Tag Archives: Medway Council

Chatham Placemaking Project – SEATING Part Two

Progress on Chatham Street Benches at Andrew Lapthorn’s workshop in December 2018. Image: Andrew Lapthorn

Working with Andrew Lapthorn has been amazing. We have collaborated really well. He has done ALL the hard work. His craftsmanship is of the highest quality. The timber elements he has contributed to the project are artworks in their own right and I can’t wait to see them all installed. I know for a fact that he has been documenting his process throughout the project and that he has some amazing images. I am really hoping to get my hands on them and bask in his reflected glory.

He did in fact let a few images slip from his grasp – and they are reproduced here.

A visit to Andrew Lapthorn’s workshop in November 2018. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

I showed the image above in the last post, but needed to upload again so you can make sense of the images to follow. This shows a single plank of elm being bent to shape over the formwork. The radius laminate seat involves laminating and bending 45 individual layers of English Elm to create the final work. Each layer may contain up to 3 or 4 individual cut planks of timber. The effect of this is to create not only a robust and highly engineered structure, but a sculptural object with beautiful aesthetics, colour variation and flow.

 

Progress on Chatham Street Benches at Andrew Lapthorn’s workshop in December 2018. Image: Andrew Lapthorn

 

Progress on Chatham Street Benches at Andrew Lapthorn’s workshop in December 2018. Image: Andrew Lapthorn

 

Progress on Chatham Street Benches at Andrew Lapthorn’s workshop in December 2018. Image: Andrew Lapthorn

 

Progress on Chatham Street Benches at Andrew Lapthorn’s workshop in December 2018. Image: Andrew Lapthorn

 

Chatham Placemaking Project – SEATING Part One

A visit to Andrew Lapthorn’s workshop in November 2018. Image: A Face in the Elm, Christopher Tipping

 

Draft sketches for timber seating elements for Chatham by Andrew Lapthorn, January 2018. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

Lower Railway Street, Chatham. Monolithic Granite & English Elm seating. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

I have been working in collaboration with Andrew Lapthorn Furniture  on a series of 6 monolithic granite and English Elm seats to be positioned at key anchor points within the streetscape of our Chatham Placemaking Project.

Andrew is a furniture designer and maker. He has a workshop within the Historic Dockyard Chatham. It is almost impossible to consider the historic and social fabric of Chatham without the Dockyard playing a major role. We have consulted with Nigel Howard, Historic Environment and Buildings Manager for the Dockyard throughout the project and have been granted access to their archives and buildings. They have been very generous in their support. When Nigel was made aware we were proposing to work with Andrew on the project he made a very generous gift to the project of seasoned timber, free of charge from the historic Timber Seasoning Sheds. Nigel had also generously offered us some monolithic slabs of granite, which have great historic resonance to our project, which we have unfortunately not been in a position to use as yet – but never say never !

 

Timber Stores, Historic Dockyard Chatham, July 2017. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

Timber Stores, Historic Dockyard Chatham, July 2017. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

Timber Stores, Historic Dockyard Chatham, July 2017. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

Timber Stores, Historic Dockyard Chatham, July 2017. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

Timber Stores, Historic Dockyard Chatham, July 2017. Image: Christopher Tipping

The quality of some of these images is poor I’m afraid, but the content is pretty amazing…the interiors of the seasoning sheds have an otherworldly feel about them. These buildings were erected in 1775, to provide the Admiralty with at least 3 years of timber. Andrew unearthed some massive planks of English Elm. The age of the timber was hard to discern. Andrew thinks it may have been here for decades as least. The actual tree or trees they were cut or salvaged from could have been well over a century old before felling or being toppled through the effects of storm damage.

Timber Stores, Historic Dockyard Chatham, July 2017. Image: Andrew Lapthorn.

 

As with all creative proposals, we have been through various iterations, responded to challenges and made changes along the way. The following images relate to this design and creative process and show the evolution of the work and some of the outcomes on the street.

 

Draft proposals for granite and timber seating, Chatham, 2016. Artwork: Christopher Tipping

 

In 2016, during the early concept and development stages of the project, I had proposed this series of benches as a way of exploring the relationship between the significant building materials of the Historic Dockyard and the materials and contextual ideas being explored along out project route through Chatham Town.

