Tag Archives: Community

‘VOID’, LONDON ROAD 2008

‘During the nights of 30 November and 1 December 1940, the Southampton Blitz reached its climax as the city came under sustained attack. Hundreds of tonnes of bombs were dropped during the two nights, whilst on 30th November alone some 634 individual properties were left ablaze –’. Ordnance Survey

Sustained & heavy bombing between 23rd – 30th November 1940, left Southampton City Centre devastated. The destruction at the very heart of the built fabric of the city left seven Churches destroyed, including Holy Rood, All Saints, St James’, St Mary’s, St Luke’s & St Paul’s.

Sexfoil Terrazzo seat on London Road, Southampton 2008. Image: Graham Redman

Above: ‘Void’. A bespoke black terrazzo platform seat, one of two sexfoil shaped seats commissioned for the London Road scheme, completed in 2008. The public art and interpretation for the public realm and highways improvement project was inspired by the Parish of St Paul’s Church, London Road, a vibrant community and shopping street, which was effectively destroyed on November 30th 1940 during the Southampton Blitz, when the Church was bombed and devastated by fire. London Road was badly damaged and the Church never rebuilt. An evocative image from the time shows the Church interior with the shape of the destroyed Rose Window appearing as a black void. This project evolved around this one powerful image. It evokes a legacy of community, architecture and people, which is explored in the public art seating other found on site today.

St Paul’s Church, London Road, Southampton. Image: Southampton Local Studies and Maritime Library & Southampton Archives
The manufacture of the bespoke terrazzo benches was carried out by Quality Marble (Pallam Precast) at their works in Enfield, London.
‘VOID’, sexfoil geometry drawing. London Road, Southampton. Image: Christopher Tipping
‘VOID’, sexfoil bench geometry drawing. London Road, Southampton. Image: Christopher Tipping
‘VOID’, sexfoil bench sketch drawing for stainless steel leg supports. London Road, Southampton. Image: Christopher Tipping
‘VOID’, sexfoil bench sketch drawing for test sample. London Road, Southampton. Image: Christopher Tipping
‘VOID’, sexfoil geometry drawing. London Road, Southampton. Image: Christopher Tipping
‘VOID’, sexfoil geometry drawing. London Road, Southampton. Image: Christopher Tipping
Sketch line drawings for paving and seating plans. London Road, Southampton. Image: Christopher Tipping
Sketch line drawings for paving and seating plans. London Road, Southampton. Image: Christopher Tipping
Sketch line drawings for paving and seating plans. London Road, Southampton. Image: Christopher Tipping
Sketch line drawings & models for paving and seating plans. London Road, Southampton. Image: Christopher Tipping
Sketch line drawings & models for paving and seating plans. London Road, Southampton. Image: Christopher Tipping
Sketch line drawings & models for paving and seating plans. London Road, Southampton. Image: Christopher Tipping
St Paul’s Church, London Road, Southampton. Image: Southampton Local Studies and Maritime Library & Southampton Archives
St Paul’s Church, London Road, Southampton. Image: Southampton Local Studies and Maritime Library & Southampton Archives
Sexfoil & Lozenge shaped Terrazzo seats installed on London Road, Southampton 2008. Image: Graham Redman

This project was commissioned by Elizabeth Smith, Public Art Officer for Southampton City Council in 2005, to work in collaboration with the project team to research, develop and create concept designs and proposals for environmental public artworks integral to the London Road scheme.  I was asked to establish an overall concept for the area with particular consideration of pedestrian use and movement across roads and through spaces & placemaking and urban form, hard and soft landscaping, paving details and surfacing treatments, thresholds, markers or ‘gateways’, seating and / or sculpture. My contribution was contextually driven and collaborative.

Sexfoil & Lozenge shaped Terrazzo seats installed on London Road, Southampton 2008. Image: Graham Redman

2 No. 3000mm diameter x 140mm thick pre-cast dark grey/black terrazzo platform seats manufactured in one piece to a Sexfoil pattern, inclusive of a 160mm built up external edge with 100mm radius semi bullnose detail and 10mm pencil round rebate. Grade C40 concrete is to be used. All terrazzo mixes and samples were approved prior to manufacture by Southampton City Council engineers and the project artist (me). The seats are reinforced throughout to A393 with 10mm welded bar mesh. Bottom mesh to full cover. Top mesh localised cover only to ‘hot spots’. All grit polished to a fine 120 honed finish, chemically sealed with anti-graffiti finishes approved by SCC.

5 No. 3000m x 700mm x 140 lozenge shaped benches were also manufactured, each with inset text. Both bench types have stainless steel leg supports, 316 SS spec.

The benches were positioned at relevant site along London Road, which related to past events and distant voices as well as lost buildings.

Text from an old St Paul’s Parish Magazine reflected the local community. Image: Christopher Tipping by permission of Southampton Local Studies & Maritime Library.
Text from an old St Paul’s Parish Magazine reflected the local community. Image: Christopher Tipping by permission of Southampton Local Studies & Maritime Library.

Above: Ordinary lives and everyday events were recorded in a series of surviving Parish Magazines form St Paul’s Church. These distant voices of a local community and Parish still seem fresh and lively.

