FOR most people today, taking a panoramic photo is as easy as choosing a camera option on their phone.

In 1994 more ingenuity was needed, especially for newspaper photographers tasked with capturing a detailed image of a controversial new building project.

As the tented market, which opened 23 years ago this month, forlornly awaits demolition, we go back to a time when it was still in the process of being erected on the site of the old market hall.

The panorama is not one photo but five, carefully taken on 35mm film from nearby scaffolding and painstakingly assembled after being processed.

A worker can be seen in the rightmost circular roof aperture, attaching some of the cables which would soon allow the roof to be lifted into its final position.

The building was to be home to hundreds of businesses over the years, from furniture shops to cafes. Its official opening was performed by the then Mayor of Thamesdown, David Glaholm, and a plaque commemorating the occasion was displayed from the first day to the last.

The image is also a reminder of some of the businesses which called the area home in the mid-1990s, such as Plum Records, whose round logo above the door of its Commercial road premises is just visible.

The appearance of the structure generated controversy throughout its working life.

Shortly before it opened, we said: “The tent-like building has aroused strong feelings. The firm behind it, Swindon Space Management, says the design harks back to traditional markets and fairs.

“But critics say it is a blot on the landscape, another example of how modern architecture fails to fit in with its surroundings.

“Swindon Space Management is urging customers to come along to make up their own minds about the structure, which houses many of the stalls forced to move out of the old Brunel Market Hall.”