 

Draft proposals for granite and timber seating with Chatham Patterns, Chatham, 2016. Artwork: Christopher Tipping & Xtina Lamb

 

 

The Chatham Patterns were a significant part of our concept to develop a distinct and site specific visual language for the streetscape and our creative public realm work. I collaborated with Xtina Lamb, Printmaker on this work. In this instance, the patterns were to be sandblasted into the honed surface of the monolithic granite blocks by Hardscape.

 

Draft proposals for granite and timber seating with Chatham Patterns, Chatham, 2016. Artwork: Christopher Tipping

 

Andrew responded to these early draft ideas and we discussed incorporating traditional techniques for creating large scale joints and methods for joining and connecting timber, which would be suggestive and resonant of shipbuilding in Chatham, as well as exploring advances in technology such as laminating and bending timber. These are his drawings – & his hands…

 

Draft sketches for timber seating elements for Chatham by Andrew Lapthorn, January 2018. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

Draft sketches for timber seating elements for Chatham by Andrew Lapthorn, January 2018. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

Draft sketches for timber seating elements for Chatham by Andrew Lapthorn, January 2018. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

Draft sketches for timber seating elements for Chatham by Andrew Lapthorn, January 2018. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

Draft sketches for timber seating elements for Chatham by Andrew Lapthorn, January 2018. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

In early November 2018, FrancisKnight and I visited Andrew at his workshop to see progress on the benches. I was blown away by the beauty and craftsmanship around me. The English Elm has the most wonderful patterns and figures in the grain. There was even half a face staring our at me. We were really so impressed. The work was solid, beautiful, resonant and robust, which is just as well as life as a street bench is tough !

 

A visit to Andrew Lapthorn’s workshop in November 2018. Image: A Face in the Elm, Christopher Tipping

 

A visit to Andrew Lapthorn’s workshop in November 2018. Image: A Face in the Elm, Christopher Tipping

 

I couldn’t resist creating a mirror image – a portrait in English Elm.

 

 

A visit to Andrew Lapthorn’s workshop in November 2018. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

A visit to Andrew Lapthorn’s workshop in November 2018. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

A visit to Andrew Lapthorn’s workshop in November 2018. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

A visit to Andrew Lapthorn’s workshop in November 2018. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

A visit to Andrew Lapthorn’s workshop in November 2018. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

A visit to Andrew Lapthorn’s workshop in November 2018. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

A visit to Andrew Lapthorn’s workshop in November 2018. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

A visit to Andrew Lapthorn’s workshop in November 2018. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

A visit to Andrew Lapthorn’s workshop in November 2018. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

A visit to Andrew Lapthorn’s workshop in November 2018. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

A visit to Andrew Lapthorn’s workshop in November 2018. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

A visit to Andrew Lapthorn’s workshop in November 2018. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

A visit to Andrew Lapthorn’s workshop in November 2018. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

 

 

 

 

CHATHAM RAILWAY STATION

£1.4m Chatham station regeneration gets underway…

 

Creative Public Realm proposals for Chatham Railway Station. Lead Artist: Christopher Tipping

 

‘Medway Council successfully secured £700,000 from the government’s Local Growth Fund through the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) to contribute towards the £1.4m upgrade, with Network Rail match-funding the windfall through its National Station Improvement Programme’. Medway Council

This was great news to see this project being promoted on Linkedin this week by Medway Council. Following the near completion of public realm works and embedded public art along Railway Street and Military Road, including New Cut, St John’s Steps and Military Square, Chatham Railway Station is now about to undergo its long awaited regeneration too, at the head of our works as part of the Chatham Placemaking Project.  

I made one of the first posts about Chatham Station on this blog back in September 2015 in the very early stages of our research and contextual work on the project. Click on this link for more information

Chatham Railway Station 2015. Image: Christopher Tipping

Chatham Railway Station 1910. Historic Image: by kind permission of Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre

Chatham Railway Station – Date unknown. Historic Image: Copyright of and by kind permission of Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre – Couchman Collection

Chatham Railway Station – Date unknown. Image: Copyright and by kind permission of Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre – Couchman Collection.