Text from an old St Paul’s Parish Magazine reflected the local community. Image: Christopher Tipping by permission of Southampton Local Studies & Maritime Library.
The Manufacture of the bespoke terrazzo benches was carried out by Quality Marble (Pallam Precast) at their works in Enfield, London.
The manufacture of the bespoke terrazzo benches was carried out by Quality Marble (Pallam Precast) at their works in Enfield, London. The moulds were all made by hand and cast by hand too. Image: Christopher Tipping
The manufacture of the bespoke terrazzo benches was carried out by Quality Marble (Pallam Precast) at their works in Enfield, London. The moulds were all made by hand and cast by hand too. Image: Christopher Tipping
Sexfoil & Lozenge shaped Terrazzo seats installed on London Road, Southampton 2008. Image: Graham Redman
Sexfoil & Lozenge shaped Terrazzo seats installed on London Road, Southampton 2008. Image: Graham Redman
Lozenge Terrazzo seat on London Road, Southampton 2008. “the spirit of the townspeople is unbroken – December 1940′. Image: Christopher Tipping

Lozenge Terrazzo seat on London Road, Southampton 2008. “Mile End, 6 hours, Saturday 30th November 1940′. Image: Christopher Tipping

‘Naked Street takes National award. Southampton’s new ‘naked street’ in London Road has picked up a national award for the Best Urban Transport Design from the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, regarded as one of the top industry awards 2010.

This is a significant boost for the naked street concept, the principles of which promote a balance of traffic movement and social uses of public spaces. London Road in Southampton was stripped of road signs, given ‘informal’ road signs, and widened footpaths. The scheme has already had a positive impact by decreases in serious injury accidents and a reduction in vehicle speeds. Living Streets believe that schemes which use naked streets principles have great potential to make our streets safer and more people-friendly, by changing the behaviour of all road users for the better. London Road in Southampton is a good example of a scheme that has improved safety and ensured accessibility.

This scheme has also been chosen by the Department of Transport (Dft) as an example of best practice and will be included in the Dft’s national design document ‘Manual for Streets 2.’

Highly Commended: London Road, Southampton

Solent Quality Places Design Awards 2010

Sponsored by PUSH, the Solent Design Awards are all about the encouragement of Quality place-making: schemes that create special places, lift communities, create richer experiences …not just iconic buildings but also the places in-between, the carrier spaces for our daily lives.

Street scene on a regenerated London Road following the project completion in March 2008. Image: Christopher Tipping
Street scene on a regenerated London Road following the project completion in March 2008. Image: Christopher Tipping
Street scene on a regenerated London Road following the project completion in March 2008. Image: Christopher Tipping
Sexfoil Terrazzo seat on London Road, Southampton 2008. Image: Christopher Tipping
Street scene on a regenerated London Road following the project completion in March 2008. Image: Christopher Tipping
St Paul’s Church, London Road, Southampton 1890. Image: Southampton Local Studies and Maritime Library & Southampton Archives
St Paul’s Church, London Road, Southampton. Image: Southampton Local Studies and Maritime Library & Southampton Archives
St Paul’s Church, London Road, Southampton. Image: Southampton Local Studies and Maritime Library & Southampton Archives
Sexfoil & Lozenge shaped Terrazzo seats installed on London Road, Southampton 2008. Image: Graham Redman
Sexfoil & Lozenge shaped Terrazzo seats installed on London Road, Southampton 2008. Image: Graham Redman

ROCHESTER RIVERSIDE – PUBLIC ART IN PRODUCTION – HARDSCAPE ENGLAND – PART 3

I’m travelling up north to Bolton this week to see the final units completed and hopefully sign off the work so it can be delivered to Rochester Riverside for installation. Can’t wait to see them all.

Hardscape’s stone specialists continuing their great work on my bespoke granite public art granite features for Rochester Riverside. Image: Hardscape Mathew Haslam

Above: “BLUE BOAR CREEK”…& other tales from Rochester Riverside. Detail of a water-jet cut & laser-etched paving panel in black Carlow Limestone with inset text of Amarelo Real (yellow granite) & Porphyry.

These new images are just in this afternoon thanks to Mathew Haslam of Hardscape – as their skilled stone specialists focus on the applied detail. Water jet cutting, inlaying, sandblasting and laser etching their way through 15 bespoke units destined to be embedded into the landscape of the new housing development at Rochester Riverside for client Countryside. This highly bespoke work needs to be handled with care and demands high levels of craft skills.

Hardscape have been excellent at providing this form creative collaboration. Public Art Strategy & Artists Commissions by FrancisKnight .

Below: This unit is 9 of 15 – ‘SHELDUCK’, a Kobra Green Granite base slab with water jet cut inset motif & text in black Carlow Limestone, which has been laser etched with surface detail. Further sandblasting of text into the green granite, will complete the work.

Hardscape’s stone specialists continuing their great work on my bespoke granite public art granite features for Rochester Riverside. Image: Hardscape Mathew Haslam
Hardscape’s stone specialists continuing their great work on my bespoke granite public art granite features for Rochester Riverside. Image: Hardscape Mathew Haslam
Hardscape’s stone specialists continuing their great work on my bespoke granite public art granite features for Rochester Riverside. Image: Hardscape Mathew Haslam

Above: The almost completed ‘WILLIAM CORY & SON LTD’.

