Author Topic: Questions about what West Swindon was like 20-30 years ago  (Read 3645 times)

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Offline RJDG14

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Questions about what West Swindon was like 20-30 years ago
« on: January 10, 2015, 01:03:47 PM »
I'm new to the TalkSwindon forums, and have signed up due to the fact that I'm interested in the history of areas of where I live, with this site being the best place to discuss such topics (all the other Swindon forums are about the football club). I've had a decent knowledge over West Swindon since 2004 when I moved to the area, however the only info which I have from earlier is either from the Link Magazine, some pictures on Flickr, and a couple of maps (plus OldMaps).

First of all, I stumbled upon a picture of a garden centre located almost exactly where the West Swindon Centre is now in an issue of the Link Magazine. The building was sort of to the side of this car park, so was this a mislabelled building as it stands today, or did they have a garden centre for a few years? I think the second, though, since the car park almost filled what I think is part of the building.

Next, are there any pictures out there of Whitehill Way, Tewkesbury Way, Roughmoor Way or Mead Way from the 1980s/90s? I'm curious since it's hard to picture them today with low plants.

Almost all of the maps which I've come across from the day seem to show an entrance to Freshbrook from the Whitehill/Great Western roundabout, cutting across where the Volvo garage now is. There also appears to be some proposed roads which were never built - for example, a different entrance into Old Shaw Lane (then Shaw Road). Were any of them ever built, then demolished/altered?

Finally, this one is about Greendown School. I once asked a few teachers there if they knew if the whole of the old looking school was built in 1986, and some said yes, while a couple mentioned that the B (further west) block was built before the D bit. If you went to Greendown back in the 1980s, please could you answer this one.

If you have a prediction/answer for any of these, could you give it, since I've tried to research but still don't have enough information.  :santa_smiley:



Offline Spunkymonkey

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Re: Questions about what West Swindon was like 20-30 years ago
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2015, 03:40:20 PM »
I had a Saturday job at Carrefour whilst studying for A levels between 1984-1986. Carrefour owned the West Swindon Centre before Asda were there. I know that Carrefour had a garden centre on site because two of my school friends worked there and we used to meet for lunch. I think it must have been where the Harvester pub is, but I can't remember exactly.

I studied for a degree between 1987 - 1991 with a year long placement at SBC in 1989/90, before joining them full time. I can remember being on site when Shaw Road, Cartwright Drive and Ridge Green were surfaced. I didn't have a car then and had to carry tarmac samples on my pushbike. This must have been in 89/90. I don't think the road layout has changed since then. I would have had photos of the works, but threw them away when I moved house last year.

I don't know much about Greendown School, but did a bit of structural work there years ago. The council will have plans and building control records, but as I don't work there anymore I no longer have access to them. You need a friendly council officer who is prepared to have a quick look through the archives in their lunch time.

In 1991/2, I was part of the site team involved in building the section of Mead Way from Sparcells to what is now Thamesdown Drive. One of the contractors owned a hot air balloon and treated a few of us to a flight from Lydiard Park. I took a few aerial photos which might be of interest to you. I will dig them out and take a scan of anything interesting.

The council built all of the roads in West Swindon and had thousands of site photos. Unfortunately, most were destroyed each time the council reorganised (which was regularly) because each reorganisation or office move involved cramming people in to smaller office spaces. 

hen they tried to streamline the and then relocated from Premier House to Wat Tyler

 



Offline RJDG14

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Re: Questions about what West Swindon was like 20-30 years ago
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2015, 05:06:42 PM »
You've given some good information there - I'll look forward to seeing the old images of West Swindon. When you did some structural work at Greendown a few years ago, was this the construction of the M block in 2002/3, or was it a more minor job?

Offline Spunkymonkey

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Re: Questions about what West Swindon was like 20-30 years ago
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2015, 05:24:04 PM »
I can't remember much about Greendown School as I think I only visited once for a minor structural survey. I vaguely remember being asked to investigate a few cracks in the blockwork near to the roofline of one of the buildings. I wasn't involved at the construction stage. This would have been a minor maintenance issue - circa 2004.

