To drivers it was simply the Carfax Street car park above the bus station in the town centre, but to readers of fantasy writer Jasper Fforde, it was one of the Seven Wonders of Swindon – but no more
The site is immortalised as the Double Helix of Carfax in Fforde’s Thursday Next series of novels which are set in a Swindon existing in a parallel universe.
But its days were numbered in early 2014 when Swindon Council announced the car park and its spiral access and exit ramps would be demolished as part of the Kimmerfields redevelopment.
When SwindonLink contacted Fforde about the prospect of one of his visions being vapourised, the author surprisingly gave his blessing to the reshaping of the town centre saying: “Whether it will be dismantled to be rebuilt at a theme park in Arizona has yet to be determined,
“Dismayed as I might be to learn of the loss of this historic landmark to a senseless and degrading act of vandalism, I am heartened to learn that the new development of Swindon Town Centre will feature a 40-foot-high bronze cast of myself, surrounded by 4 eternal flames and an honour guard.
Describing the Double Helix , Jasper wrote: ‘Swindon’s famous and groundbreaking early design in stressed steel concrete laid the groundwork for Corbusier, Frank Lloyd Wright, Gaudi and many others.
‘It was designed by Swindon University physicist Alvin Suggs in 1893 as a friction compensated slope to study Galileo’s theories of conservation of momentum – ‘Sugg’s Marble run’ as it became known.’
Read more about the Double Helix of Swindon