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1: Brunel Tower    2: Hanging Baskets    3: The Double Helix of Carfax    4: The Lighthouse
5: Vavoom Statue    6: St Zvlkx Cathedral    7: The Elgin Llamas
Wonder Number One:
The Tower of Brunel
Another view of The Tower of Brunel
"Give me a tower to touch the sky!" With those noble words city elder Mr David Murray John proposed the building of a skyscraper to give Swindon the skyline it had lacked since the destruction of the Cathedral of St Zvlkx almost five centuries before.

At first glance the plans for the tower seemed almost modest; a 72 apartment building 21 storeys in height with a roof terrace and airship docking tower - all standard stuff. However, not long before the 'topping out' ceremony in July 1975 a militant band of Surrealists wrested control of the Builder's Union and threatened not to stop working until the labour force was paid less money. Subject to a legally-enforcable agreement with the previous union, the owners of the tower were powerless - and could only watch in horror as their beloved tower continued to grow as the militant surrealists refused to stop building.

By Christmas and with negotiations breaking down at every level, the tower had gone 26 floors over the planned limit. Encouraged by sympathetic suppliers who continued to deliver the striking builders with much-needed concrete and steel, the tower was still being constructed at an astonishing rate a year later when the owners finally managed to persuade the suppliers to cease trading with the increasingly aggresive builders.
Wherever you view it from, the Brunel Tower is spectacular. 
The Tower of Brunel
When it seemed like the strike could go no further due to the lack of materials, help came unexpectedly from the good folk of Swindon itself, who, impressed by the builder's tenacity began supplying the beleaguered strikers with newspapers and wallpaper paste, allowing them to continue building the next three floors of papier mache. undoubtedly impressive, but short-lived. When anti surrealist legislation was passed the following month the union was disbanded and the strike called off, two years and three months after it began.

When the owners finally regained possession of the tower they discovered a 91-floor (reduced to 88 when the papier mache became soggy) engineering marvel that was found by structural engineers to be eminently usable, and the tower has remained to this day, a 1,130' (347M) high testament to not only Swindon's skilled workforce but the short-lived surrealist movement that swept England in the seventies.

Although the tower never did get its airship docking station the roof garden remains, from where on a clear day you can see three coasts. The tower contains a mix of apartments and office space, several cinemas, three gymnasiums and the Swindon Public Records Office. The top three floors of the building are also the only habitable areas of England which are located within controlled airspace.
The Tower as seen from Queen Street
Visitor's Information: Visitor's centre and museum on ground floor. Roof garden, very reasonably priced cafeteria and viewing gallery open seven days a week. Special Vertigo Sufferer's viewing platform at street level.

How to find it: Generally speaking, go to Swindon and look up. Nearest Skyrail: Brunel Plaza.

Telephone: City 782
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