Tag Archives: Community Consultation

A Circle of Words in a Military Square

The regeneration and public realm works in Military Square, Chatham have very nearly been completed. This involves the installation of 400 bespoke radius-cut monolithic blocks of granite set into 17m diameter circle, putting a circle of words at the centre of a Military Square!

154 of the granite blocks have words, numbers & patterns sandblasted or inset into the surface. Just over 400 words are included – 

Local school children & people working in local businesses were asked for their comments.

We listened to them & heard their stories. We listened to the sound of their lives.

There is an overwhelming sense of common ownership in this project.

These words are not ours. They belong to Chatham.

Military Square, Chatham. Image: Christopher Tipping

Draft Artwork for Military Square, Chatham. Image: Christopher Tipping

Military Square, Chatham. Image: Christopher Tipping

Granite blocks awaiting installation in Military Square, Chatham. Image: Christopher Tipping

You may know that the aim of this public realm project was to upgrade the route from Chatham Station to the Waterfront. This includes pedestrian and cycle routes as well as crossing points, upgrading paving materials, improving steps and ramps, opening up the public realm and streamlining access and pedestrian permeability.

Francis Knight, Public Art Consultants, managed the Public Art Project. Our project collaborators and consultants to Medway Council were LDA Design and Project Centre. 

We have worked within these parameters, using the language of public realm and materials, which are robust and stand the test of time. We have created a quiet ‘narrative’ thread – a story about Chatham –  & more specifically about events and places along this route.

We wanted the streets to speak quietly, confidently & with good humour about Chatham…WHAT MAKES A TOWN? …THESE ARE OUR STREETS…part memorial, part living voice…but mostly a celebration of the rich heritage and community of Chatham.

As an artist and designer of public spaces, this project has been an opportunity to influence our surroundings in a way that ‘speaks’ of Chatham and its people. We mostly take our pavements for granted, but these spaces have often developed from historic pathways and tracks linking communities and towns across the wider region. They have a resonance and a ‘voice’, …and echo with history. 

The route from the Station to the Waterfront takes us down Railways Street & Military Road – in doing so we pass several key places, such as New Cut (a former farmyard), St John’s (a Grade II Listed Waterloo Church) – Military Square, considered the Heart of the Town. At these important sites, we have made interventions to articulate the granite kerb in ways, which are expressive and of interest, whilst still maintaining functionality.

Military Square, Chatham. Image: Christopher Tipping

Military Square, Chatham. Image: Christopher Tipping

Military Square, Chatham. Image: Christopher Tipping

Military Square, Chatham. Image: Christopher Tipping

Military Square, Chatham. Image: Christopher Tipping

Military Square, Chatham. Image: Christopher Tipping

Military Square, Chatham. Image: Christopher Tipping

Military Square, Chatham. Image: Christopher Tipping

Guildhall Museum, Rochester & Rob Young, Writer

On Tuesday 3rd May, Rob Young & I had a meeting with Rachel Kerr, Project Coordinator (100 Objects That Made Kent) and the Education Officer, Jeremy Clarke at The Guildhall Museum, High Street, Rochester. We were looking to explore opportunities for us all to collaborate in some manner during the project, taking advantage of the Museum Collections cultural importance to Medway and its outreach work with the community – particularly in education and schools.

Rob is very keen to build this relationship into his commission and has already submitted a wonderful proposal for an engagement with St Michaels Roman Catholic Primary School, who are already working with the Museum on an arts award educational project, focussed on the Statue of Thomas Waghorn on Railway Street and a portrait of whom hangs in the Museum. The school is the most local to our project route. Rob is also keen to meet with The Friends of the Guildhall Museum to hear their thoughts about Chatham. Simon Lace, Medway’s Heritage Services Manager is also helping our cause by contributing a call out for stories by Friends of the Guildhall in their ‘about to be launched’ newsletter.

Thanks to all involved for your continuing help.

