Swindon is a large town in the county of Wiltshire in South-West England. It has a population of over 155,000 people. Swindon is around 80 miles east of London and is halfway between Bristol and Reading, both of which are around 40 miles away from the town.
In the early 20th Century, the largest employer in Swindon was the railway works. The Great Western Railway was built in 1842, allowing easy access to London and other parts of the UK. Swindon's railway heritage is celebrated in Swindon's Steam Railway Museum, which is situated at the site of the old railway works. The museum site is also home to the head office of the National Trust.
Following the decline of the railway industry, manufacturing, distribution and finance sectors all thrive within Swindon and these have become the key sectors that provide employment within the town. Large companies operating within Swindon include Intel, Honda, Motorola, W.H Smith (distribution centre) and Nationwide Building Society.
The public archive of National Heritage, The National Monuments Record is situated in Swindon, and holds over 12 million photographs, plans, drawings etc relating to England's architecture and its social and local history. Swindon is also home to the Bodleian Group's Book Storage Facility, costing £26 million; it has over 153 miles of shelving and 600 map cabinets. The Bodleian Group is the second largest library in the UK.
There is plenty to do in and around Swindon; it hosts a wealth of festivals and events throughout the year including the Swindon Festival of Literature. Swindon's retail options include a tented market as well as the conventional high street shopping centres. With its interesting local history and variety of industries for employment, Swindon has become a popular place to live and work.