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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 Five:
The Statue of Vavoom at the Bus Station
Who can forget the 1980 Swindon World Fair with its palace of learning, industry and Fusion Power? People still talk of the 40-airship flypast and the world's largest portion of haddock. Sadly little now remains of the 60-acre site and the World Fair buildings, designed to last only a season, have crumbled to dust or been bulldozered into mulch and made into MDF furniture.

No-one quite knows who thought of sculpting eight of Swindon's most famous citizens in bronze to line the procession route to the fair's main arena, but the project caught the imagination of the city and the statues were duly designed and cast by notable local sculptor Reginald Beasely.

It was never in any doubt that Lola Vavoom would lead the line-up and indeed she was said to have visited the sculptor's studio on several occasions to ensure her likeness bore the correct proportions. According to legend a mix-up at the foundry regarding meters and feet gave us the outsized edifices that graced the show but no matter; this was a time of big promise and great deeds!

For eight weeks the visitors to the World Fair marvelled at the statues and after the fair ended it seemed as though they would all be melted into scrap until a small consortium of Lola Vavoom's most ardent fans bought the statue and had it moved to its present location. Miss Vavoom herself unveiled the statue in its new position on the 6th June 1984, and there it has remained to this day.
view of Lola Vavoom Statue
  Happy Swindon Townsfolk mingle around the statue.
another view of Lola Vavoom Statue
Weighing almost 120 tons and measuring 76' 3" high, the bronze is the biggest non-religious statue in Wessex and is cleaned every other year by members of Vavoom's fan club. A popular landmark and meeting place, the statue has also courted a fair amount of controversy. In 1986 cracks started to appear as the front-heavy bronze started to shift. Arguments over who should pay for repairs came to a head when the Vavoom theme park in Tokyo offered to swap the unsafe original for a plastic imitation. This gave an outraged citizenry fresh enthusiasm, and the repairs were undertaken by public subscription within the month.
From every angle, especially this one, impressive 
view of Lola Vavoom Statue 2
Of the other statues only Mabel Stranks still exists in complete form and can be seen at the Stranks Museum in Purton - the head and shoulders of Gilbert O'Sullivan is in storage, pending construction of a museum and opera house, and the bronze thumb of famed Swindonian athropologist Desmond Morris can be seen at the Swindon Museum.

Visitor's Information: The statue is situated between the bus station and the post office and can be viewed free of charge. More details of the complex lost-wax bronze casting procedures and a history of Lola Vavoom's artistic and acting acheivements can be seen at the Lola Vavoom museum on 278, Crombey Street.
The classic postcard view known to millions 
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