1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Swindon

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search

SWINDON, a market town and municipal borough in the Cricklade parliamentary division of Wiltshire, England, 77 ¼ m. W. of London by the Great Western railway. Pop. (1891), 33,001; (1901), 45,006. It has two parts, New and Old. The new town grew up around the vast locomotive and wagon works of the Great Western railway, and is an important junction on that system with a separate station on the Midland and South-Western Junction railway. it arose rapidly on a strip of waste land, and churches and chapels were built for the workmen, whose numbers soon exceeded 10,000. Each man contributes to a medical fund which maintains the fever, accident and general hospitals, providing also laundries and baths. There are a mechanics' institute, containing a large library, theatre, reading-rooms and lecture-hall. The company owns a park with football and cricket grounds. An aisle of St Saviour's Church, dedicated in 1905, was built by the priest and congregation with their own hands. The picturesque old town stands on a hill over-looking the Gloucestershire borders, the White Horse Vale and Lambourn Down in Berkshire, and the great chalk uplands of Marlborough; while the camps of Blunsdon, Ringsbury, Barbury and Badbury are all visible. Here the chief buildings are the church, town-hall, market-hall and corn exchange. Old Swindon recieved the right of holding a fair from Charles I. Coate Reservoir, less than 2 m. south-east, is a broad lake which supplies a branch of the Berks and Wilts Canal. Its shores are beautifully wooded, and it abounds with fish. Swindon is governed by a mayor, 12 aldermen and 36 councillors. Area, 4265 acres.