Saturday, June 16, 2012

Penhill - a Diamond Estate

This year Penhill is celebrating it's own Diamond Jubilee along with the Queen.  In 1952 Swindon was designated an overspill town and this aerial view shows the estate still under construction. The estate was built on the American Radburn lines in superblocks with houses grouped in small cul de sacs around areas of park or open space.

Several features are missing from this 1950s photograph; the Royal British Legion Club in Downton Road has yet to make an appearance along with the block of high rise housing in Seagry Court, built in the 1960s.  Building stops at Latton Close at the extreme left of the photograph with the broad sweep of Leigh Road in the foreground.

A hundred years ago Francis Hoddinott was the farmer at Penhill Farm, part of a small settlement just outside the Swindon borough boundary in Stratton St Margaret.  In 1951 Swindon Corporation acquired the farm with around 250 acres of building land and by 1965 there were 2,000 houses.  The 2001 census revealed a Penhill population of over 6,000.

Despite some bad press in the past, Penhill today enjoys a thriving community spirit much of it emanating from the John Moulton Hall.  New initiatives this summer include the setting up of a netball team to participate in the Swindon Netball League this September.  Training starts this Tuesday, June 19, at 6.15pm.   For further details ring 723687 or email

Thinking of entering Penhill's Got Talent - auditions take place 6-8pm on Friday 22 and Saturday 23 June, along with auditions for the Carnival Royal Family.  This year's carnival is on Sunday July 1.

For more information about what's going on in Penhill visit This is Penhill on

Photographs of Penhill under construction are published courtesy of  the Swindon Local Studies Collection - A Man With A Stick - visit

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Looking Down on Holbrook Street in the 1950s
Looking Down on the County Ground in the 1950s
Looking Down on Gorse Hill in the 1950s
Looking Down on Cricklade Road in the 1950s 
Looking Down on Cheney Manor Road in the 1950s
Looking Down on Newport Street in the 1950s
Looking Down on Walcot in the 1950s
Looking Down on Rodbourne Cheney in the 1950s
Looking Down on Parks in the 1950s
National Libraries Day 2013

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