SWINDON’S rich cultural heritage is all around if just stop and look for it, according to the author of the new book Secret Swindon.

Angela Atkinson, who has blogged about Swindon’s cultural landmarks on Born Again Swindonian for five years, is publishing the discoveries she made along the way in the book, due to be published in July.

Angela told the Adver: “Far from being a place with no culture, it’s always been here from the earliest days of the institute. Swindon’s cultural landscape past and present is far richer than you might imagine.

“What’s in the book is things you might see all the time, like the Richard Jefferies museum, but things about them which you might not know.

“I’m a big fan of the magic roundabout but there’s a lot more to Swindon than that. You have to look for it, if it’s not knocking on your door then go and have a look”

Angela is a self-confessed lover of Swindon after moving here twenty years ago, "even when I first came here I thought it was the land of milk and honey and I still think that now," she said.

The idea for the blog came to Angela after first stopping to consider a piece of art on the West Swindon Sculpture Trail which she walked past on her way to the Tesco Express at Freshbrook.

The sculpture entitled ‘Nexus’, meaning link or connection, appears to be three large misshapen rocks on top of railway sleepers, and were hand-carved by Japanese by Japanese sculptor Hideo Furuta over six months in 1986.

"I started it as a travel writing module but obviously it's carried on because there's so much to tell and there's so much to write about."

“These things have always been there but I’d never really noticed them because I didn’t have the time or a reason to notice them," Angela said.

“As I started to write about it that was when I started to fall in love with Swindon. I really started to appreciate the spirit of the place and how much it has to offer,” said Angela.

One of the more unusual discoveries she made while writing the blog was a programme from the mechanics Institute theatre showing performances of Russian opera.

“There’s photographs of them on stage in costume and with full stage sets. They were really professional. These things were staged to fantastic quality and standard.”

“The men in the mechanics they wanted to learn. They were interested in the arts and literature and the world and politics. That’s why they formed the mechanics institute.