Then And Now

This section of the site is provided in partnership with The Swindon Society and The Richard Jefferies Society. It enables you to see how the surrounding area used to look and learn more about your town. We are adding value by providing a current photograph taken as far as possible from the same position. The project involves a fair bit of detective work, so if you can add or correct information, please get in touch. This is your site, so if you would like to get involved in extending this project, please let us know.

Title Description Datesort icon
Newport Street, The Old Independent Chapel, 1804

The Old Independent Chapel, 1804 at the time of this photograph. in Newport Street, on the Burma Garage site,  It was the first chapel built in Swindon. In 1866 the congregation moved to a new building on the corner of Bath Road and Victoria Street.

June 1, 1804 Then
Old Mill Lane, Holy Rood Church

The earliest known photograph of Swindon and one of the earliest anywhere. It depicts Holy Rood, Swindon's original parish church first mentioned in documents in 1154. The photograph was taken by Nevil Story-Maskelyne who was a friend of WH Fox Talbot, the inventor of negative-positive photography. Holy Rood was used until the dedication of Christ Church in 1851 and partly demolished that year. Note 'The Lawn', the Goddard family manor house on the left

July 1, 1847 Then
GWR, Locomotive, 4-2-2 Lord of the Isles, 1851

Broad Guage Locomotive, 4-2-2 Lord of the Isles, 1851. Pictured in front of the newly built St Marks Church. In the same year it was displayed at the Great Exhibition, then later put into storage after being withdrawn from service, but then was scrapped in 1905.

June 1, 1851 Then
GWR, Swindon Works Hooter, 1867

Initially a large bell was installed to summon the workforce when the town expanded a larger noise was needed so they replaced the bell with a steam hooter. The twin domes were adapted by the company from their original design for ships' sirens. This was sounded at 3 intervals amounting to 15 minutes between 5.20am and 6am. it could be heard for twenty miles and caused complaint but was still in use until 1986. Note date is estimated.

July 1, 1867 Then
Albion Street, Webbs Wharfe, Wilts and Berks Canal 1873

Its hard these days to picture the canal running along the footpath behind Albion Street, let alone the wharf and landing stage that once stood there. Here are the pictures to help you visualise it

June 1, 1873 Then
Bridge Street - Gory display, John Hill Butchers 1873

A very early photograph showing a scene we would never see these days, the graphic Christmas meat display of John Hill, Butchers at 38 Bridge Street in 1873. John Hill is standing behind the trestle table

December 1, 1873 Then