Rushes and Rowen’ – a Greenfield Site
2. The ‘Principal Locomotive Establishment’, 1841-1849
3. The Creation of New Swindon, 1841-1849
4. Consolidation and Growth, 1850-1863
5. The Armstrong Era, 1864-1877
6. The Mature Works and Company Town, 1877-1900
7. A New Century, 1900-1995
8. The Building Legacy