Object of the month Wood Wharf Sign

May 2023

Wood Wharf Sign

A unique sign from Swindon Works Wood Wharf is the focus of May’s Object of the Month.  The sign invites railway staff, and retired employees to purchase scrap wood from the Wharf on Bristol Street.  The Wood Wharf was piled high with used and scrap wood such as old sleepers, planks from dismantled wagons and offcuts of new timber.  A perk of employment at Swindon Works was that staff could purchase this timber cheaply either to use as firewood or for making things for their homes.

The Wood Wharf during GWR days was located at the far North Eastern edge of the Works site at Beatrice Street.  Scrap wood was sent down a chute from the Wharf to a collection point below off Whitehouse Road.  As the Works site shrunk during the British Railways era, the Wharf was moved into the heart of the Works on Bristol Street.

Wood Wharf

This image shows the vast piles of neatly stacked scrap wood in the Beatrice Street Wood Wharf in 1934.


Whitehouse Road in 1934

A photograph taken on Whitehouse Road in 1934.  A queue of people are waiting to collect their wood from the bottom of the chute down from the Wharf.  The man in the front of the photo has his wood loaded on a cart ready to take home.


Whitehouse Road in 1934

This rather blurred photograph continues the scene from the previous photo.  The man with the cart load of wood was perhaps distracted by the photographer and has tipped his load of wood into the road – whoops.

There is very little documented about Swindon Works Wood Wharfs, if anyone has anything that they can tell us about them, please get in touch at steamlibrary@swindon.go.uk

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