Steppemum" I've lived all over the place and totally agree with all *PhyllisDoris says. Oh, and for the record I have not criticised the inhabitants of the town in any way, and have no reason to do so.
Going into Swindon town centre is the most depressing of experiences. Considering all the big companies in the town eg Intel, Nationwide. there are absolutely no excuses for how bad the place is. I read that the average salary in Swindon is higher than anywhere else in the country. Goodness knows what the council spends its presumably large income on! Well, I suppose one thing would be the pointless alteration of the roads near the theatre.
Parking is a total rip off, the station is a disgrace, despite what seems like years of alterations outside, and apart from a tiny bit of Old Town there isnt even a decent place to go for a meal. The Oasis and other leisure facilities are laughably bad. As for the hospital - virtually brand new and virtually no parking despite being built on a huge site. Again, rip off charges and at the moment cars are queuing to get in back to the dual carriageway.
The town centre is soulless but there is so much more to Swindon! Each community has their own branch library rather than just one on the town centre like other places I have lived. Lots of community groups around. Steam museum, science museum. Outlet shopping. Great parks, great countryside etc.
I'm not such a fan of Swindon as I once was. I think it was it at its best late 80' s. At that time we had our current facilities (ice rink, cinemas, bowling, theatre, swimming pools) but less people. Since then it seems that we have only got more houses and more pubs. I am happy in Swindon cos as you say, it' s about the people, but I did prefer it before. Steppemum- I've got an 18 year old who has been through Commonweal and now at uni, a 10 year old who will hopefully start there in September and a 2 year old! Eldest got 7 A stars, 1 A and 3 B's and really enjoyed school so we were more than happy. In fact we moved into old town for the school, previously living in the lawns and Churchfields catchment.
"Swindon IS pants! It's soul-less - just one modern housing estate after another. Crap theatre and no culture to speak of."
I always think people who say there is no culture in Swindon have very little awareness of the town, and all the events that are on offer. No, it doesn't have the big theatre - but that's not the only way to have culture. Swindon does however have...
Annual literature festival, philosophical society, 4 drama clubs, Light operatic society, folk singing and folk dancing clubs, artists clubs, amnesty international, over 40 different bookclubs, gardening clubs, flower arranging, allotment organisations, several choral societies, bands, two film societies, Astronomy club, Anglo-French organisation, Interfaith dialogue group, Camcorder, Croquet, diving, fencing, lace making, various car clubs (caravanning, morris minors, old cars etc), photography clubs, rambling, Russian, Polish, Italian societies, Bee keeping, Figurative art, public speaking (several of these), brass bands, a plethora of dance clubs for adults.
But I guess as there's no big theatre, Swindon must be soulless and cultureless eh?
I've lived in a few places, and I would actually suggest the opposite is true. The mechanics institute in Swindon gave the town a culture of having these grass roots groups so far from having no culture at all - there's all sorts you can find there... you just need to consider the term 'culture' really means - "Culture is the characteristics of a particular group of people, defined by everything from language, religion, cuisine, social habits, music and arts" ... it's all there in Swindon, just not the big shiny theatre!