Tuesday, 6 November 2007

The Railway Village - St. Mark's Church

A detail from the stone-work entrance of St Mark's Church
After the Railway Village was built in the early 1840s for the railway workers and their families, the need for a church was considered an urgent necessity.
St Mark's Church was designed by Sir Gilbert Scott who also went on to design St Pancras Hotel and Station, the Albert Memorial and St Mary's Cathedral in Edinburgh. The church was dedicated on the feast of St Mark on 25th April 1845.

The Spire - St Mark's

St Mark's Church - Railway Village

St Mark's Church seen from Faringdon Road Park

In 1844, land west of the new Railway Village and the church was purchased by GWR from Lt. Col. Vilett, a local land-owner for use as a cricket ground. A pavilion was built on the north side of the site and the New Swindon cricket team played there from 1847. The park became known as the Cricket Fields and in later years was also known as the Plantation and Victoria Park. Unfortunately the ornamental gardens, cricket pavilion, bandstand, drinking fountain, lodge and glass-houses no longer exist.