 

Many draft proposals and developments of conceptual and contextually based responses to the site were developed and considered. The final detailed designs for public art interventions were presented to Medway Council and their partners Network Rail in January 2018. This work dovetails with works already carried out and continues themes and material choices and finishes established at the outset of the scheme.

The following images highlight the proposals we put forward at the beginning of 2018.

 

Creative Public Realm proposals for Chatham Railway Station – Page 1. Lead Artist: Christopher Tipping

 

Creative Public Realm proposals for Chatham Railway Station – Page 2. Lead Artist: Christopher Tipping

 

Creative Public Realm proposals for Chatham Railway Station – Page 3. Lead Artist: Christopher Tipping

 

Creative Public Realm proposals for Chatham Railway Station – Page 4. Lead Artist: Christopher Tipping

 

Creative Public Realm proposals for Chatham Railway Station – Page 5. Lead Artist: Christopher Tipping

 

Creative Public Realm proposals for Chatham Railway Station – Page 6. Lead Artist: Christopher Tipping

 

Creative Public Realm proposals for Chatham Railway Station – Page 7. Lead Artist: Christopher Tipping

 

Creative Public Realm proposals for Chatham Railway Station – Page 8. Lead Artist: Christopher Tipping

 

 

Creative Public Realm proposals for Chatham Railway Station – Page 9. Lead Artist: Christopher Tipping

 

Creative Public Realm proposals for Chatham Railway Station – Page 10. Lead Artist: Christopher Tipping

 

Creative Public Realm proposals for Chatham Railway Station – Page 11. Lead Artist: Christopher Tipping

 

Creative Public Realm proposals for Chatham Railway Station – Page 12. Lead Artist: Christopher Tipping

 

Creative Public Realm proposals for Chatham Railway Station – Page 13. Lead Artist: Christopher Tipping

 

Creative Public Realm proposals for Chatham Railway Station – Page 14. Lead Artist: Christopher Tipping

 

Creative Public Realm proposals for Chatham Railway Station – Page 15. Lead Artist: Christopher Tipping

 

Creative Public Realm proposals for Chatham Railway Station – Page 16. Lead Artist: Christopher Tipping

 

Creative Public Realm proposals for Chatham Railway Station – Page 17. Lead Artist: Christopher Tipping

 

Creative Public Realm proposals for Chatham Railway Station – Page 18. Lead Artist: Christopher Tipping

THESE ARE OUR STREETS for the Chatham Placemaking Project. Image & Artwork: Simon Williams. Lead Artist: Christopher Tipping

 

 

 

THESE ARE OUR STREETS Part Two

THESE ARE OUR STREETS  Part Two…CHATHAM UP ! 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 show you 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.

Draft Magazine – Optional Cover: CHATHAM UP. Image: Christopher Tipping

The yellow cover was the first logo and layout we created…the inspiration for this as well as the overall style and approach to the magazine concept came from looking at archive print magazines and periodicals at the Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre in Strood. We were drawn to copies of CHATS magazine – the Chatham Port Division Magazine from 1955.

The A5 size and very distinctive 1950’s advertising inside were just what we were looking for.

CHATS Magazine – The Chatham Port Division Magazine. Volume 8, April 1955 Volume . By Kind Permission of MALSC

 

It can’t really be a surprise that such a massive military and naval presence in Chatham was serviced by local outfitters. What is interesting is that so many of these had businesses on Military Road and Railway Street. At the Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre, there is a collection of print magazines and periodicals. An amazing selection of adverts for military and civilian outfitters are contained within – almost all of them along our route of Railway Street and Military Road. I managed to find a copy to buy – Vol.8 April 1955 No. 2 

Amongst some that I listed were –

 

“Over a century of experience in expert tailoring of both naval and civilian outfits”. 

 

 

W.Cooper – ‘Cooperstyle’ Regimental Blazers! 56 Military Road  –

Gieves Ltd – 13 Military Road –

Unifit – 40 Military Road –

Baker & Co – 22 Railway Street – “As long as the Spirit of England Remains, we are at your service”. 

