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Landmark business buildings feature in new Swindon book

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Angela AtkinsonAngela AtkinsonSwindon author, blogger and businesswoman Angela Atkinson is reaching new heights with her second publication - Swindon in 50 Buildings.

The new book by Angela, who writes the popular blog Born Again Swindonian and runs a proofreading and editing business, looks at 50 of the town’s buildings ranging from the historic, to the iconic, to the modern and uncovers some hidden gems with fascinating histories.

Angela, whose first book Secret Swindon went into a second print run, spent several months delving into the town’s archives to find 50 buildings to select. The only stipulation from the publisher, Amberley, was that the buildings had to be located within the town and had to be still standing.

“Swindon has more than 600 listed buildings, but I didn’t want to choose just from that list,” said Angela.

“I wanted to include buildings with a story to tell, so while the Railway Village as a whole is included, with special mention of some of the buildings within it – which is only right and proper – I have included others that aren’t necessarily as lovely to look at but have an interesting history.”

Among Angela’s favourites, and adorning the book’s cover, is the landmark David Murray John tower, which mixed retail and office space with social housing. Another favourite is the Crumpled Horn pub at Eldene – a rare example of 70s kitsch architecture and the most recent addition to Swindon’s listed buildings portfolio.

Other inclusions are 16th-century Rodbourne Manor – one of Swindon’s oldest buildings, Norman Foster’s Spectrum building – commissioned by the French car company Renault for their UK operations and opened in 1982 – and Hugh Casson’s Wyvern Theatre.

Angela, who runs editing, proofreading and ghost-blogging business AA Editorial Services, added: “Some didn’t make it to the list, such as the Motorola building, which I would like to have included but didn’t have space.

"Indeed, choosing which to include was akin to drawing up the guestlist for a wedding. I drew up a list of all the buildings that I felt merited inclusion and then had to start making tough decisions and crossing half of them out.

“I hadn’t planned to include the Brunel Centre until, in my research, I came across a review of it by architecture writer, Colin Amory. I saw the phrase ‘Swindon has acquired a touch of Milan’ and my interest was piqued. I felt it had to go in after that.”

Swindon in 50 Buildings retails at £14.99 and is available through Amazon or Amberley Books at www.amberley-books.com It will also be on sale at Swindon Library.