Hardscape’s stone specialists continuing their great work on my bespoke granite public art granite features for Rochester Riverside. Image: Hardscape Mathew Haslam

Above: This is the base slab of black Carlow Limestone, which has been laser etched first & then water jet cut – but the large letter ‘W’, the ‘&’ and the diamond motif have yet to be chiselled out. See Below –

Hardscape’s stone specialists continuing their great work on my bespoke granite public art granite features for Rochester Riverside. Image: Hardscape Mathew Haslam

Above: The water jet cutting removes a series of lines from the granite, which are determined by the CAD programme, which creates the cutting paths. These pathways are interesting in themselves as patterns, but in this instance they have to be chiselled out carefully by hand, to create the void space for the granite inlay to be fixed.

Hardscape’s stone specialists continuing their great work on my bespoke granite public art granite features for Rochester Riverside. Image: Hardscape Mathew Haslam

Above: This images shows the void spaces chiselled out from the Carlow Limestone. The letter ‘W’ in Maple Red granite has already been inset and is awaiting bonding in place – the diamond motif is just about to be inset. These images are wonderful for showing process, craft and the mix of skills from CAD technology to work by hand & eye.

Hardscape’s stone specialists continuing their great work on my bespoke granite public art granite features for Rochester Riverside. Image: Hardscape Mathew Haslam
Hardscape’s stone specialists continuing their great work on my bespoke granite public art granite features for Rochester Riverside. Image: Hardscape Mathew Haslam
Hardscape’s stone specialists continuing their great work on my bespoke granite public art granite features for Rochester Riverside. Image: Hardscape Mathew Haslam
Hardscape’s stone specialists continuing their great work on my bespoke granite public art granite features for Rochester Riverside. Image: Hardscape Mathew Haslam

THESE ARE OUR STREETS Part One

Draft Magazine – Cover: THESE ARE OUR STREETS. Image: Christopher Tipping

We have always planned to create a magazine or booklet…some form of printed publication or other, with which to celebrate and record our progress, our ideas, the stuff that got away…but mostly our collaboration with each other and with the people along our route. We may still be able to deliver this a a hard-copy paper publication at some point in the future, as a way or marking the project – or as an online event.

The following images will take you with us on part of our journey to create the draft and concepts for the work you can now see embedded into the pavements of Railway Street and Military Square. The content has been generated in collaboration with other artists and creatives, commissioned to deliver specific aspects of our work, but who directly and indirectly contributed so brilliantly to the outcome. FrancisKnight Public Art Consultants, Rob Young – Writer, Xtina Lamb – Printmaker, Simon Williams – Filmmaker & Paul Baker – Graphic Designer.

There were many versions of these pages made, as we decided how best to represent what had been done. Here are just a few…

Draft Magazine – Page 1: THESE ARE OUR STREETS. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

“I’m not from Chatham, I’m just visiting…I come here a lot – Every Day !”. 

The voices represented here are everyday voices of people in Chatham. Writer Rob Young sent time talking to small businesses and the people who worked in them along our route. He is a good listener with an exceptional ear for a ‘one liner’; a swagger, a forgotten hero, a heartfelt sentiment softly spoken. These overheard or anecdotal lines have been captured in stone set into the paving. Not all could be used. Many are reproduced here for the first time.

 

 

Draft Magazine – Pages 2 & 3: THESE ARE OUR STREETS. Image: Christopher Tipping

This was a draft layout for the information page – a bit of what we were planning. It is quire ambitious, but we actually achieved an enormous amount.

 

 

Draft Magazine – Pages 4 & 5: THESE ARE OUR STREETS. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

The fantastic panorama of the River Medway was taken by Filmmaker Simon Williams from the roof terrace of Fort Pitt, now the UCA Rochester Campus. The mock-up street signs were the outcome of a collaboration between Rob Young, Simon Williams and myself.

 

Draft Magazine – Pages 6 & 7: THESE ARE OUR STREETS. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

1000 Pies Lined up in a row like Soldiers…

 

Chatham Station and it’s approaches were always at the head of our scheme. Designs and public art have been prepared and approved, to become a part of the regeneration of the Station, which has just started on site. Click on this link to find out more.

Draft Magazine – Pages 6 & 7 V2 : THESE ARE OUR STREETS. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

Draft Magazine – Pages 6 & 7 V3 : THESE ARE OUR STREETS. Image: Christopher Tipping. Archive Photograph by Kind Permission of MALSC

 

 

Draft Magazine – Pages 8 & 9 V2 : THESE ARE OUR STREETS. Image: Christopher Tipping.

 

The Sailor who travelled the world…the found his girl in Chatham

 

Draft Magazine – Pages 10 & 11 V1 : THESE ARE OUR STREETS. Image: Christopher Tipping.

 

An imaginary tale…The Story of Tommy Johnson of Margate by Rob Young

 

 

Draft Magazine – Pages 12 & 13 V1 : THESE ARE OUR STREETS. Image: Christopher Tipping.

