Swindon is a large town in the county of Wiltshire, south-west England.
The original Saxon settlement of Swindon, positioned atop a limestone hill and referred to as 'Suindune' in the Domesday Book, developed into a small market town and remained such until the mid-19th century, primarily for barter trade. The original market area can still be seen on top of the hill in central Swindon, an area now known as Old Town.
During the second half of the 19th century, Swindon New Town grew at the bottom of the hill around the main line between London and Bristol. This eventually merged with the Old Town to form a single Swindon.
This growth, brought about by the Industrial Revolution, began with the building of the Wilts and Berks Canal in 1810 and the North Wilts canal in 1819, and continued following the construction of Swindon railway works in 1841, which transformed Swindon from a small market town into a railway town. These works eventually closed in 1986, and one of the original buildings is now occupied by the Steam Railway Museum.
Swindon Junction station opened in 1842 and the original station building hosted the first recorded railway refreshment rooms. However, that building was demolished in 1972 and replaced by an office building with a single-storey modern station under it. The station remains an important junction, connecting major lines to London, Cheltenham and Gloucester, and Bristol and South Wales.
Another distinguishing feature of Swindon is its roundabouts, most notable of which is the Magic Roundabout, consisting of five mini-roundabouts in a circle. There is even a calendar produced each year featuring a different roundabout every month.
The average household income in Swindon is among the highest in the country, and in February 2008 the town was declared by The Times as one of "the 20 best places to buy a property in Britain". The town is also home to the headquarters of several large organizations such as W H Smith, Nationwide Building Society, nPower, the National Trust and Intel.