Mechanics Institute Campaign Latest

By Shirley Ludford On Saturday 18th March 2017



Swindon Trades Union Council (TUC) has pledged it’s support to the Mechanics’ Institution Trust (MIT) in transforming their vision for the Mechanics’ Institute building into reality.

Nikki Dancey, Musicians Union delegate to Swindon TUC said ‘In an era where regeneration is generally a code for more shops, chain restaurants or overpriced housing, the vision set forward for the regeneration of the Mechanics’ Institute and the surrounding area is a breath of fresh air. The people of Swindon deserve access to affordable cultural, social and educational activities, and the plans put forward by the MIT are an important step in that direction. The needs of the local community should always be put before profit, and that is one of the things that makes these proposals so exciting.’

Jon Timbrell, Secretary of Swindon TUC said ‘Both sides of my family came out of the railways. My grandparents have fond memories of using the Mechanics’ for dances, watching theatre and musical performances, taking classes and enrolling in the library scheme. The Mechanics’ was a place where working class Swindonians could access the sort of cultural and educational activities usually denied them, in the same way as the nearby Medical Fund Hospital offered railway workers access to such a high level of healthcare that it went on to form a blueprint for the NHS. What was unique about both of these initiatives was that they were run directly by the community itself to meet its own need. That spirit of solidarity and community empowerment runs through the plans for the regeneration of the area put forward by the MIT, which is something that as Trade Unionists and local residents, we are very excited about. In an era where we are seeing standards of living plummet, libraries close and disposable income for leisure activities squeezed, this project is just what the people of Swindon need.’   

Buildings such as Central Community Centre, also operated by the Mechanics’ Institution Trust have been invaluable to Swindon TUC and other community groups and have been used over the last several years to host several high profile trade union events, such as an event to commemorate Swindon workers role in the 1926 general strike and the annual Swindon Radical Bookfair.

Swindon TUC has pledged itself to support the Mechanics’ Institution Trust in realizing its ambitions for the Mechanics’ Institute and the surrounding area and is looking forward to publicizing and participating in awareness and fundraising activities in the near future.

Swindon Trades Union Council represents over 10,000 trade union members in Swindon, in the public and private sectors and has grown substantially in the past year, holding many events, demonstrations and campaign on issues of importance and interest to local working people.

Swindon Trades Union Council is agroup which exists to coordinate activity and solidarity between local trade union branches and campaign on behalf of local working people.

Swindon Trades Union Council can be reached for further comment at

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