 

THE GIRL WHO THOUGHT SNODLAND WAS A COUNTRY

 

 

The Great Flood…and other Rochester Riverside stories (1 of 3)

Draft designs for granite or cast iron paving slabs. Rochester Riverside. Image: Christopher Tipping

“A creek separates the marsh here from Cory’s Wharf – apparently into which the watermill discharged…” “The marsh was full of logs (a huge stack of wooden piles from Rochester Old Bridge) and was home to many rabbits – wild rabbits, grey, brown and black…” ‘It was said that the Foord Family stocked the marsh, with animals from their farm at Darland’.  Stephen Hannington – Bygone Kent MagazineRochester’s Long Lost Common Part Two –

‘Floods of 1897 and 1928 inundated this area – the flooding in1897 was called The Great Flood and attributed to a record high tide on 29th November’. The image below shows the Homeward Bound Public House inundated by the flood waters. The Gas Holders of the Gasworks, can be seen in the background. The Gasworks, on Gas House Way was one of the earliest built in the UK in 1818. The area was known as Gas House Marshes. Image by kind permission of Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre.

The Homeward Bound Public House at Gas House Point inundated by the great flood of 1837. Image: By kind permission of MALSC

 

I thought I might post the artwork for all of the proposed granite and cast iron paving slab units. I can then add any historic anecdotes, images or information, which have caught my attention and may be of further interest. I’ll cover all these in this and the next two posts. 1 of 3

 

 

Draft designs for granite or cast iron paving slabs. Rochester Riverside. Image: Christopher Tipping

CAST IRON UNIT ‘BRICKIES‘ STACKIES STUMPIES’. You can also add MUDDIES to this list as well!  All colloquial names for the trades associated with Medway Barges built in and operating out of the Rochester Riverside site. Brickies carried up to 40,000 bricks on the up river journey to London and came back laden with London’s rubbish. Stackies were piled high with Hay and Straw. Stumpies could take cement, lime, timber, clay, coal, bricks, hops and other commodities. Muddies are self explanatory…the carried clay and mud dug from the banks of the Medway Estuary and destined for local brickworks.

 

Draft designs for granite or cast iron paving slabs. Rochester Riverside. Image: Christopher Tipping

CAST IRON UNIT ‘GOLDEN SAMPHIRE’. To the northwest the Medway Estuary consists of an extensive area of marshland, comprising of salt marsh and intertidal mudflats. The River remains tidal at this point and estuarine conditions would have dominated most of the site’s past.’  Ref: KCC HER 012. 2014 -371. Golden Samphire  grows on estuary mudflats and salt march. It is rare and I have used it as it represents the efforts being made by the client team to build upon the heritage and legacy of the natural environment with it’s diverse flora and fauna.

Draft designs for granite or cast iron paving slabs. Rochester Riverside. Image: Christopher Tipping

GRANITE UNIT  ‘BLUE BOAR CREEK’. “Blue Boar Wharf was our playground”. Edwin Harris

Blue Boar Creek is the one of the more distinctively named and well remembered places on our site. It also gave name to Blue Boar Lane, Blue Boar Hard, Blue Boar Lower Yard, Blue Boar Upper Yard, Blue Boar Lane Foundry and Blue Boar Pier. ‘Blue Boar Hard Pier: November 26th 1886′ as seen at the Medway Archives is set of beautiful, hand painted drawings of plans for a new Pier by draughtsman William Hoelking. Some details are referred to as ‘DOLPHINS’ & ‘DUMMY’. MALSC Ref: Plan 1 of 4 (002) MP/B/30/1 (1 of 4).

Blue Boar Hard Pier: November 26th 1886. Image: By kind permission of MALSC. Ref: Plan 1 of 4 (002) MP/B/30/1 (1 of 4).

Blue Boar Hard Pier: November 26th 1886. Image: By kind permission of MALSC. Ref: Plan 1 of 4 (002) MP/B/30/1 (1 of 4).

William Banks City Surveyor has also signed this document. William was born in about 1850 at Edmonton. He married Anne Mary Everett in June 1876 at Islington. In 1891, he and his family were living at at 10 Albany Road, Rochester, William was by then aged 40 and a surveyor for the city of Rochester.

‘What is now left of Blue Boar Creek and the river beyond at Limehouse Reach, lies deathly silent. Coal is not longer unloaded from colliers at Cory’s Wharf. So too is the Pier, once festooned with skiffs and rowing boats, where formerly small boys with rod and line and a jar of worms could fish away the school holidays’. John K. Austin from his publication ‘Yesterday’s Medway’. Johns has been involved with this project from the outset, having been consulted by the project Architects BPTW on his local knowledge as a historian, author, teacher and artist.

 

Draft designs for granite or cast iron paving slabs. Rochester Riverside. Image: Christopher Tipping

GRANITE UNIT ‘THE FIVE BROTHERS’  William Higham had a Barge Building business on Blue Boar Hard. He was born in 1838 in Lewes Sussex. On 27th October 1864 he married Fanny Elizabeth Blake in Strood. By 1881 they had 9 children and lived in a private house on Victoria Street, Rochester. William employed 11 men and 7 boys. THE FIVE BROTHERS was the last barge built at this yard alongside DOROTHY in 1901.

