The Swindon heritage action zone

The Mechanics’ Institution

Mechanics institution image

The Mechanics’ Institution is the priority project for both the council and Historic England. It has national heritage significance but is of great local significance and it is held very dear to Swindon people’s hearts. 

What has happened so far

In order to identify how the Mechanics’ Institution can be brought back into use and how to this could be funded, a working party has been set up which includes representatives from Swindon Borough Council, the Mechanics’ Institute Trust (MIT), the Theatre’s Trust and Historic England (HE). This group has overseen the following reports:

In October 2020 a Hazardous Materials Survey was carried out by Socotec which identified the full range of hazards within and established a safe route for moving through the building.  

In January 2022 a Condition Survey was undertaken to assess the current condition of the building, including the interior, and estimate the potential costs of refurbishment. The survey report is expected in Autumn 2022.

Viability study 2020

The MIT secured funding from the Theatre’s Trust to commission consultants, Fourth Street, to carry out a viability study on potential future uses for the building. This study concluded that there should be demand for the MI to function as a venue for meetings, conferences and weddings which could underpin its financial viability and enable it to operate as a multi-purpose venue with a broader use by the community for meetings and arts, cultural and community events. A detailed Business Plan will be commissioned once the final results of the Condition Survey are available. This will also need to take into account the impact of the pandemic on the original assumptions of the Viability Study.

You can read the Viability Study below: 

Next steps

Whatever its future use, refurbishment of the Mechanics’ Institute is likely to cost many millions of pounds and funding will need to be sought from different sources such as the Nation Heritage Lottery Fund (NHLF). 

There will need to be a fundraising campaign and we would very much like to hear your ideas. If you would like to get involved or make any suggestions, contact the Mechanics' Institution Trust (MIT) at: treasurer@mechanics-trust.org.uk.

A further event will be organised when circumstances allow us to publicise the results of the above studies and to gain feedback from residents.

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