Sunday, January 8, 2012

Looking down on Stratton St Margaret

This aerial view of Swindon fifty years ago moves out of the town centre to Stratton St. Margaret.  The photograph is dominated by the car body manufacturer, Pressed Steel factory, a new arrival in the late 1950s.

As jobs declined at the railway works, Swindon Corporation set about attracting new industry to the town.
Vickers-Armstrong at South Marston, Plessey Co and Marine Mountings at Wroughton were three wartime newcomers who stayed.

Pressed Steel relocated to Swindon from the company headquarters at Cowley in Oxford, and was one of the early arrivals on the Parsonage Farm Industrial Estate at Bridge End Road, overlooking the railway tracks.

Construction began on the plant in 1955 with production starting in 1956. During the 1960s Pressed Steel produced body parts for the Morris 1100, BMC sports cars and the Triumph 2000.

By the summer of 1965 the workforce numbered more than 6,600 with the factory occupying 1,750,000 square feet.

Also caught on camera at the top of the photograph, is the Dockle Farmhouse, today a popular family pub. Built on the site of a medieval farmstead, the Grade II listed building dates from about 1800.

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