It is vital for Swindon to restore the Grade II* listed Mechanics Institute – the centrepiece of the Railway Heritage Quarter and of national significance. Its restoration will transform perceptions of Swindon and the town centre.

Built in 1855, Swindon’s Mechanics Institute was paid for by GWR workers. It housed the UK’s first lending library and provided healthcare service for workers – regarded by Nye Bevan as a blueprint for the National Health Service.

Forward Swindon is driving short term improvements to prevent deterioration, to upgrade surrounding public realm, explore developer interest and develop proposals for full restoration and long-term use, including options for education, research and leisure uses.

A £25,000 grant has been secured from Historic England for urgent minor works. We are in negotiations to secure ownership of the building and access. A bid to secure major investment by Swindon and Historic England is being worked on.