 

Draft designs for granite or cast iron paving slabs. Rochester Riverside. Image: Christopher Tipping

GRANITE UNIT ‘PERENNIAL GLASSWORT’.  ‘The Medway Estuary is believed to be the most important area in North kent for wintering wildfowl in numbers of international significance. The saltmarsh serves as a roosting area for waders at high tide. Several scarce plant species include: golden samphire, perennial glasswort and one-flowered glasswort. The estuary is one of the best places in Britain for the study of glassworts. The grazing marsh has breeding and wintering birds of interest; the former include lapwing, redshank, pochard, mallard and gadwall, while in winter large flocks of may wildfowl and wader species are present.’ Ref: Environmental Stresses and Resource Use in Coastal Urban and Peri Urban Regions. DPSIR Approach to SECOA’s 17 Case Studies.

 

Draft designs for granite or cast iron paving slabs. Rochester Riverside. Image: Christopher Tipping

GRANITE UNIT ‘COAL: METER HEAVER WHIPPER’. Colloquial names for trades employed in the Coal business.Frederick Furrell was born in 1807 and died in 1877. Frederick Furrell & Son were Coal Merchants based at Furrell’s Wharf, a  He was also an Alderman & Shipowner. He had ten children with his wife Katherine who he had married on February 25th 1832 at St Margaret’s Church in Rochester. Fred was Mayor of Rochester in 1855. Furrell’s Wharf was a 30m length of post and plank revetment of Oak and Elm Posts, most likely made from re-used ships timbers was in use in 1865 making it one of the oldest sites for industry on Rochester Riverside. It was accessed via Furrell’s Road.

His name also lived on as ‘Furrells Pond’“where children swam and skated in Icy weather – The site flooded during exceptionally high tides” . Edwin Harris

 Furrells Wharf was also the destination of many travelling shows, menageries and circuses – such as Wombwells Wild Beasts & Edmonds Menagerie – George Sangers Circus, Pinder’s Circus, Middletons’ Marionettes. 

Coal was a major industry at Rochester, with several businesses engaged, most notable William Cory & Son of Fenchurch Street London were registered in 1896 after taking over he business of coal factors, merchants and Lightermen of William Cory & Son of Rochester at Rochester Coal Wharf.

Draft designs for granite or cast iron paving slabs. Rochester Riverside. Image: Christopher Tipping

GRANITE UNIT ‘MARSH COWS GRAZING’ 

 

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

All the RRR’s…

ROCHESTER RIVERSIDE

RESEARCH – REGENERATION – RECLAMATION – RECYCLE – REMINISCENCE – REVEAL – REPLACE – RESONATE

RE-USE

The Rochester Riverside development aims to deliver 489 homes in Phases 1, 2 & 3. The first show homes are scheduled to be ready by September 2018. I have been researching and developing ideas to embed some of the social & industrial legacy from this site into the new build homes and apartments & not forgetting a new community which is being delivered. The site has a treasure trove of layered history to uncover fed by its unique position between Rochester and  River Medway.

Intertidal Salt Marsh

Tithe Lands

St Nicholas Parish Rochester 

Livestock Grazing

Clay & Mud

Market Gardens

Oyster Fishery

Gas Works

Ship & Barge Building

Iron Foundry

Coal Factors

Coal Depot

Railway Goods Yard

Scrap Metal Merchants

Wharfs

Cranes

Locomotives

Aggregates

Cement

By 2006 almost all the site had been cleared for re-development.

I have to find a way to be creative with the public art budget and to produce high quality, robust interventions, capable of withstanding the wear and tear of a contemporary urban space. My approach to this project has been to work with a series of 2.4m high brick walls, which form the entrances to parking courts on the Central Streets of Phase 1 & 2. I am also embedding work into the threshold entrances of six apartment blocks and numerous private houses throughout the site. Materials being investigated at this stage include granite, cast concrete, cast iron, architectural ceramic & brick. The concept drawings shown below are all subject to change, revision, omission – all the usual ups and downs of project development.

Rochester Riverside Artist Concept Draft proposals for brick walls. Image: Christopher Tipping

Rochester Riverside Artist Concept Draft proposals for brick walls. Image: Christopher Tipping

These early concept drawings explore the various combinations of narrative elements which could be developed further. They are rather overstuffed with ideas at this stage – far too many to deliver – but are beginning to explore the legacy of the site via stories created by combining strands of research. Visiting menageries share space with Iron Foundry production and mud and clay trades carried out on the site. The elephant would be sandblasted into the brick surface, whilst adjacent panels of cast iron with relief detail and glazed brick units and polished granite are embedded into the brick structure.

Rochester Riverside Artist Concept Draft proposals for brick walls. Image: Christopher Tipping

Rochester Riverside. Artist Concept. Cast Iron Units to footpaths. Artwork Draft Image: Christopher Tipping

 

Cast Iron proposals are being developed in collaboration with Hargreaves Foundry in Halifax.

Rochester Riverside. Artist Concept. Cast Iron Unit to brick walls. Artwork Draft Image: Christopher Tipping

Rochester Riverside. Artist Concept. Draft cast iron units to brick walls and paving. Artwork Drafts Only Image: Christopher Tipping

Rochester Riverside Artist Concept Draft proposals for granite paving units with inset text. Image: Christopher Tipping

Rochester Riverside Artist Concept Draft proposals for granite paving units with inset text. Image: Christopher Tipping

The proposals for granite paving units with inset granite text are being explored in collaboration with Hardscape. 

