Swindon Heritage is a not-for-profit community interest company (CIC), founded in the autumn of 2012 by a team of three local historians – Frances Bevan, Graham Carter and Mark Sutton – who are passionate about the heritage of our town. Since then we have produced 20 quarterly magazines and one special edition, adding up to 1,736 pages about Swindon’s heritage, although we still feel that we have only scratched the surface!
Unfortunately, although the magazine was able to be self-supporting and our 18th and 19th editions both sold out, our Winter 2017 edition (the 20th quarterly edition) is the last, partly due to the huge commitment of producing the magazine as volunteers.
We prided ourselves on producing a top quality magazine that reflected what we believe are the key themes running through Swindon’s heritage, namely: innovation, co-operation and excellence. We believed that by highlighting these aspects of our past we could help to promote a more positive image for our town that would not only serve to bring more visitors (and hopefully more investment) to the town, but also foster a better understanding of our heritage among those living in the town. Although Swindon Heritage was unique – no other town or city has ever thought their heritage was special enough for such a magazine – it became clear that our enthusiasm for our heritage was not always shared by everyone in Swindon, which is our ultimate disappointment.
Although it will no longer be published, Swindon Heritage became more than the magazine alone, so some of our other activities will continue, including the blue plaque scheme we founded in 2016. Over the past five years we have organised events, supported many other local history groups and individuals in Swindon and neighbouring towns and villages, and been instrumental in a range of projects and initiatives for the benefit of the town. For example, we co-founded Swindon in the Great War, a project that made sure the centenary of the conflict, when it arrived, was not overlooked in Swindon; organised Swindon Remembers, which marked the 75th anniversary, in 2015, of the Battle of Britain by throwing a spotlight on Swindon-born pilot Sqn Ldr Harold Starr.
We would like to put on record our sincere thanks to all those who supported the magazine, particularly subscribers and other buyers, contributors, fellow local historians and staff at Swindon Central Library, but also the many others (who are too numerous to mention) who shared our vision and made it possible. Thanks for shovelling the coal on the Swindon Heritage express!