Arkell’s Brewery, which was established and grew in the 19th Century alongside the Great Western Railway company, is helped the team celebrating 175 years of Swindon’s railway heritage by commemorating the 200th anniversary of the birth of Daniel Gooch on Wednesday 24 August.
North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson and Sir Arthur Gooch unveiled a brand new bust of the great engineer created by talented young sculptor, Fatima Alves, a student at Swindon’s New College, toasted by Arkell’s beers which slated the thirst of the town’s railway workers since the brewery opened 173 years ago.
At the unveiling college principal Graham Taylor, said: “New College students and staff are delighted to be involved in Swindon 175 and the Sir Daniel Gooch celebrations. New College course leader Dan Hazelton and the Design & Technology students have relished the challenge of producing a lasting legacy for Swindon’s unsung hero of the railway age, and one who had a profound impact on the growth of Swindon. The Gooch bust was designed and produced in college using the latest 3D printing techniques.
“I can’t imagine a better place to reveal the work by Fatima Alves and there is no better combination than steam trains and beer, particularly when the history of the GWR and Arkell’s Brewery are so closely intertwined.”
Daniel Gooch was born on 24 August 1816 in Northumberland. His father, an iron founder, moved to Monmouthshire in Wales in 1831 where the young Daniel began training as an engineer which included a spell with Robert Stephenson, the son of the great George Stephenson, in Newcastle upon Tyne before he was recruited by Isambard Kingdom Brunel at the tender age of 20, with the title of ‘Superintendent of Locomotive Engines’ for the Great Western Railway.
Gooch was a hugely successful train engineer. He was also responsible for identifying Swindon as the location of Brunel’s railway works and for designing the first complete locomotive to be built here.
1865 was a year to remember for Gooch. He was elected chairman of the Great Western Railway and also elected as Conservative MP for the nearby town of Cricklade, a constituency he held for the next 20 years. In 1866 he was also created a baronet and h passed away in 1889, aged 83.
George Arkell, managing director at Arkell’s Brewery said: “We were delighted to host the celebration of Sir Daniel Gooch at the brewery. He has obviously sat in the shadow of Isambard Kingdom Brunel for too long and it’s wonderful to help reveal his true legacy to Swindon. We’re sure his longevity was due in part to the health-giving properties of a pint of Arkell’s ale.”
Caroline Black, Project Manager of Swindon175 added: “Swindon175 is about celebrating our past, present and future so it was absolutely fitting that we handed this project over to the students to create their own style of traditional bust, but with a modern take. We’ve not been disappointed, the bust is a beautifully crafted piece of art that deserves to be seen by the entire town.
“The plan is that Sir Daniel will go on tour in public places over the next 12 months beginning at Arkell’s Brewery. He will also take pride of place in the Brunel Centre, Central Library and Steam Museum with other venues yet to be confirmed. The brewing of the Golden Gooch beer and the unveiling of the bust at Arkell’s is the perfect way to celebrate the 200th birthday of the man who put Swindon firmly on the map.”
In celebration of 175 years of Steam in Swindon, Arkell’s is brewing three special cask beers. The first, celebrating Sir Daniel Gooch, was being brewed during the celebration of his birth on 24 August. Golden Gooch (3.7% ABV) will be available from 29 August.
From 3 October 3, it’s Hooter (5% ABV) and from 7 November, the final beer, Steam Powered (4% ABV) will be available across the Arkell’s estate of pubs.
Head brewer, Alex Arkell, said: “It’s quite a responsibility to come up with three special beers to commemorate such a huge part of Swindon’s heritage. When I was researching their ingredients I wondered what type of Arkell’s beer he would have tasted back in the late 19th Century. It’s fascinating to think that 150 years’ later Swindon people are still drinking beer brewed by us. It adds a welcome continuity to the town which has a much longer history than many appreciate.”