The Great Western Railway was founded in 1833 and operated for over a hundred years, until Britain nationalised its rail network after World War II. At that point, “God’s Wonderful Railway” became part of British Rail (which was re-privatised in the 1990s, by the way).
GWR‘s main workshops were in Swindon, Wiltshire. Although the Swindon Works were closed in the late 1980s, a lot of the buildings still remain. Many of them are officially registered as Listed Buildings, and have found new roles, as apartments, shops, restaurants and even the Headquarters of English Heritage.
During our visit to the UK last month, we found ourselves with a couple of hours to spare. So we decided to visit one of the old workshops, which today houses STEAM, Museum of the Great Western Railway.
We spent a fun afternoon exploring this fascinating and very visual museum. Glass cases are few and far between. In fact, you actually walk through the majority of the exhibits, which flow seamlessly into one another. And the building itself doesn’t just house the museum, it’s part of it.
And then there are the trains, of course! I mean, who doesn’t love a steam train? Bisckits certainly does, but you know what he’s like.
Would you want these three driving your train?… (As you can see, I’m just a passenger, enjoying the view!)
All in all, we had Great (pun-intended) time at STEAM. I for one would love to see more museums modelled on its immersive style.
PS. I appear in 11 of these photos (plus the video clip) and my brother Bisckits is in three of them. Can you find us?!
And if that’s not enough for you, there are now three Jaspa’s Journey novels to enjoy as ebooks! Perfect for Kids 8 – 80!