It was a small market town until the 1840s, when a locomotive works was established down the hill from the old town, making and repairing railway engines. Around 300 cottages were built for the workforce, and this became known as New Swindon. The two towns have since grown together.
Steam, on the site of the loco works, is a museum of the railway industry.
There are three statues by Elisabeth Frink, and another of Diana Dors.
The chancel of the original parish church stands in the garden of The Lawn, a 17th century house.
Among those born in Swindon are ctress Diana Dors; and jockey John Francome.