Introducing Swindon Heritage Preservation (formerly the Mechanics’ Institution Trust)

By Jamie Hill - 28 May 2024


The Mechanics’ Institution Trust has rebranded to Swindon Heritage Preservation with a new slogan ‘Conserving What Matters to Our Community’.

Along with the new logo they are working with a local graphic designer to develop a new visual identity that includes all of the buildings they currently operate, as well as some important heritage buildings and features of Swindon Railway Village and the WORKS area.

They will be rolling this branding out over the coming months.

A spokesperson said: "Our new brand is important because it represents our identity, current operations, and future ambitions. Since our formation in 1995, we have transformed from a campaign group focused exclusively on the Mechanics’ Institution into a building preservation trust dedicated to championing Swindon’s heritage and empowering our community. 

"Our new name also reflects our status as Swindon’s only building preservation trust, combining building restoration, conservation, and history with community spaces, social enterprise, and private hire. We also operate various events, activities, and groups, including our award-winning Global Gardeners programme, annual Heritage Open Days, educational visits to the Railway Village Museum, heritage lectures, tours of the Railway Village, a model-making club, and much, much more.

"We currently operate four Grade II listed buildings in the Railway Village – the Central Community Centre, the Railway Village Museum, the Cricketers, and the Bakers – and remain a powerful advocate for the rescue and restoration of the Mechanics’ Institution. We aspire to grow even further, and with significant progress achieved in the past five years, we are well-placed to play a leading role in the regeneration and reuse of Swindon’s heritage across the Borough."

The Mechanics’ Institution

The orginal trust was formed in 1995 with one sole purpose: to save the Mechanics’ Institution as a community heritage asset for the future generations of Swindon.

The organisation has continuously championed the conservation of the Mechanics and believe that, with commitment and perseverance, the sustainable public reuse of the building can be secured in the near future. 

In the past five years, the Trust has also significantly changed; they are now a building preservation trust with ambitions to grow their future operations in, and beyond, the Railway Village Conservation Area.

A spokesperson said: "We nevertheless remain committed to the rescue and restoration of the Mechanics’ Institution, and continue to work with our strategic partners, including Swindon Borough Council, Historic England, and Theatres Trust to secure a sustainable future for the building. 

"We were greatly encouraged by the Council’s recent cabinet paper entitled A Route Map for the Mechanics’ Institution, which sets out three steps for unlocking the restoration of the building: reviewing and updating the 2020 viability study; identifying an achievable funding strategy; and addressing the ownership issue."

The strategy has been backed by an initial budget of £110,000 with the option to raise a further £100,000 if required. The organisation believe the cabinet proposals are the best chance that Swindon has had to deliver a restored Mechanics in many years, and will continue to work closely with the council to ensure the implementation of the Route Map, and the long-awaited restoration of the Mechanics.

Bob Wright, Acting Chair of Swindon Heritage Preservation, said: "The decision to adopt Swindon Heritage Preservation as our public-facing name represents an important moment in the history of the Trust. We have grown from a campaign group focused solely on the future of the Mechanics’ Institution to a community-focused organisation, tasked with championing all of Swindon’s unique heritage for the benefit of all Swindonians.

"We are proud to be playing a leading role in the regeneration and conservation of Swindon’s historic Railway Village and have aspirations to grow further. We remain dedicated to the rescue, restoration and reuse of the Mechanics’ and believe that a resolution on the building’s sustainable future is within reach.

"Whether it be our work in restoring the historic Cricketers building, our community-led programme of events and activities, or our package of educational and skills-based opportunities, we are turning words into action and bringing back Swindon’s heritage."

To find out more and get involved visit

You can also become a member from as little as £1 (plus donation) per year or join them as a volunteer.

For further information, please contact [email protected]

Your Comments

Be the first to comment on this article

Login or Register to post a comment on this article

Subscribe to The Link

Registered in England & Wales. No: 4513027, Positive Media Group, Old Bank House, 5 Devizes Road, Old Town, Swindon, SN1 4BJ