Swindon Heritage Preservation

Swindon Heritage Preservation - Logo of the organisation

Swindon Heritage Preservation

Introducing Swindon Heritage Preservation
(formerly the Mechanics’ Institution Trust)

The Mechanics’ Institution Trust has rebranded with a new name. We’re now: Swindon Heritage Preservation with the slogan ‘Preserving What Matters to Our Community’.

Our new brand is important because it represents our identity, current operations, and future ambitions. Since our formation in 1995, we’ve transformed from a campaign group focused exclusively on the Mechanics’ Institution into a building preservation trust. One tasked with championing Swindon’s heritage and empowering our community. 

Our new name also reflects our status as Swindon’s only building preservation trust. An organisation that combines building restoration, conservation, and history with community spaces, social enterprise, and private hire. We also operate various events, activities and groups, including:

  • Our award-winning global gardener’s programme
  • Annual heritage open days
  • Educational tours of the railway village museum
  • Heritage lectures
  • A model-making club and much, much more.

Our buildings

We currently operate four Grade II listed buildings in the railway village. They are:

  • The central community centre
  • The railway village museum and …
  • … the Cricketers, and the Bakers

We remain a powerful advocate for the rescue and restoration of the Mechanics’ Institution. We aspire to grow even further. And, with significant progress achieved in the past five years, we’re well-placed to play a leading role in the regeneration and reuse of Swindon’s heritage across the borough.

You can find out more about our work and get involved by viewing our new-look website at https://mechanics-trust.org.uk/.

Swindon Heritage Preservation

‘Swindon’ places us geographically and connects us to our town and community. It also reflects our commitment to offering advice and services across the town and championing all communities and people.

‘Heritage’ represents our core identity and establishes the parameters of our work. We consider heritage to include natural and built landscapes, buildings, memories and ideas, art and expression, artefacts and books, and traditions and preservation. We are interested in collecting, celebrating, sharing, promoting and preserving Swindon’s rich and diverse history and heritage.

Preservation’ signifies the work we do to restore, conserve, protect, and promote all aspects of Swindon’s heritage. Of course the preservation of our buildings remains our core priority.

The Mechanics’ Institution

Following discussions with partners and the local community, we realised that our previous name no longer reflected our operations as a trust. Further, we continue to receive many questions from the public regarding our relationship with the Mechanics’ building and whether or not we own it. Ergo, we’ve decided to drop the ‘Mechanics’ and embrace ‘heritage preservation’ as a more accurate description of who we are and what we do.

Despite this, we remain as committed to the rescue and restoration of the Mechanics’ Institution as we were in 1995. Thus we continue to work with strategic partners, such as Swindon Borough Council, Historic England and the Theatre’s Trust to secure a sustainable future for the building. 

We’re greatly encouraged by the Council’s recent cabinet paper entitled A Route Map for the Mechanics’ Institution. It sets out three key steps for unlocking the restoration of the building. We consider these cabinet proposals the best chance that Swindon has had to deliver a restored Mechanics’ since the formation of the Trust. We’ll continue to work closely with the Council to ensure the implementation of the route map and the long-awaited restoration of the Mechanics’.

Bob Wright, Acting Chair of Swindon Heritage Preservation, said:

The decision to adopt Swindon Heritage Preservation as our public-facing name represents an important moment in the history of the Trust. We’ve grown from a campaign group focused solely on the future of the Mechanics’ Institution to a community-focused organisation. One tasked with championing all of Swindon’s unique heritage for the benefit of all Swindonians.

We’re proud to be playing a leading role in the regeneration and conservation of Swindon’s historic Railway Village. But we have aspirations to grow further. We remain dedicated to the rescue, restoration and reuse of the Mechanics’. It’s our belief that a resolution on the building’s sustainable future is within reach.

Whether it be our work in restoring the historic Cricketers building, our community-led programme of events and activities, or our package of educational and skills-based opportunities, we’re turning words into action and bringing back Swindon’s heritage.’

If you share our passion for heritage and want to be a part of our journey, you can become a member from as little as £1 (plus donation) per year. Or join us as a volunteer. For further information, please contact info@mechanics-trust.org.uk.

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