Blogger turns spotlight on Swindon's secrets for new book

By Claire Dukes - 19 July 2018

HeritageArts and Culture

Swindon’s hidden gems are being revealed to the world thanks to a local blogger and businesswoman, who has turned her passion for the town into a book.

Angela Atkinson, whose Born Again Swindonian blog has a wide following in the town and among Swindonians around the world, has used her research to write Secret Swindon.

She was approached by Gloucestershire publisher Amberley Publishing to pen the title on Swindon in its ‘Secret’ series and jumped at the chance to help promote the town, which she has loved and lived in for 25 years.

The book, which went on sale in mid-July, is being officially launched during a book-signing at Swindon Central Library on 28 July, from 11am to 1pm.

Angela, 61, who was brought up in a Derbyshire mining village and now lives in Grange Park, West Swindon, said: “I moved to Swindon back in the 1990s from a part of the country that had been devastated by the 1980s pit closures.

"Coming here was truly like coming to the land of milk and honey. The town has a fascinating, many layered, multifaceted history. It also has work, facilities, green spaces aplenty and great transport connections – and, above all, wonderful people.”

Angela’s first blogs were a guidebook entry on the Magic Roundabout and a piece on the West Swindon sculpture trail, written as part of a module she undertook while studying as a mature student at the University of the West of England. She had decided to get back to education after taking early retirement from her admin role with the Swindon research councils.

After graduating with a 1st Class joint honours degree in English four years ago, she set up her editing, proofreading and copywriting business AA Editorial Services which she juggles with her blogging and she has now written some 600 homages to her adopted town.

A few of the lesser known facts about Swindon that Angela has championed in her blogs and the book include:

  • Swindon born artist Ken White designed the red lady emblem you see on Virgin Atlantic aircraft.
  • Jonathan Meades, essayist, broadcaster and architecture authority, placed the David Murray John Tower on a list of five extraordinary buildings in the world.
  • Artificial limbs were pioneered in the GWR works for the men who lost body parts while working in the shops.

Secret Swindon’s RRP is £14.99. It can be bought through Amazon and via Amberley Books at https://www.amberley-books.com/secret-swindon.html.

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