I think it was a brick / blockwork building with steel beams supporting the roof. I can't remember what our diagnosis was - either wind trying to lift the roof and causing minor cracking of the blockwork or thermal expansion of the steel roof trying to push the walls outwards. Nothing major.


Offline the gorgon

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Re: Questions about what West Swindon was like 20-30 years ago
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2015, 05:38:33 PM »
I had a Saturday job at Carrefour whilst studying for A levels between 1984-1986. Carrefour owned the West Swindon Centre before Asda were there. I know that Carrefour had a garden centre on site because two of my school friends worked there and we used to meet for lunch. I think it must have been where the Harvester pub is, but I can't remember exactly.


It certainly was a garden centre (don't recall ever going there mind you), thought from my hazy memory I think it's was on the the southern side of the WSC (near the chippy) as opposed to where the harvester is, whether it's been replaced by a car park or loading bay area for the small shop units I can't say. I also remember it being a Gateway before it finally became ASDA and the petrol station being run by ESSO.

RJDG14 for more photos try http://www.geograph.org.uk (not the most user friendly website I must admit) you might stumble on some decent photos.

Offline RJDG14

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Re: Questions about what West Swindon was like 20-30 years ago
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2015, 06:00:06 PM »
I'm a member at Geograph, and they have a few semi-decent photos, but nothing much.

Offline the gorgon

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Re: Questions about what West Swindon was like 20-30 years ago
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2015, 06:39:19 PM »
There are a few snippets of W. Swindon history from nearly 30 years ago at the BBC Domesday project website http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/domesday/dblock/GB-408000-183000/page/7

Offline Muggins

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Re: Questions about what West Swindon was like 20-30 years ago
« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2015, 07:31:17 PM »
It might be a good idea to also look through the Flickr - Swindon collection.  When we did the history for over here (North Swindon - not the new North Swindon, the old one!) we visited the Swindon Reference Library and then several visits to the Wiltshire records office which was in Trowbridge but now in Chippenham. That could be where all the old Council docs went. And on one (sorry, two) memorable occasions Merton College Oxford, but that might not apply to your neck of the woods. 

Might also be worth visiting Swindon Viewpoint web page.

We had to pay for copies/plans etc. but they were very useful.   

If the West Swindon development was planned and prepared like the Northern Development there may well be writings to go with the maps and plans. 

'Course when I were a nipper, West Swindon was open countryside and series of small hamlets. We had to jump the railway line to get there - actually I wonder were that railway line went?  It wasn't the main line nor the Gloucester line and it's a cycle route now.  I'll also check my canal book, I think there are reference in there.
Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)

Offline RJDG14

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Re: Questions about what West Swindon was like 20-30 years ago
« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2015, 09:37:50 AM »
Swindon Viewpoint seemed quite interesting, and there were some videos of interest, such as one from 1974 on early groundworks in Toothill, another from the mid 1980's about cable, and finally one from the same era on activities for the youth in the west (nothing to do with Greendown, though).

Offline Muggins

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Re: Questions about what West Swindon was like 20-30 years ago
« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2015, 05:32:47 PM »
Have you seen this Wikipedia entry?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lydiard_Park_Academy
Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)

Offline RJDG14

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Re: Questions about what West Swindon was like 20-30 years ago
« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2015, 06:45:39 PM »
Yep - much was even contributed by me.

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Questions about what West Swindon was like 20-30 years ago
« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2015, 07:10:26 PM »


TS member Swindoncentric has (unless memory fails) always been very good at rooting out old, interesting stuff.  Worth dropping him a PM with a link to this topic :)


Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Questions about what West Swindon was like 20-30 years ago
« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2015, 07:14:52 PM »

Try here:  https://www.flickr.com/photos/swindonlocal/sets/

I can't promise you'll find what you want but I guarantee you'll find it interesting.  I haven't looked through for a while because, once I start looking, I find it very difficult to stop again  :santa_embarassed: