Author Topic: Mechanics Institute Antemortem Analysis - Who, What, When & Why  (Read 56856 times)

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Offline PAV

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Re: Mechanics Institute Antemortem Analysis - Who, What, When & Why
« Reply #60 on: February 28, 2011, 03:33:59 PM »
No one has ever nominated the MI?  Battersea Power Station has been.

http://www.wmf.org/watch/watch-sites-1996?country_name=United+Kingdom&tid_1=All

The currect deadline for nominations is March 15th.
Anyone interested in helping me put the MI forward for World monument status?

If that happens would there ever be any chance of anything productive happening to it - or would World monument status simply be used (as listed status is now) as another excuse to object to any kind of future redevelopment?

Offline Daniel Rose

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Re: Mechanics Institute Antemortem Analysis - Who, What, When & Why
« Reply #61 on: February 28, 2011, 04:11:56 PM »
For info the Trust has been approached last month to submit an application to the WMF following very useful conversations between the WMF director and myself. We will be submitting this shortly and I'm happy to share via the Trust's website.

Also quick fact check: the Railway Village is not a designated world heritage site but it has been on the tentative list for several years as part of the proposed world heritage site of Brunel's GWR line between paddington and Bristol with the Railway Village and Works forming an important element. The Mechanics' is listed specifically in the proposal.

Offline Karsten

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Re: Mechanics Institute Antemortem Analysis - Who, What, When & Why
« Reply #62 on: February 28, 2011, 05:59:56 PM »
The Railway Village and MI are seperate. Always have been.
GWR built the Railway Village, but didn't build the MI. They just leased the land its built on.

Anyway the MI hasn't been nominated.

Offline the gorgon

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Re: Mechanics Institute Antemortem Analysis - Who, What, When & Why
« Reply #63 on: February 28, 2011, 06:24:26 PM »
"Remember that the Railway Village, the Works and the track west to the box tunnel are deemed a World Heritage site.

No one has ever nominated the MI?  Battersea Power Station has been."

Surely The Mechanics' is the centre of The Railway Village?
Therefore nominated by default?


That's what I'd have thought. It's certainly mentioned here http://whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/1319/

However, on it's OWN I personally think it's not worthy of inclusion. A Mechanics Institute wasn't unique to Swindon, some of the others have gone on to become bigger and better things such as universities, UMIST for example or if you want one closer to home the University of Gloucestershire.  Yes its roots are in Cheltenham's and Gloucester's MIs - :bash: what is it with Swindon, is there something in the water??? 

Also as a building it's not in the same class as Battersea (it's not appeared on the cover of a Pink Floyd album for a start ;)) and wasn't designed by the man who came up with the classic red phone box.

Offline Karsten

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Re: Mechanics Institute Antemortem Analysis - Who, What, When & Why
« Reply #64 on: February 28, 2011, 06:33:44 PM »

Taken from the application for the World Heritage site of interest.
Note it says Railway village and does not mention the MI.
http://www.culture.gov.uk/images/publications/WHAF_Brunel_s_Great_Western_Railway.pdf

Please provide a brief description of the proposed site, including the physical characteristics. 200 words
------
The Site proposed is multifaceted and is best described as a string of pearls loosely linked by the line of the railway containing further beads which provide context but not forming part of the Site itself. At either end Paddington Station, London and Temple Meads, Bristol, Brunel’s magnificent railway termini and the Great Western Dock with the SS Great Britain in Bristol’s Floating Harbour.
The railway line itself includes 8 pearls:
Paddington Station, London
Warncliffe Viaduct, Hanwell
Maidenhead Bridge
Swindon Railway Works and VillageBox Tunnel & Middle Hill Tunnel
Landscape section through Bath
Approaches to and Temple Meads Station, Bristol
Great Western Dock with SS Great Britain, Bristol
Between these ‘pearls’ are fine beads such as:
Impressive Sonning Cutting
Graceful bridges over the Thames at Basildon and Moulsford
The Great Western Railway Centre, Didcot
Ornamental viaduct and massive embankment through Chippenham
River and road bridges, Bathford
Tunnels at Brislington
Throughout, and especially west of Swindon even the minor structures – bridges, retaining walls, cuttings, embankments, and tunnels are of thoughtful design and detailing. Other Brunel features include in Bristol’s Floating Harbour, the Underfall Yard and Cumberland wrought iron swing bridge and, above the Avon Gorge, the Clifton Suspension Bridge.

