The new temporary museum and art gallery spaces being constructed in the civic offices in Euclid Street will feature an extensive series of galleries on the history of Swindon stretching back to the beginning of time.

And, the council’s cabinet member responsible said the gallery will be as good as any purpose-built space in the country.

Councillor Matty Courtliff, the cabinet member for culture, heritage and leisure, and the council’s museums manager Frances Yeo led sessions for councillors, teachers and the public on how the upper floor of the listed civic office building would be used to store and exhibit the collection of art and artefacts.

Ms Yeo said: “Opposite the lift will be the orientation, and shop, with a changing display in that.”

Around one side of the open square of the upper floor will be large galleries used for different displays of the art in the Swindon collection. And then further on rooms will be used as storage spaces, which, said Ms Yeo, is an advantage of using the civic offices.

“The storage here is about the same as at Apsley House. It means we can keep a lot of the collection here on site and that makes it easier to refresh and change exhibitions on a regular basis.”

To the other side of the lift will be what Ms Yeo called the “corridor of time” linking six galleries of a permanent display telling the history of Swindon from the earliest times, through the bronze and iron ages, the Roman occupation, Saxon Swindon, the civil war and its growth through industrialisation and to contemporary Swindon.

And although these spaces are a temporary solution between the closing of Apsley House and the building of a new art pavilion in the cultural quarter - which is possibly a decade or more away - Coun Courtliff stressed how well-prepared the galley and museum will be.

He said: “It’s not just that we’ve got some rooms and well put the collection in there. We’ve had the curators and specialists in. There will be proper lighting and ventilation and the display cabinets have the right UV filters to protect the displays.

“This will be as good as any purpose-built gallery and museum.”

The council has been given change of use permission for the upper floors of the building, and still has to get permission to remove some internal walls but Coun Courtliff is "confident we'll get the go-ahead soon".

If permission is granted it is expected the new museum and gallery will open in spring of 2023.