Banner showing three images representing the railway village heritage known as The Works

The Swindon Heritage Action Zone

The Swindon Heritage Action Zone (HAZ) was launched in June 2019, as an ambitious five-year plan to revitalise the town’s unique railway heritage.

For nearly 150 years Swindon was home to the locomotive works of the Great Western Railway (GWR). From its opening in 1843 with 180 employees, the works expanded rapidly and at its peak in the early 20th century over 14,000 people worked there.

The GWR Works closed in 1986 and became a conservation area the following year. Since then, many of its historic buildings have found new uses.

The GWR Works attracted people from all over the UK to Swindon.

There was no accommodation near the GWR Works site so GWR instructed Brunel to design a village of 300 cottages. The village was laid out around a central green space called the High Street with four terraced streets branching off to the east and west, all named after stations along the GWR line.

A cricket field, church and school were soon provided on land to the west of the village. Shops and pubs facing onto the High Street followed within a few years. Buildings such as the Mechanic’s Institution and Health Hydro were constructed later in order to support the social, educational and health needs of residents.

The HAZ is a partnership between Historic England, Swindon Borough Council and other organisations including the Mechanics Institution Trust and South Swindon Parish Council.

This map shows the area covered by the zone.

More than £24m has already been invested in projects in the area including: 

  • £13.5m from the Towns Fund
  • £4m from the Getting Building Fund
  • £1.6m from the HAZ partnership


In 2022, the HAZ was rebranded ‘The Works’ following a consultation with local residents and organisations. 

The Works does not seek to rename the Railway Village or other areas, but is a name that encompasses the town’s historic railway quarter both north and south of the railtrack and including the Railway Village and Health Hydro, STEAM Museum and the Swindon Designer Outlet.

It will be used to promote the former HAZ area and Swindon town centre as a destination and place of historical interest once the Heritage Action Zone ends next year (2024). You will see on new street signage to be delivered through the HAZ.  

Organisations located within The Works can use the place brand to signal where they are located and to market their activities.

To request the brand guidelines, contact the HAZ project officer,

Read more about each project:

Image of interior of Health Hydro main pool

Image of three PCs outside the Railway Village

Image of people gathering insdie The Foundary railway works

Image of The Works logo and strapline