Swindon Mechanics' Institute viability study

Report shows a viable future for the 'theatre at risk' as multi-purpose events venue.

With £23,400 funding from our Theatres at Risk Capacity Building Programme, alongside financial support from the Architectural Heritage Fund, the Mechanics Institute Trust commissioned specialist consultants Fourth Street and Donald Insall Associates to undertake a viability study to determine the best use for the Mechanics' Institute.

The viability study has shown that a high-quality, multi-purpose events venue is the best option for the future use of the building.

The report also outlines the four and a half year delivery programme, which would provide a way the Mechanics’ to be brought back into viable reuse for its community and to once more be standing proud at the heart of the Railway Village.

The Mechanics’ Institute is an important Grade II* listed building and a fine example of its kind, which has been on our Theatres at Risk register since 2006. It was built by the Great Western Railway in 1855 to provide a place for recreation and education for railway workers. It included a theatre and a library, among other amenities.

Following the publication of the report, Swindon Borough Council’s cabinet member for heritage issues, Cllr Dale Heenan is recommending that the council makes a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) to secure ownership of the building. This will be discussed at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday 25 March.