I HAVE read the two contrasting letters you ran on May 14 concerning the Mechanics’ Institute.
I appreciated the one from Mrs Ratcliffe who has a genuine feel for Swindon history despite the fact she wasn’t born here. The second one, from Mr D Burgess, is a man who seems to appreciate nothing.
I have to say that during this past decade it is the media who have fuelled this ongoing controversy.
It may be true to say that much of the fabric of the Mechanics’ is not pretty to look at. The style of the north end in your photo was influenced by the original Freemasonry people who paid the architect. The two octagonal towers and the centre apex are Masonic style and can be seen on many Victorian buildings of that period.
The Mechanics’ grew according to the needs of its members, so many bits were added on, particularly its theatre in 1931. Its social history is what makes it special.
Mr Burgess’ scoffing dismissal ignores the work that the New Mechanics’ Trust in Swindon has done over the past 12 years. It got the building upgraded on the national listing and its contribution to local cultural events has been well documented and it is a committee elected by AGM each year.
In addition the trust restarted the annual children’s fete five years ago, which was such a success for the Brunel 200 celebrations last year.
I ask Mr Burgess what has he done for Swindon?
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