Friday, 3 August 2012

Curatorial Corner - 2nd August 2012

Sporting History comes to STEAM

The gates arrive at STEAM
With the Olympics in full flow this week it was with great pride that STEAM took possession of a pair of gates that came from the old GWR Sports Ground in Swindon.  

The site has not been in use since 2005, and is currently undergoing development by David Wilson Homes.  Staff at the Museum were concerned that the gates would be lost forever, and put the wheels in motion to transfer them to STEAM.  David Wilson Homes couldn't have been more helpful and within a couple of weeks of correspondence the gates were being dismantled and on their way to the Museum.

The gates bear the initials BRWRAA, which stands for British Railways Western Region Athletics Association.  The were made in Swindon Works in the 1950s.

The Sports Ground in 1935
The sports ground that the gates come from dates back to the early 1930s.  It provided for athletics, cricket, tennis, hockey, bowls, putting and rifle shooting.  The opening of a pavilion in 1935 further provided a skittle alley, recreation and games rooms and changing facilities for both men and women.  It was a showcase for GWR sporting excellence.

The Museum is also showing an exhibition called Track and Field which looks at the sporting prowess of Great Western employees.  It displays some fantastic images of GWR sports teams, as well as memorabilia such a trophies and fixture cards.  The exhibition is free with normal entry to STEAM and runs until the end of the year.

The gates will now undergo some restoration before they are displayed on the Museum site.

If you want to find out a little more on the gates, and their unique history, check out the latest Swindon Web TV video at the link below.

Swindon Web TV - arrival of sports ground gates at STEAM

1 comment:

  1. Well done! Look forward to seeing them in a suitable setting