A. Fleming & Co. Outfitters Ltd Contractors to the Admiralty – 15 Railway Street –

F & H Newcombe – Military, Naval and General Outfitters – Railway Street –

C.H Bernard & Sons – Bernard Buildings, Military Road

Military Outfitters, Baker & Co. 22 Railway Street, Chatham. CHATS Magazine. Collection of Christopher Tipping

Military Outfitters, Baker & Co. 22 Railway Street, Chatham. CHATS Magazine. Collection of Christopher Tipping

Coopers Windows are the Talk of the Town. CHATS Magazine Vol 8 April 1955 No 2. Collection fo Christopher Tipping

Coopers Windows are the Talk of the Town. CHATS Magazine Vol 8 April 1955 No 2. Collection of Christopher Tipping

C.H Bernard & Sons Naval & Civilian Tailors and Outfitters. CHATS Magazine. Collection of Christopher Tipping

C.H Bernard & Sons Naval & Civilian Tailors and Outfitters. CHATS Magazine. Collection of Christopher Tipping

 

The other clear inspiration for me was the archive of Newcomb’s the tailors. They opened for business in 1854. After the original shop was demolished when the Sir John Hawkins flyover was built, the business moved along the High Street to the corner of Medway Street. Mr Gerald Newcomb is still trading as Penguins Dress HireGerald is the 7th generation to run the firm and has himself been in the industry for 45 years.

Click on this link for an earlier post I made about Newcomb’s.  Gerald gave me open access to their archives, which were amazing to see and includes the famous, Newcomb’s War Diary, surely a document of national significance.

‘The family has served the great and the good for almost 180 years. Figures such as Charles Dickens, Lord Kitchener, Lord Byron and Lord Tennyson have enjoyed the service we offer – our workrooms were a hive of activity as we created shirts for King Edward VII!’

This historic business fits into our Chatham Placemaking Project primarily because of its strong association with our route and the long association with style, craft and a strong sense of local community – Newcomb’s also had a Ladies Clothes Shop on Railway Street – the advertising for the business and associated images from their archives was inspirational.

F & H Newcomb had premises on the corner of High Street and Globe Lane and Ladies Shop on Railway Street. Image: F & H Newcomb Archive

F & H Newcomb Print Advertising. Image: By kind permission of Gerald Newcomb, F & H Newcomb Archive

 

F & H Newcomb. Associated Trade Print Advertising. Image: By kind permission of Gerald Newcomb, F & H Newcomb Archive

 

F & H Newcomb. Associated Trade Print Magazine September 1934. Image: By kind permission of Gerald Newcomb, F & H Newcomb Archive

 

F & H Newcomb. Associated Trade Print Advertising. Image: By kind permission of Gerald Newcomb, F & H Newcomb Archive

F & H Newcomb. Associated Trade Print Advertising. Image: By kind permission of Gerald Newcomb, F & H Newcomb Archive

 

…and so, back to our Magazine Pages…

 

Draft Magazine – Pages 14 & 15 V1 : THESE ARE OUR STREETS. Image: Christopher Tipping.

We love Thomas Waghorn…we also appointed a performance Poet, Justin Coe, to come up with a suitably witty and succinct take on our journey down Railway Street to the River, which he performed in the street in a lively film by Simon Williams. Click here for a link to the film.   “The Overland Route c/o Thomas Waghorn’. 

 

Draft Magazine – Page 15 Option V1 : THESE ARE OUR STREETS. Image: Christopher Tipping.

 

Draft Magazine – Page 15 Option V2 : THESE ARE OUR STREETS. Image: Christopher Tipping.

 

Draft Magazine – Pages 16 & 17 V1 : THESE ARE OUR STREETS. Image: Christopher Tipping.

 

Draft Magazine – Pages 18 & 19 V1 : THESE ARE OUR STREETS. Image: Christopher Tipping. Archive Image: Lady in Fur Coat on Military Road by Kind Permission of MALSC

 

Draft Magazine – Pages 20 & 21 V1 : THESE ARE OUR STREETS. Image: Christopher Tipping.

 

Draft Magazine – Pages 22 & 23 V1 : THESE ARE OUR STREETS. Image: Christopher Tipping.

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

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…

 

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

 

 

Medway 1 Magazine Issue 10 2017

This week saw the publication of Issue 10 of Medway 1 Magazine, which is published by 3Fox International Ltd 

This issue covers Regeneration Projects being delivered in Medway and Chatham in particular.

