Amid cries of “oi, Love, don’t come in here, it’s still a building site!” I entered the very grand Burkhardt Hall on Swindon’s Regent’s Circus. The former 122 year old technical college that has educated thousands of Swindon students and supported the region’s thriving industrial and commercial prosperity – is now enjoying a long awaited reincarnation into luxury flats.

The red brick exterior is testament to the late Victorian period and to Swindon’s industrial heritage. Built in a town that had not only a local, but internationally recognised importance for engineering excellence, the red brick institution has a haughty brilliance, with a comforting symmetry and a grandeur that is, unfortunately now, rarely seen. The architect Thomas Ball Silcock has added painstaking decorative detail in a Flemish-Baroque style – to add beauty, but also to reinforce that this is a place of reputation and educational reverence.

After being allowed to fall into a state of disrepair, Burkhardt Hall now has teams of talented builders and craftsmen restoring its former glory for use in today’s market. There have been cries that Burkhardt Hall should have been kept as a civic building, or a museum and had it been financially viable for local government, then it may have happened. However, Burkhardt Hall was only saved from the wrecking ball by merit of Historic England deeming it a grade II* listed building, the buoyant rental market and property developers with deep pockets and vision.

Developers, Ashfield Land are to be commended for their beautifully crafted, modern flats created within a marvellously sensitive conversion. A chandelier still hangs in the palatial double height entrance hall. A commemorative marble scroll to headmaster George Henry Burkhardt remains in the corridor. The stained glass window, commemorating the alumni who were lost in the Great War is now in the new college – however a new window has been commissioned and will soon be installed along with a host of new residents, eager to live in the centrally positioned building.

As I tour the flats, I am struck by the uniformity of materials in each of the individual flats. The developers have used the same carpets, vinyls and glass bannisters in all of the apartments. However, each space is very different. All have been constructed to make the most of the gargantuan feature windows (with blinds) – which feel even larger in a one bedroom flat. Many of the double height spaces have mezzanine floors, that could double up as a bedroom, lounge or study. In a modern apartment, connectivity is key, and the walls have been wired for wifi and satellite tv in the bedroom and sitting room, as well as having USB outlets in the kitchen.

There will be 24 apartments, a mix of one and two bedrooms, designed over three floors, with four studio pods. Pods are essentially a large room, with a kitchenette and bathroom to one third, and stairs to a mezzanine sleeping area above. They are not large, but they are perfectly adequate if you’re living in Swindon during the week, and returning to a family home at weekends.

Each of the flats have integrated cookers, hobs, fridges and washing machines. Larger apartments also have the addition of a dishwasher. The shower rooms all have a boutique hotel feel. They all feature double size walk in shower trays with an overhead waterfall, and a hand-held shower. Designer fixtures and fittings complement the beautiful ceramic suites and perfectly tiled walls. Energy efficient heating, insulation and secondary glazing all contribute to making the apartments feel warm, while being cost effective to run.

The apartments have access to communal for a bike store, external CCTV and gardens replanted with five cherry trees and a wild flower meadow. There is a secure entry system, connected to mobile and landline phones. Parking, to the rear of the building, is by negotiation.

The apartments will be released over three phases in October to November, with the first residents able to move in, in around a fortnight’s time. Prices for apartments range from £725-£1150 per calendar month, with the pods offered in the region of £575 per calendar month inclusive of water and heating bills.

To rent an apartment in the Regent’s Circus area of Swindon, in a delightful listed building fully converted and updated, call the Residential Lettings Manager, Trevor Smith at Atwell Martin on 01793 699311. Alternatively, visit their website at