This week I would like to talk about Swindon architecture, so we might as well get the reference to the Baptist Tabernacle out of the way early.

In the 41 years since they knocked it down, I don’t think I’ve ever had a single conversation about Swindon buildings or architecture or built heritage without somebody bringing up the Tabernacle.

I have a feeling it has become compulsory.

It even came up last Thursday when I attended a fascinating illustrated talk about the Wyvern Theatre, organised by the good people who call themselves The Friends of Swindon Museum and Art Gallery.

The speaker, local architect Michael Gray, revealed some fascinating facts about the building, including that it was designed by the eminent Casson Conder Partnership in 1971, thus confirming what I always say about Swindon architecture, especially when we are unfavourably and unfairly compared with the likes of Bath, Oxford and Cheltenham.

Those places can obviously boast some pretty impressive stuff, but at least in Swindon we have buildings designed by architects people have heard of.

There’s Sir Norman Foster, for a start, who designed that brilliant structure that I will forever know as The Renault Building.

Then there was that bloke who designed some of the Railway Village. I K Brunel. You may have heard of him, too.

So it was nice to hear that the Wyvern also gets mentions in books and courses about architecture, and Michael’s lecture about it enabled the audience to make up their own minds about the provocative question that also formed the title of his talk: whether it is a ‘modernist gem’ or ‘brutalist eyesore’.

As is the norm in Swindon, just the mention of the talk was enough to get some people on their high horses, several leaping on social media to tell us how ugly they think the Wyvern is, and how it should be torn down at the earliest opportunity.

This happened before the talk, and as far as I could tell, none of the would-be demolition team turned up to hear the background to the story from an expert in architectural history and buildings conservation, before making up their minds.

Others commented that it hardly mattered whether such people think the Wyvern is a gem or an eyesore, because there are some who just seem to hate everything that is proposed for Swindon.

It now seems to be the done thing to fixate on everything negative about the town, as if the rest of us haven’t noticed Swindon is imperfect, while ignoring the many gems we also have (although don’t get me started on how little we really care about preserving the older ones).

Another thing they might have discovered if they had actually gone to the lecture was that if the full plan for the Wyvern had come to fruition, bearing in mind that it was only part of a much grander civic centre scheme, then our beautiful Town Hall would have been torn down in the process, and that would have put the demolition of the Tabernacle well and truly in the shade.

I am no expert on architecture, but rather form most of my opinions about Swindon based on what I notice while I am cycling around it on my bike.

Surprisingly, perhaps, I find myself impressed by new developments, my favourite being the always interesting and sometimes truly beautiful brand new houses that have gone up at Tadpole Garden Village.

So I think it is worth saying that if you look around and try not to hate everything, you might find lots to please the eye.

And pity those whose eyes see only eyesores and never gems.