Rochester Riverside Artist Concept Draft proposals for architectural ceramic units with low relief text & pattern. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

Architectural Ceramic proposals are being developed in collaboration with Darwen Terracotta & Faience

 

Rochester Riverside Artist Concept Draft proposals for granite & cast iron paving units with low relief text & pattern. Image: Christopher Tipping

Rochester Riverside Artist Concept Draft proposals for granite & cast iron paving units with low relief text & pattern. Image: Christopher Tipping

Rochester Riverside Artist Concept Draft proposals for bespoke balcony balustrade detail with pattern inspired by the Gas Works. Image: Christopher Tipping

Rochester Riverside Artist Concept Draft proposals for bespoke balcony balustrade detail with pattern inspired by the Gas Works. Image: Christopher Tipping

Rochester Riverside Artist Concept Draft proposals for bespoke Front Door & Garage Doors treatment. Image: Christopher Tipping

Rochester Riverside Artist Concept Draft proposals for bespoke Front Door & Garage Doors treatment. Image: Christopher Tipping

Some Chatham Words

You may have seen some of our work embedded into the streetscape along Railway Street. Large scale granite kerbs contain words sandblasted or inlaid into the surface. You may wonder what these words mean, or how they relate to you. Here is a short explanation of how they came about. 

We often talk about words having weight – of text being ‘set in stone’… or ’engraved in stone’…suggesting gravitas, importance, longevity, …we all like a funny ‘one liner’…colloquial, local…distinct Chatham voices…

Well, here in Chatham your words really are being set in stone…for all to read…for years to come –

Chatham Placemaking Project. “A Chatham Barber called Long John…”. Image: Christopher Tipping

Chatham Placemaking Project. “Colin carried coal…”. Image: Christopher Tipping. Words: Rob Young

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. This work was driven by Francis Knight, Public Art Consultants & our project collaborators and consultants to Medway Council, 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.

Chatham Placemaking Project. 57 Submarines.
Image: Christopher Tipping.

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.

We were keen to hear and to record everyday voices …words spoken by ordinary people – such as ‘the girl who cried when she lost her phone and then cried again when she found it’... ‘the lovey barmaid’ …or ‘Colin, the man who carried coal for charity’…these are the voices of people on the street, passers by, people shopping & passing the time of day. We engaged with people directly in conversation, we overheard the conversations of others, we wrote down and recorded stories and anecdotes we were told.

I was very fortunate to collaborate with other artists on this project. Filmmaker Simon Williams succinctly and with an understated eye for visual language and movement, cleverly framed our project parameters and vision in a series of short films, whilst printmaker Xtina Lamb rendered our architectural vision into graphic patterns & motifs used throughout the scheme. Both artists also live in Chatham, bringing their individual & unique perspectives to play. However, it was the award winning writer Rob Young, who contributed significantly to the embedded text. An astute, profound and funny wordsmith with an ability to engage anyone and everyone, turning their words into poetry along the way.

“The knitter. Whose name is Pearl.

The woman. Who uses the word ‘like?’ As like, punctuation?

The woman. Who said sorry. When you’re the one who pushed in.

The woman. Who draws breath. Then monologues. For an hour.

The waiter. Who had a fling. With a Bride. At her wedding.

The girl. Who cried. All day. When she lost her phone. Then cried again. When she found it.

The boy. Whose Mum. Made him take back the sweets. That he stole.

The man. Who says, I’m mad, me. Who isn’t mad, at all. Just lonely”. Rob Young 2016

 

 

Justin Coe, a poet and writer also contributed, animatedly performing his work directly to camera, whilst walking the route in a film by Simon Williams.

Film still image of Poet & Writer Justin Coe performing his work on Military Road, Chatham. Image: Simon Williams

 

“On his way to his first day of school on Rome Lane

(The name of this road – before the trains came)

And while we’re walking with Dickens – observe the new Church

They’ve called it St Johns. And it will soon be the first

Public building in Chatham lit by electricity!…

Though all the lights went out here by the end of last century…” Justin Coe 2016

 

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.

We referenced times past by collaborating with MALSC (Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre) and other local agencies in searching for site specific text, such as the words of famous visitors & local Luminaries such as Charles Dickens, reminiscing about soldiers marching through the town in regimented rows …’

The oversized granite kerbs we have used here become a metaphor for the continuity of the local community – kerbs being critical in holding roads and pavements in place – they are physically important in maintaining the fabric of our environment –they could almost be described as ‘defensive structures’ maintaining the integrity and safety of our public spaces …reminiscent of the Chatham Lines – the historic defensive structures, forts and earthworks, which offered protection to the people of Medway & especially the Chatham Dockyard …

The granite kerb acts as a threshold between various states …of the pedestrian…and the driver, or moving fast or slow – perceptions of safety & danger…often the original granite kerb is often the only thing left in place when pavements and roads have been re-placed or modernised throughout recent history…the kerb maintains the parameters of how public spaces were managed and maintained. These lines of granite are also ‘our other Chatham Lines…’

More of the kerbstone lies buried beneath the surface than on top of it… and so it is also a rather poignant link between the past and the present…where times and events past lie buried beneath out feet –

Chatham Placemaking Project – granite kerbs being installed on Railway Street. Image: Christopher Tipping

Our work in Chatham set out to find and hear voices and words which quietly & evocatively create a sense of place associated with each of our stopping points on the route from the Station to the Paddock… the power of these voices is amplified by the weight and mass of the monolithic granite.

