Saturday, 31 January 2015

The GWR Carriage Works, Water Tower and UTC

There couldn't really be a greater contrast between the Swindon Designer Outlet, a shopping complex built within the disused Swindon railway engine works and the former Carriage and Wagon works. Built in 1868,  and on the opposite side of Station Road to the railway village, the Carriage Works are still waiting for new life to be breathed into them, by finding a role in the twenty first century.
The metal grills have been removed from the windows and they are being reglazed and painted, giving a smarter appearance from the road, but internally maybe not much altered apart from the station end of the building where a breize block wall can be seen, erected in recent times when there was a club there.
The outside of the building:
 This gives some idea of the length of the carriage works:
 The part being painted is covered in orange net.
 From there, we walked behind the carriage works and into an area which is now a car park where there was an amazing view of the Mechanics' Institute over the wall with the Murray John tower just visible behind it:
Next, we walked down the road to have a look at the UTC, University Technical College, a £10million state of the art campus in the Old School Building of the GWR works.
 There's a glorious new front:
 Despite the cold day, the courtyard area is a sun trap, and the metal panels were  hot according to Jane
The rest of the courtyard has been carefully restored:

And beside it is the iconic water tower, also restored:
This is what the UTC website says:
'As part of the original Great Western Rail works, the UTC Swindon site creates a link between the historic engineering and the engineering future of the local area, with the Old School Building and the iconic Water Tower featuring prominently. Both structures, which are Grade II listed, were treated sympathetically, with the Water Tower being restored and brought back into educational use'.
Maybe the Carriage Works will be restored and find new life before too long. 

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