• Scott Sinclair

There's a lot more to Swindon than you think.

Updated: Jan 16

Swindon is not the first place you think of when you refer to culture, design, the arts or big industry. However, there's a little more magic to Swindon than its infamous Magic Roundabout. This little piggy is sometimes overlooked and in some cases looked down on by its neighbouring towns like Cheltenham, Cirencester, Bristol or Bath. In the immortal words of Neil Young 'Don't judge too harshly my friend'. Hopefully from our humble perspective, you can learn more about this friendly little town and why you should either visit or do business here.

Image by Pascal Debrunner

Little Town, Big Personality

Swindon began as a Saxon village. The name Swindon is derived from the Saxon words swine dun meaning pig hill or the hill where pigs were bred dating back to 1086 where it was mentioned in the Domesday Book in the 13th Century.

They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. With that in mind and the Town's current reputation the thought of pigs doesn't conjure up romantic images of a 13th-century town. However, a lot has changed since then. From personal experience, I have lovely fond memories of Swindon back in the 1970s and 80s. We used to travel to the town to visit the family. I always considered my view of Swindon to be biased until I traveled the globe visiting many cities and cultures.

Clearly, Swindon's architecture or culture cannot be compared to an Alpine village or an Inca ruin but its people can. Like the small communities, I met whilst traveling I have always found Swindonian's to be friendly, accommodating, warm and hospitable. More so than other notable towns and cities I have had the pleasure to visit or do business in. Clearly, a town is its people – or perhaps because the town doesn't have the same kudos a large lively city its people are more down to earth?

5 Facts That Will Make You Think

It's one thing to listen to one mans ramblings so here are some interesting facts about Swindon from Diana Doors to James Bond to challenge your perceptions of The Pig On The Hill or the little town with a big personality.

Fact 1

When it comes to architecture Swindon does have some very interesting buildings like the Link Centre, Spectrum or Renault building and the David Murray John Tower. Notably, the Spectrum building was designed by Norman Foster and featured in the James Bond film View to a kill along with the Motorola building. Power to the people, David Murray was designed by Douglas Stephen, a communist who saw architecture as a power for social good.

Fact 2

Culturally Swindon has seen its fair share of celebrities over the years, here are a few we could think of:

Billie Piper

David Hempleman-Adams

David Howell

David Murray John

Diana Dors

Don Rogers

Harold Fleming

Jamie Cox

Mark Lamarr

Melinda Messenger

Nick Hewer

Richard Jefferies

Rick Davies


If you know of any more, add a name to the comments section below.

Fact 3

Swindon is a powerhouse when it comes to large businesses. This small town packs a big punch and is home to 18 of the top 500 companies in the South West.

Nationwide Building Society £5,784,000,000

Intel Corporation (UK) Ltd £3,947,537,000

Npower Ltd £3,939,500,000

Connect Group plc £1,808,500,000

WH Smith plc £1,161,000,000

First Great Western Ltd £1,130,274,000

Man Truck & Bus UK Ltd £491,445,000

Arval UK Group Ltd £469,417,000

Cambria Automobiles plc £395,776,000

Synergy Health plc £380,453,000

Dick Lovett Companies Ltd £308,230,000

Tyco Electronics UK Ltd £192,115,000

Castrol Ltd £176,369,000

Intrinsic Financial Services Ltd £166,725,000

Swindon Pressings Limited £151,532,000

Openwork Ltd £150,977,000

Fairchild Semiconductor Ltd £124,492,000 Group Ltd £111,016,000

Of course there are many more fabulous companies, too many to list like Pressed Steel/Rover/BMW, Honda, Gerrard record decks and Spitfire planes.

Fact 4

From a Graphic Design point of view, this is the most obscure reference but a very interesting and relevant one. Virgin Airways' famous red-lady emblem was created by Swindon's very own Ken White, local homegrown mural man, and painter of industrial scenes.

Fact 5

Swindon Railway Works was originally founded by GWR's Chief Engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel who needed a centralised engine repair works. In 1837, Daniel Gouch, recruited and backed by Brunel proposed Swindon and the site was established on 2 January 1843.

In its heyday, the Railway Works covered 320 acres by the end of the 19th century producing the famous Castle, Hall, Manor, and mighty King class locos. It was the largest industrial complex to be found in Europe. It employed over 14,000 people and the main locomotive fabrication workshop, the A Shop was, at 11.25 acres, one of the largest covered areas in the world. In 1904, Swindon’s ‘City of Truro’ became the first locomotive in the world to reach 100mph – just 25mph short of today’s 125 types of diesel. At its peak in the 1930s, the works were capable of producing three locomotives a week.

The buildings still remain and have been redeveloped as part of the Designer Outlet Village. The rest of the site's extensive railway yard was redeveloped on a mixed-use basis, some for housing and some for commercial buildings including purpose-built storage for the English Heritage Archive and the National Trust's central office building known as Heelis.

The Hidden Gem

Based 8 miles North of Swindon Source Creative Agency is perfectly situated between Cheltenham, Bristol, and Cirencester at the heart of the Cotswolds which is why we're here for the same reasons Mr. Gouch placed the Railway Works in the heart of Swindon. Road links are perfect and allow for easy access to any major city or town in the South West, Bristol and Bath are only 40 minutes away. London is just 2 hours away in the car and 40 minutes on the train.

It's not just about the location. At Source, we have that BIG creative agency thinking minus the egos. We have a wealth of experience in Creative Ideation, Branding, Graphic Design, Websites, Digital and Print Design. We are versatile, adept and more importantly, we listen.

If you would like to take your creativity to the next level then get in touch today.

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