Left in place, these words will still be here in a hundred years from now…

 

Margate Steps – A look back in time

The last decade has seen Margate’s cultural landscape flourish with the dual success of Turner Contemporary and a resurgent Dreamland to book-end the seafront panorama. Successful regeneration by Thanet Council has also brought significant and tangible changes to the Old Town. One of the most significant outcomes delivered by the Council without fanfare or drama however, has been the Margate Flood & Coastal Protection Scheme – also known more fondly as Margate Steps. A scheme funded by the Environment Agency to the tune of £6million pounds and brought in on time and under budget …and somewhat under the radar. This example of coastal civil engineering encompassed not only the Steps, but the Harbour Arm and Sea Wall along Marine Drive. This elegant and functional concrete stepped revetment structure has also brought a much needed and highly activated public realm and pedestrian space to the Town.

Throughout its history, a major catalyst for change and development in Margate had been the destructive force of storms and storm surges. These pages are taken from the Contextual Research Document, which I delivered in collaboration with the project team.

MARGATE STEPS CONTEXTUAL RESEARCH DOCUMENT 1

Margate Flood & Coastal Protection Scheme – Contextual Research Text Image: Christopher Tipping

Margate Flood & Coastal Protection Scheme – Contextual Research Text Image: Christopher Tipping

Margate Flood & Coastal Protection Scheme – Contextual Research Text Image: Christopher Tipping

 

Margate Flood & Coastal Protection Scheme – Towards Turner Contemporary May 2013. Image: Christopher Tipping

I was commissioned as project artist on the scheme by Thanet District Council & the Environment Agency in December 2010. My role was to uncover and present  interpretive & contextual information & develop concepts with which to influence the design process & inform the structure & detailing of this major sea defence works. The work has now been completed and the project officially opened in May 2013.

Margate Flood & Coastal Protection Scheme – lunch al fresco May 2013. Image: Christopher Tipping

Client: TDC & Margate Renewal Partnership. Engineers: East Kent Engineering PracticeLandscape Architects and Urban Designers: Jacobs. Contractor: BreheneySpecialist Concrete Pre Cast: CCP Cornish Concrete Products.

Being part of an integrated design team from an early point was critical in enabling the contextual work, via a contribution to the detailed DESIGN & ACCESS STATEMENT , to influence the physical form of the structure, within its constraints as a sea defence work.

Margate Flood & Coastal Protection Scheme – evening light March 2013. Image: Christopher Tipping

The public realm and amenity space which the project afforded Margate’s sea front has been a tremendous addition to an enlivened and highly activated sea front promenade which has Turner Contemporary and the Harbour Arm at one end & Margate Station & Dreamland at the other.

Margate Flood & Coastal Protection Scheme – The New King’s Stairs May 2013. Image: Christopher Tipping

Chatham Placemaking Project – PROPOSALS

I haven’t updated this post for some time – actually since April 2017!  Head down and just getting on with it …time flies. OK – I’ll now try to sum up what’s happened in the interim.

Following on from the initial research period, consultation & creative engagement phases of the project, a series of Creative Public Realm proposals were submitted for review. This work originated and was inspired by the positive & creative collaboration with our supporting artists in residence, Rob Young – Writer, Simon Williams – Filmmaker and Xtina Lamb – Printmaker.   These collaborations proved to be highly creative as well as bringing a refreshing camaraderie and friendship to the work.

The proposals are presented here in the order in which the various sites are encountered along the route from Chatham Station down Railway Street to Military Road and the Waterfront. This is a visual account of how ideas developed and adopted into the scheme.

Chatham Station, although at the head of our scheme, will be the last Phase to be delivered on the ground & I will report on this work later in a separate post.

The sites where our work and interventions has been focussed are:

 

NEW CUT & NEW ROAD VIADUCT

ST JOHN’S SQUARE

LOWER RAILWAY STREET

MILITARY SQUARE 

MILITARY ROAD

Chatham Placemaking Project. Route & Plan of Creative Public Realm. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

The Red Line indicates our project route & is titled the ‘Chatham Line’, after the Chatham Lines, the nearby defensive fortifications.  The lines follow the historic granite kerb line & will be replaced in relevant sections by bespoke wide

granite kerbs and special transition granite units often with sandblasted or inset granite text. Text is based upon the surrounding local historic legacy & community engagement work & narrative developed by our writer in residence, Rob Young.

AREA 2 – NEW CUT 

New Cut – Plan of Creative Public Realm. Image: Christopher Tipping

New Cut – Sketches & Draft Plan of Creative Public Realm. Image: Christopher Tipping

New Cut – Sketches & draft plan of bespoke granite kerb units. Creative Public Realm. Image: Christopher Tipping

New Cut – Sketches & draft plan of bespoke granite kerb units. Creative Public Realm. Image: Christopher Tipping

New Cut – Sketches & draft plan of bespoke granite & timber seating. Creative Public Realm. Image: Christopher Tipping

New Cut – Sketches & draft plan of bespoke granite kerb units. Creative Public Realm. Image: Christopher Tipping

New Cut – New Road Viaduct – Draft proposals for bespoke enamel panels below the balustrade, welcoming you to Chatham. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

As with most projects, not all ideas and proposals succeed.Budget limitations, critical rigour and often the subjective nature of the collaborative creative process all bring issues to bear in deciding what is destined to be built on site and what is left in the studio !