 

Interior stucco ceiling of the stairwell in the Guildhall Museum, Rochester. Image by Christopher Tipping reproduced courtesy of the Guildhall Museum, Rochester

Interior stucco ceiling of the stairwell in the Guildhall Museum, Rochester. Image: Christopher Tipping – reproduced courtesy of the Guildhall Museum, Rochester

A Portrait of Thomas Waghorn. Guildhall Museum, Rochester. Image by Christopher Tipping reproduced courtesy of the Guildhall Museum, Rochester

A Portrait of Thomas Waghorn. Guildhall Museum, Rochester. Image by Christopher Tipping – reproduced courtesy of the Guildhall Museum, Rochester

Ornate ceiling & Electrolier in the Guildhall Museum, Rochester. Image: Christopher Tipping - reproduced courtesy of the Guildhall Museum, Rochester

Ornate ceiling & Electrolier in the Guildhall Museum, Rochester. Image: Christopher Tipping – reproduced courtesy of the Guildhall Museum, Rochester

Portrait of  Sir Cloudesley Shovell, Admiral of the Fleet & MP for Rochester hanging in the Guildhall Museum, Rochester. Image: Christopher Tipping - by kind permission of Guildhall Museum.

Portrait of Sir Cloudesley Shovell, Admiral of the Fleet & MP for Rochester hanging in the Guildhall Museum, Rochester. Image: Christopher Tipping – reproduced courtesy of the Guildhall Museum, Rochester

Isn’t that the most amazing name – Sir Cloudesley Shovell –

Ornate ceiling, electrolier and wall decorations in the Guildhall Museum, Rochester. Image: Christopher Tipping - by kind permission of Guildhall Museum.

Ornate ceiling, electrolier and wall decorations in the Guildhall Museum, Rochester. Image: Christopher Tipping – reproduced courtesy of the Guildhall Museum, Rochester

Ornate ceiling & electrolier in the Guildhall Museum, Rochester. Image: Christopher Tipping - by kind permission of Guildhall Museum.

Ornate ceiling & electrolier in the Guildhall Museum, Rochester. Image: Christopher Tipping – reproduced courtesy of the Guildhall Museum, Rochester

Rob Young, Writer, looking at vintage photograph in the Guildhall Museum, Rochester. Image: Christopher Tipping - reproduced courtesy of the Guildhall Museum, Rochester

Rob Young, Writer, looking at vintage photograph in the Guildhall Museum, Rochester. Image: Christopher Tipping – reproduced courtesy of the Guildhall Museum, Rochester

Jeremy Clarke, the Museum’s Education Officer – found this image for us of a young boy taken at the Photographic Studio of  W. Kent, Photographic Artist at No 19 Military Road, Chatham – a great find for us right on our project route. I’m sure Rob will make some resonant response to this.

Photographic portrait of a young boy taken by W Kent, Photographic Artist at No 19 Military Road, Chatham - in the collection of  Guildhall Museum, Rochester. Image reproduced courtesy of the Guildhall Museum, Rochester.

Photographic portrait of a young boy taken by W Kent, Photographic Artist at No 19 Military Road, Chatham – in the collection of Guildhall Museum, Rochester. Image reproduced courtesy of the Guildhall Museum, Rochester.

Photographic portrait of a young boy taken by W Kent, Photographic Artist at No 19 Military Road, Chatham - in the collection of  Guildhall Museum, Rochester. Image reproduced courtesy of the Guildhall Museum, Rochester.

Photographic portrait of a young boy taken by W Kent, Photographic Artist at No 19 Military Road, Chatham – in the collection of Guildhall Museum, Rochester. Image reproduced courtesy of the Guildhall Museum, Rochester

Photographic portrait of a young boy taken by W Kent, Photographic Artist at No 19 Military Road, Chatham - in the collection of  Guildhall Museum, Rochester. Image reproduced courtesy of the Guildhall Museum, Rochester.

Photographic portrait of a young boy taken by W Kent, Photographic Artist at No 19 Military Road, Chatham – in the collection of Guildhall Museum, Rochester. Image reproduced courtesy of the Guildhall Museum, Rochester.

Figure in Diorama in the Guildhall Museum, Rochester. Image by Christopher Tipping reproduced courtesy of the Guildhall Museum, Rochester

Figure in Diorama in the Guildhall Museum, Rochester. Image by Christopher Tipping reproduced courtesy of the Guildhall Museum, Rochester

Beautiful and magical three mast rigged ship in the Guildhall Museum, Rochester. Image by Christopher Tipping reproduced courtesy of the Guildhall Museum, Rochester

Beautiful and magical three mast rigged ship in the Guildhall Museum, Rochester. Image by Christopher Tipping reproduced courtesy of the Guildhall Museum, Rochester