A brand new exhibition, ‘Daniel Gooch – Life and Legacy’ opens at STEAM on 23 July.
Daniel Gooch was the first Superintendent of Locomotive Engines working for the Great Western Railway (GWR).
This exhibition explores Gooch’s life and work and how he influenced the other GWR chief mechanical engineers who followed in his footsteps. The display, which will run until well into next year, will also coincide with the 200th Anniversary of his birth. Gooch was born on 24 August 1816 and died on 15 October 1889.
As part of the Swindon175 celebrations taking place this year, the new exhibition marks the pivotal role Gooch played in Swindon becoming a railway town in 1841 and focuses on the vital work Gooch carried out on the world-famous Box Tunnel which opened 175 years ago.
Felicity Jones, Assistant Curator at STEAM, explained: “In 1840, Daniel Gooch wrote a letter to Isambard Kingdom Brunel outlining why he thought Swindon was the ideal place to base the Great Western Railway’s engine repair facility. GWR directors gave the go-ahead in 1841 and so Swindon Railway Works was born. Daniel Gooch was pivotal in helping to create the Swindon that we know today.
“As GWR’s Superintendent and Chief Engineer, Gooch also took a lead role in managing the operations of the 2,964 metre-long Box Tunnel. He also acted personally as a pilotman for the first 48 hours of the tunnel’s operation and narrowly averted a nasty collision between the train he was piloting and an oncoming mail train.
“The exhibition is also designed to be a part of this year’s Swindon Railway Festival that takes place on 10 and 11 September. We are sure visitors will enjoy finding out about Daniel Gooch and the legacy he left, not only to the town of Swindon but to all those who travel on the railways today.”
Cllr Garry Perkins, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member responsible for STEAM, said: “This fascinating exhibition is an important part of the town’s year-long programme of Swindon175 events, celebrating 175 years of Swindon as a railway town. It is a very fitting tribute to Gooch and the major part he played in creating the town as we know it today, while also marking the important anniversary of the Box Tunnel.”
The new exhibition includes objects, documents and photographs from STEAM’s own collection alongside some items on loan from the National Railway Museum collection.
‘Daniel Gooch – Life and Legacy’ will be located in the special exhibition area, close to the recreated 1930s Station Platform.
The exhibition is free with standard STEAM admission, special event admission and also to STEAM season ticket holders. It will be open on 23 July 2016 and will remain on display well into 2017.
The Museum is open every day between 10.00am and 5.00pm.
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