Monday, March 19, 2012

Looking down on Rodbourne Cheney in the 1950s.

The 20th century expansion of Swindon began long before the Corporation adopted the 1952 Town Development Act and this 1950s aerial view of Swindon looks across from the old to the new.

The post war acquisition of 44 acres to the north and south of Moredon Road paved the way with planning for some 550 new homes.  Manor Crescent was built around 1949 on farmland belonging to Manor Farm at Rodbourne Cheney while Akers Way, built around the same time, was named after Swindon Mayor, Francis Akers.

In 1954 the total area of the Cheney Manor Industrial Estate measured 74 acres and most of the new, incoming factories to Swindon moved here.  By 1959 twleve firms were already up and running with another three due to begin operations.

Built in 1959, a new Arkell's pub helps date this photograph.  Arkell bought the land in 1892 but it was over sixty years before the Kingsdown brewer built The Steam Train.  A major refurbishment in 1997 saw the pub on Cheney Manor Road renamed The Manor.

The World War II Dig for Victory campaign saw an estimated war time production of 1.3 million tonnes of food grown on 1.4. million allotments nationwide.  The post war passion for home grown food continued and the Borough of Swindon Official Year Book 1953-54 records 15 allotments at Cheney Manor Road where tenants paid 9d per perch for their plot.

The busy junction at the Bruce Street bridges has seen some changes over the years.  In 1956 alterations were made to allow the passage of double decker buses beneath it.  A later road widening scheme saw the demolition of two properties where today the busy traffic flow system stands.

Bruce Street itself along with Morrison Street were built and named after local landowner and solicitor Sydney Bruce Morrison who invested heavily in the building of Even Swindon.

Sydney was born in Marlborough in 1872, the son of James Morrison, a rope and twine maker. At the turn of the century Sydney was a partner in the legal firm of Butterworth, Rose & Morrison with offices at 6 High Street and 1 Regent Circus.  In 1900 Sydney married Barbara Maud Elwell, the daughter of Highworth solicitor Herbert Elwell and the couple began married life at 2 Clyde Villas, Bath Road.

The Morrison's first home

By 1911 Mr and Mrs Morrison were living at Westlecott, a house on Westlecott Road where they employed a cook, housemaid and nurse and boasted the distinguished telephone number Swindon 10.

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