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13 November 2014

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You are in: Wiltshire > History > Archive Films > Brown's Towns: Swindon

A screenshot from Brown's Towns: Swindon

A screenshot from Brown's Towns: Swindon

Brown's Towns: Swindon

We delved into the BBC archives and found a TV programme 'Brown's Towns:Swindon' made in 1973, all about the developing town. Watch online now.

For years some people have looked down on Swindon - and it's the butt of many jokes. Even a neighbouring MP has called it a dump.

And in the comedy series The Office, having to move to Swindon was seen as being a fate even worse than having to work in Slough!

They can say what they like but many people are proud of Swindon - and they might be about to have the last laugh.

Around £300m is going to be spent on revamping the town, in one of the biggest projects of its kind in the country.

David Murray-John

Swindon pioneer David Murray-John is interviewed

More than 30 years ago Swindon was a glint in the eye of the town it is now - huge areas of the town were yet to be built, and even then it was being touted as a "town of the future".

What was Swindon like without the Motorola factory? Without the Oasis leisure centre? BBC reporter Peter Brown found out during a series 'Brown's Towns' which toured similar towns around the country.

This programme was first broadcast over 33 years ago on 23rd January 1973. You can see how fast the town has grown up.

last updated: 17/10/2008 at 09:58
created: 27/03/2006

Have Your Say

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i have the misfortune of being located in Swindon and let me assure you it is a bleak desolate wasteland

chris mckinlay
I remember when the Oasis Lesiure Centre was first opened and how excited we all were in our family. It's a shame though that the comment from David Murrary-John to have a first division football team and a good theatre has not been fruitful. The theatre although refurbished is still not suitable for the population of Swindon. My mother and father came down from Liverpool in 1961 with me and just like the lady in the film, my mother thought Swindon was awful and wanted to go back home.My father was in the building industry and the town needed his skills and we have been here ever since. Lots of happy memories watching that, even saw an old friend on one of the clips.

Martin Upfold
We moved to Swindon in 1966 from London, when I was 18 months old and it's amazing looking back at all these news clips from the 60's and 70's, how much this town has changed, in good ways as well as bad.I think the youngsters in the town should learn more about our local history, to keep our Swindon heritage going for many years to come, before it disappears forever.

David Wainwright
What an anmazing record of 1970's swindon , made in the year that I left the town,the people of Wsindon should be very grateful to the foresight of the pioneers of that time for the prosperity it enjoys today .

I have lived in swindon all my life and this film would have been made when I was about 12 so it was great to see the ols swindon I lived in as a kid did you all see the old litter bin on the concrete lamp post Thankyou for adding this to your web site

Anthony Charlton, Swindon
It was great to see the passion and self-belief of John and others in building a better town, but sad to see the apathy of youths, even then, which led several good ideas to fail.This town needs a champion like John now as much as it did then, because despite the New Swindon Company development is still poorly coordinated, and the very same complaints made in this film can still be heard today.

I was born in Swindon in 1974 and lived there for 26 years. I returned this year for a visit. I was shocked to witness and hear about the rapid decline of life in the town. There is an atmousphere of fear of the people around you and the once high emloyment has now ended. The shape of Swindon is still changing with housing being built on green belt areas. A depressing place to reside.

Graham Brown
I was born in Swindon and moved to Canada in 1960 and think it a marvelous country . Now retired and coaching ladies soccer . Call me in Port Hope , Ontario .

Christine Read
I left Swindon with my parents 43 years ago to emigrate to Australia.My first visit back to Swindon was in 2003 and I got the shock of my life! I could not believe the changes! Changes for the better and I enjoyed shopping in Swindon and if I could afford it,would most definately return to live.

bridget lucas
People who are critical of Swindon are obviously not very well travelled! But not being as rude as this narrow minded snooty lot, I refrain from insulting those who live in the many places I have visited (and even lived in) that are far, far worse.......


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