In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Swindon like this:
SWINDON, two towns, a parish, and a sub-district, in Highworth district, Wilts. The towns are Old S. and New S. Old S. stands on an eminence, near the Wilts and Berks canal, 1 mile SSE of S.-Junction r. station, and 17 NE by E of Chippenham; was known, at Domesday, as Svindune; commands extensive views into Berks and Gloucestershire; presents a picturesque appearance, with old house s of red brick and stone; is a seat of petty-sessions and a polling place; and has a head post-office,‡ two banking offices, and two chief inns. ...
New S. stands around S.-Junction r. station, on the Great Western railway, at the forking of the lines toward respectively Chippenham and Gloucester; originated in the removal hither, in 1841, of the entire locomotive department of the railway from Wootton-Bassett; occupies ground which previously was all waste; contains erections of the railway company, constructed at a cost of nearly £500,000, including a great r. station, refreshment-rooms and hotel, a shed 490 feet by 72, an engine-house 290 feet by 140, and extensive workshops; and includes great ranges of neat dwelling-houses, a mechanics' institute, a library and reading room, and a public park. The two towns, for all ordinary business purposes, are practically one. A weekly market is held, and a weekly newspaper published, on Monday; and fairs are held on 21 March, 3 April, 23 May, 25 Sept., and 11 Dec. A spacious corn exchange, with a conventional classic front, was erected in 1866. St. Mark's church, in New S., was built at a cost of £8,000; and is in the decorated English style, with tower and spire 140 feet high. The Independent chapel in Victoria-street was built in 1866, at a cost of £3,000; and is in the Lombardic style, with a tower 60 feet high. There are also a church in Old S., three dissenting chapels, an endowed school with £54 a year, and charities £108. Pop. of New S. in 1861, 4,167. houses, 716.The parish comprises 3,136 acres; and is ecclesiastically cut into Old S. and New S. Real property, £37,769; of which £14 are in quarries, £1,559 in canals, and £172 in gasworks. Pop. in 1851, 4,876; in 1861, 6,856. houses, 1,204. The Lawn, contiguous to Old S. town, is the seat of the God dards. A Druidical stone is at Brome. The living of Old S. is a vicarage, and that of New S. is a p. curacy, in the diocese of Gloucester and Bristol. Value of Old S., £302;* of New S., £120.* Patron of Old S., the Lord Chancellor; of New S., the Bishop of G. and B.The sub-district contains 8 parishes. Acres, 26,608. Pop., 12,224. Houses, 2,346
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Swindon in Wiltshire | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 30th March 2017
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