 

New Cut – New Road Viaduct – Draft proposals for bespoke enamel panels below the balustrade, welcoming you to Chatham. Image: Christopher Tipping

New Cut & New Road Viaduct – Draft proposals for bespoke lighting scheme welcoming you to Chatham. Image: Christopher Tipping

New Cut & New Road Viaduct – Draft proposals for bespoke enamel panels under the bridge, welcoming you to Chatham. Image: Christopher Tipping

St John’s Square – Draft proposals for bespoke landscape interventions. Image: Christopher Tipping

St John’s Square – Draft proposals for bespoke landscape interventions. Image: Christopher Tipping

St John’s Square – Draft proposals for bespoke landscape interventions. Image: Christopher Tipping

The approach to the materiality and scale of St John’s Square & elsewhere along our route, was influenced by the architectural & industrial heritage of the Historic Chatham Dockyard.

St John’s Square – Draft proposals for bespoke landscape interventions. Image: Christopher Tipping

St John’s Square – Draft proposals for bespoke landscape interventions. Image: Christopher Tipping

St John’s Square – Draft proposals for bespoke landscape interventions. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

This monolithic detail seen above was titled ‘The Submarine’, inspired by HMS OCELOT on display at Chatham Historic Dockyard . This sculptural form was to act as a dividing feature separating two flights of steps at different levels.

I didn’t make it through the final evaluation process…

HMS OCELOT, Chatham Historic Dockyard. Image: Christopher Tipping

HMS OCELOT, Chatham Historic Dockyard. Image: Christopher Tipping

St John’s Square – Draft proposals for bespoke landscape interventions. Image: Christopher Tipping & Hardscape

St John’s Square – Draft proposals for bespoke yellow enamel cast iron bollards & landscape interventions. Image: Christopher Tipping

St John’s Square – Research Image of Ropery Artefacts. Draft proposals for bespoke yellow enamel cast iron bollards & landscape interventions. Image: Christopher Tipping

LOWER RAILWAY STREET & MILITARY SQUARE

Lower Railway Street & Military Square. Draft proposals for bespoke landscape interventions. Image: Christopher Tipping

Lower Railway Street & Military Square. Draft proposals for bespoke landscape interventions. Image: Christopher Tipping

Lower Railway Street & Military Square. Draft proposals for bespoke landscape interventions. Image: Christopher Tipping

Lower Railway Street & Military Square. Draft proposals for bespoke landscape interventions. Image: Christopher Tipping

Lower Railway Street & Military Square. Draft proposals for bespoke landscape interventions. Image: Christopher Tipping

Military Square is a major pedestrian intersection in Chatham, at the crossroads between Railway Street, Military Road and the High Street.

Lower Railway Street & Military Square. Draft proposals for bespoke landscape interventions. Image: Christopher Tipping

Lower Railway Street & Military Square. Draft proposals for bespoke landscape interventions. Image: Christopher Tipping

Military Square draft proposals for bespoke landscape interventions. Image: Christopher Tipping

Military Square draft proposals for bespoke landscape interventions. Image: Christopher Tipping

Military Square draft proposals for bespoke landscape interventions. Image: Christopher Tipping

Military Square draft proposals for bespoke landscape interventions. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

THE CIRCLE IN THE SQUARE 

Military Square draft proposals for bespoke landscape interventions. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

 

Chatham Rail Station

Thursday 10th March 2016

The guiding principles for the Chatham Placemaking Project, as outlined in the proposals developed by LDA Design, Francis Knight and myself as Lead Artist can be summed up in the following brief statements –

Getting Around – To create an easier journey for commuters and visitors from the Station to the Town Centre and Waterfront, with more shared space for pedestrians and cyclists.

Identity – Chatham is a great destination. Use the collective experience of the local community to tell this story. Use the Maritime and Military History of Chatham to tell this story. Chatham’s Historic Dockyard starts as you step off the train! How is this made obvious?

Destination – What is the experience of visitors to Chatham who arrive by train? This visitor experience is critical, so too is the daily experience of commuters and residents. We hope to deliver bold, attractive and contemporary changes which welcomes and enhances this journey.

This process clearly starts at the Station. Click on this link to Vimeo for a short film – 

 

Chatham Railway Station 2015 - Image: Christopher Tipping
Chatham Railway Station 2015 – Image: Christopher Tipping

Walking to Chatham Station - a pedestrian experience. Image: Christopher Tipping
Walking to Chatham Station – a pedestrian experience. Image: Christopher Tipping

At peak times – and throughout the day, pedestrians have to navigate a series of crossing points and narrow pavements with poor way finding to reach the Station. This is also the same experience coming from the Station. An adjacent bus hub stop and heavy traffic flow, make this a demanding environment for pedestrians and cyclists alike. A much more sympathetic environment is being proposed within this regeneration programme.