Offline Karsten

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Re: Mechanics Institute Antemortem Analysis - Who, What, When & Why
« Reply #65 on: February 28, 2011, 06:46:25 PM »

What do the words
Swindon Railway Works and Village
mean?

the Railway Village is described as the planned buildings that GWR built.
The open area of High Street became Emlyn Square after GWR leased the land to the New Swindon Improvement company so it could build the original MI which is the North part withthe big stained(smashed) window.

If it is part of the World Heritage site then it can get world Heritage funding.  I think perhaps it isn't though.
It is how ever part of SBC heritage sitewhich describes SBC supposedly intent of preserving the area.
That's why they denied Mr Singh's hotel plans.



Here are some interesting documents that have done the rounds.. not sure if they were taken heed of though.

The Great Western World Heritage Site: UK Tentative List application form
http://www.culture.gov.uk/images/publications/WHAF_Brunel_s_Great_Western_Railway.pdf

The Railway Heritage Area
http://www.swindon.gov.uk/section9.pdf

Swindon Railway Village Conservation Area Appraisal
#http://www.swindon.gov.uk/swindon_railway_village_ca_appraisal_with_map_and_mgt_plan.pdf

Offline I Could Do That

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Re: Mechanics Institute Antemortem Analysis - Who, What, When & Why
« Reply #66 on: February 28, 2011, 10:48:20 PM »
"It is how ever part of SBC heritage sitewhich describes SBC supposedly intent of preserving the area.
That's why they denied Mr Singh's hotel plans."

Mr Singh's plans were about to be ODPM'd.
That's why he withdrew them at the last minute.
Then he he threw his toys out of the pram
Left the roof exposed.
Proud to be gone

Offline Karsten

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Re: Mechanics Institute Antemortem Analysis - Who, What, When & Why
« Reply #67 on: March 01, 2011, 03:58:08 PM »

Thought people might want to see what can be done with a Mechanics Institution.
This is Hudderfields
http://www.the-media-centre.co.uk/offices/lofts/

http://www.liveworknet.com/live-work-sec52-1.html

A similar thing could be done with part of Swindon's.
I'd like to see people living and working in part of it.


Offline Karsten

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Re: Mechanics Institute Antemortem Analysis - Who, What, When & Why
« Reply #68 on: March 01, 2011, 04:15:07 PM »
Found a better link about Creative lofts on the liveworkhomes site.

http://www.liveworkhomes.co.uk/component/option,com_mamboor/Itemid,260/openrealty,616374696f6e3d6c697374696e677669657726616d703b6c697374696e6749443d3135/

Offline Karsten

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Re: Mechanics Institute Antemortem Analysis - Who, What, When & Why
« Reply #69 on: March 01, 2011, 05:53:30 PM »
Here's a powerpoint pres. of the restoration.

Althought this MI is pretty square, it had a lot of rooms inside and is comparable to Swindon's.
Even had a Theatre.  No ugly fly tower tho'.

http://www.swindon.org.uk/mechanics/TheCreativeLoftsrefurb.ppt

Offline the gorgon

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Re: Mechanics Institute Antemortem Analysis - Who, What, When & Why
« Reply #70 on: March 01, 2011, 06:31:03 PM »
Here's a powerpoint pres. of the restoration.

Althought this MI is pretty square, it had a lot of rooms inside and is comparable to Swindon's.
Even had a Theatre.  No ugly fly tower tho'.

http://www.swindon.org.uk/mechanics/TheCreativeLoftsrefurb.ppt


I like what they've done.  I'm sure something like that could be done in Swindon.  Trouble is I have feeling that certain parties would vehemently oppose it as it doesn't fit with their "vision" for the future of the MI.

 

Offline Karsten

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Re: Mechanics Institute Antemortem Analysis - Who, What, When & Why
« Reply #71 on: March 02, 2011, 12:25:33 AM »
The key to something like this is a group with a positive attitude willing to talk and to action.

Those people we need not name, are never mentioned in reports or anything I've read.
(Stopped reading the SA years ago)
It's best to start afresh and with a can do attitude.
Ask what can be done, not talk about why it can't.

That's not quite in the Spirit of the GWR members and the New Swindon Improvement company.
They got on with raising funds and building the Mechanics with the funds they could get.
Restoration should happen the same way, start and continnue as and when funds are available.
If you wait until a complete plan and funds are available it will be a Heritage monument not a Heritage building.