The Chatham Placemaking Project is featured on Pages 17 – 22.

Christopher Hazeldine, Production Manager at 3Fox International Ltd has kindly allowed us to publish the following images:

‘These are our Streets’

Front Cover: Medway 1 Magazine Issue 10 2017 3Fox International Ltd. Chatham Placemaking Project. Lead Artist Christopher Tipping

‘Future Routes’ Page 17: Medway 1 Magazine Issue 10 2017 3Fox International Ltd. Chatham Placemaking Project. Lead Artist Christopher Tipping

‘Future Routes’ Page 18: Medway 1 Magazine Issue 10 2017 3Fox International Ltd. Chatham Placemaking Project. Lead Artist Christopher Tipping

‘Future Routes’ Page 19: Medway 1 Magazine Issue 10 2017 3Fox International Ltd. Chatham Placemaking Project. Lead Artist Christopher Tipping

‘Future Routes’ Pages 20-21: Medway 1 Magazine Issue 10 2017 3Fox International Ltd. Chatham Placemaking Project. Lead Artist Christopher Tipping

‘Future Routes’ Page 22: Medway 1 Magazine Issue 10 2017 3Fox International Ltd. Chatham Placemaking Project. Lead Artist Christopher Tipping

 

Ginger Beer anyone?

B. R. Phillips, Invicta Works, 22 – 24 Railway Street, Chatham, made Home Brewed Ginger Beer

‘Phillips Chatham Invicta Mineral Waterworks Unrivaled Brewed Ginger Beer’. !

D.J Whiffen, Invicta Mineral Waterworks, 22 – 24 Railway Street, Chatham

B.R. Philips made Home Brewed Ginger Beer at The Invicta Works, Nos 22 - 24 Railway Street - Chatham Placemaking Project - Chatham Patterns - Image: Christopher Tipping

B.R. Philips made Home Brewed Ginger Beer at The Invicta Works, Nos 22 – 24 Railway Street – Chatham Placemaking Project – Chatham Patterns – Image: Christopher Tipping

Railway Street from New Cut Viaduct date unknown. Collection of Rex Cadman. by Permission of Rex Cadman and Kent Photo Archive.

Railway Street from New Cut Viaduct date unknown. Collection of Rex Cadman. by Permission of Rex Cadman and Kent Photo Archive.

Nos. 20 - 26 Railway Street. Chatham Placemaking Project - Chatham Patterns - Image: Christopher Tipping

No. 26 Railway Street. In 1961, this was the premises of Frank Bannister & Son Ltd – Motor and Motorcycle Engineers. Chatham Placemaking Project – Chatham Patterns – Image: Christopher Tipping

In 1912 – No 26 was the home of the Invicta Furniture and Baggage Depository. No 28 was a Garage and Cycle Works.

Rome House, No 41 Railway Street. Chatham Placemaking Project - Chatham Patterns - Image: Christopher Tipping

Rome House, No 41 Railway Street. Chatham Placemaking Project – Chatham Patterns – Image: Christopher Tipping

The 1848 Ordnance Survey Public Health Map of Chatham shows Rome House – a large detached mansion set in landscaped gardens – opposite St John’s Church on Rome Lane. Following the building of Chatham Railway Station, Rome Lane became Railway Street sometime after 1871. No 41 would have been a new property named after the original house.

A detail from the 1848 OS Public Health Map of Chatham, with St John's Church and Rome House opposite on Rome Lane. The pink line shows the route of the railway and Chatham Railway Station opened in January 1858. By permission of Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre. Chatham Placemaking Project.

A detail from the 1848 OS Public Health Map of Chatham, with St John’s Church and Rome House on Rome Lane at top right. The pink line shows the eventual route of the railway and Chatham Railway Station, which opened in January 1858. By permission of Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre. Chatham Placemaking Project.

A detail of the OS Map of Chatham from 1864. By permission of Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre. Chatham Placemaking Project. Image: Christopher Tipping

A detail of the OS Map of Chatham from 1864. By permission of Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre. Chatham Placemaking Project. Image: Christopher Tipping

This detail of the OS 1864 Map of Chatham shows Chatham Station at the bottom of this image. Railway Street to Military Road runs from the middle of the image to the top of the image. St John’s Church and Rome House can clearly be seen.