I really, really miss The Great Blondinis, writes Angela Atkinson.
A sculpture of them used to reside in Wharf Green and I loved it. It was bright and colourful and didn’t half brighten up a dull day – and goodness only knows we get enough of those!
I get that Wharf Green needed rejuvenating and, after initial cynicism, really love the big screen – I’ve enjoyed several fabulous evenings down there watching live streaming of opera and ballet from the capital – fantastic! How cool is it to have that facility in Swindon? But did we have to lose the Great Blondinis? 🙁
I know they weren’t everyone’s cup of tea being somewhat ‘loud’ but I really loved them. They were indeed garishly-coloured and somewhat imposing at 17ft tall. The sculpture was created in 1987 by John Clinch (also responsible for Diana Dors) using scraps of aluminium from Swindon’s railway works.
For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, the Great Blondinis were an acrobatic troupe that performed at circuses in Swindon in the 1920s. I’m sure though they were known beyond this area. I’m not from Swindon and I’m certain I’d heard of them before coming here. Though I could be getting confused with Charles Blondin, the first tightrope walker to cross Niagra Falls? Hmmm.
Anyway…post the sudden disappearance from Wharf Green that left me quite bereft I managed to discover that the sculpture had been saved but I didn’t know where it had gone. Thanks to a certain non-tax paying (allegedly) search engine I do now. A quick furtle on the Internet found Duncan and Mandy’s website which reveals that the restored Blondinis now reside in St Mark’s park in the Ferndale/Gorse Hill area.
So whilst it’s great to see them all cleaned up and in use I’m still sad I don’t get to see them anymore.