Karsten

Offline PAV

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Re: Mechanics Institute Antemortem Analysis - Who, What, When & Why
« Reply #72 on: March 02, 2011, 09:25:44 AM »
It sounds like a very good idea, but I would be interested to know how many of those spaces are rented out, how many are actually used by people who work in the creative industries and how many are simply used as flats?

Offline Karsten

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Re: Mechanics Institute Antemortem Analysis - Who, What, When & Why
« Reply #73 on: March 02, 2011, 10:35:49 AM »
All sold, let out and there's a waiting list..
You have to apply.
It is run by a property management/housing assoc./developer.

Call them if you want.  I got the presentation from them.
The management company don't just manage ‘Creative Lofts’ but all the buildings around it.
They have multiple sites around UK.

They are similar to Lenta who manage Alexander House in central Swindon, but on a bigger scale.
In fact I’d say they are what the ‘New Swindon company’ should have been.
Restoring buildings instead of demolishing them.

Why do people always say Nice, BUT ...?
To me there seems to be a lot of negativity on TS.
No disrespect meant.

The LiveWork network has saved many of Britain's heritage buildings.
It's a great idea that works.

I'm currently trying to get people like them interested in Swindon's MI.
There doesn't seem to be enough ground support for restoring the building in Swindon.

I don't want SBC to finish its mothballing of the MI and then NOT acquire the building and simply write off the expense of the 'Repairs'.
That will leave the ownership in Mr Singh’s hands or another dubious property developer and the building will become a bigger eye sore and deteriorate, with a possible partial collapse finally condemning it.

The Huddersfield MI was in pretty bad shape similar to Swindon's MI, with the roof partially collapsed and in serious danger after being moth balled for years.  Which is what SBC is doing to the MI now.
Unlike in Swindon it wasn't mothballed again after its 'Urgent Repairs' notice, but restored.

Offline PAV

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Re: Mechanics Institute Antemortem Analysis - Who, What, When & Why
« Reply #74 on: March 02, 2011, 11:21:19 AM »
Why do people always say Nice, BUT ...?
To me there seems to be a lot of negativity on TS.
No disrespect meant.
I say "but" because it almost seems to good to be true.

I think this would be an excellent use for the Mechanics. Close enough to the town centre and the train station to be within walking distance and something that can offer via longer term solution to the question of what the Mechanics shoudl be.

Offline I Could Do That

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Re: Mechanics Institute Antemortem Analysis - Who, What, When & Why
« Reply #75 on: March 02, 2011, 12:42:57 PM »
More flats?
..... Umm.... whoopee??
Proud to be gone

Offline Ringer

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Fire Mechanics Institute
« Reply #76 on: March 03, 2011, 12:39:20 PM »
Quote
FIRE crews tackled a blaze in part of the roof of the historic Mechanics’ Institute this morning. Called 999 at 10.44am.

http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/8887848.Fire_at_historic_Mechanics__Institute/
To qualify for inclusion there is only one rule - something described must have been said to have happened. `If the facts don`t fit the legend, print

Offline 20Eyes

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Re: Mechanics Institute Antemortem Analysis - Who, What, When & Why
« Reply #77 on: March 03, 2011, 12:44:23 PM »
What a coincidence, both the Mechanics and the Locarno mysteriously catch fire, despite there being nothing (ordinarily) at either location which could start a fire.

I'm starting to wonder whether various interests are hoping to just raise the buildings to the ground so that the stumbling block of acceptable preservation is conveniently no longer an issue.
"Censorship reflects society's lack of confidence in itself. It is a hallmark of an authoritarian regime." ~ Potter Stewart

Offline I Could Do That

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Re: Mechanics Institute Antemortem Analysis - Who, What, When & Why
« Reply #78 on: March 03, 2011, 12:48:16 PM »
Wouldn't have thought this was an ideal time of day for arsonists?

Guessing it was either a careless lob of a cigarette end, or some of the alleged faulty wiring, health & safety issues, mentioned last year
Proud to be gone

Offline Karsten

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Re: Mechanics Institute Antemortem Analysis - Who, What, When & Why
« Reply #79 on: March 03, 2011, 01:40:13 PM »
If the electrical wiring was so bad, why didn't SBC shut it off?

What ever the cause is, SBC  are responsible for the building at the moment.
It's a shame about the roof.. it will make a restoration more expensive and will raise the initial cost of proper Urgent Repairs.
But it also paves the way for more modern roof solutions.

The changes Mr Singh made would probably have to be undone anyway.

If it is arson, then I hope SBC improve security or rather the lack of.