Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Railway Village - Chapels

The Wesley Chapel - 1869

The grandest of the chapels in the Railway Village. This once magnificent building later became the Railway Museum housing steam engines. Today, with the opening of the relatively recent STEAM Museum, it is now a community centre.

This extract of historical information has been submitted by Eileen George and taken from Roadways - The History of Swindon Streetnames by Peter Sheldon and Richard Tomkins

The small stone cottages of Cambria Place were built in the 1860s to accommodate the influx of Welsh iron-workers who were brought to Swindon when the GWR rolling mills opened. The name is taken from the mountains of their homeland.
So scarce were the houses at the time that it proved impossible at first to house the workers. Fortunately the GWR had erected a building known as the Barracks (subsequently the Wesleyan Chapel) as a community dwelling house and the Welsh immigrants took up residence ......
Nearly all the Welsh families transferred to Cambria Place when it was completed in 1864. The 1865 Rate Book records the settlement as "Welsh Colony". For many years services at the tiny Baptist Chapel here were conducted entirely in Welsh.

Cambria Baptist Chapel - 1866

At the other end of the spectrum this tiny little chapel is tucked away between the houses on Cambria Place. See above for its history.