Tag Archives: Regeneration

WINCHESTER STATION APPROACH – PART 6 – A CHANGE OF PLAN

At the beginning of August 2019 I was issued with a much simplified plan of the public realm proposals by LDS Architects.

August 2019 Public Realm Plan for Winchester Station Approaches. Image: LDS Architects (cropped & annotated).

Above: This image – a cropped version of the plan issued by LDA, shows the principal public realm and station access roads. The concept proposal for the public art benches following the radial plan as previously illustrated was no longer viable, but the strong horizontal banding across the station forecourt still provided a viable grid and scaffold upon which to set out my ideas.

Plan of Winchester Station Public Realm & Approaches. Image: LDS Architects

I have always been in favour of using sandstone as the principle paving material, as this has history with the city, plus in terms of colour and appearance, seems much more sympathetic to the fabric of the site and its low level & suburban railway architecture, rather than big city, corporate use of granite for public realm.

Sandstone Paving – Public Realm, Francis Crick Institute, London. Image: Christopher Tipping
Winchester Station Approach project. Paving patterns and materials used in Winchester. Images: Christopher Tipping & Dave Lowe
Stone paving and ceramic tiles from the interior of Winchester Cathedral. Image: Christopher Tipping

We could explore the use of varied sizes of paving slab, within a manageable modular framework. The stone paving in the Cathedral exhibits a wide range of slab size, from a square Purbeck Stone tile – which appears to have been the principle paving material – to the larger and unique Ledger (memorial) Stones in Tournai Marble.

Concept study proposal for paving and seating within the public realm & approaches of Winchester Station. Artwork: Christopher Tipping
Detailed & annotated concept study proposal for paving and seating within the public realm & approaches of Winchester Station. Artwork: Christopher Tipping

Above: Both images explore the possibilities of embedding Public Art elements within the revised LDS Public Realm proposal – seating, paving and retaining structures bringing an original and creative interpretation to the site. Working within the proposed LDS scheme, seating could be positioned at intervals along the parallel banding, using these lines as the principal interpretive parameters.

Concept study for a cast Iron paving panel with low relief text. Winchester Station Approaches. Image: Christopher Tipping

The key outlines the use of:

Sandstone for main paving of the forecourt –

Cast Iron elements with low relief text and / or motifs set within the parallel banding in the paving & an extra wide kerb detail . There were several Iron Foundries in Winchester, which served the Railways –

Porphyry Paving for the primary parallel banding –

Bespoke Benches or ‘Perches’ –

Possible sandblasted or etched surface patterns to the sandstone paving – employing super-graphic motifs inspired by the medieval ceramic tiling within the Cathedral –

Granite, Cast Iron, Cast Concrete or Steel defensive barrier structures which can double as seating or ‘perches’, following the radius curve of the highway. These are modelled on cross sections through stone piers in the Cathedral. –

Draft artworks playing with text, texture and the richness of architectural decoration & materials in Winchester. Image: Christopher Tipping
Black & white motif based upon a medieval ceramic inlaid tile at Winchester Cathedral. Image: Christopher Tipping
Detail: Concept study proposal for paving and seating within the public realm & approaches of Winchester Station. Artwork: Christopher Tipping
Detail: Concept study proposal for paving and seating within the public realm & approaches of Winchester Station. Artwork: Christopher Tipping
Detail: Plan drawings of Winchester Cathedral taken from ‘The Grid System & Design of the Norman Cathedral’ by Eric Fernie.
Pier Sections: Winchester Cathedral. Detail: Section drawings of Transept & Nave Piers of Winchester Cathedral taken from ‘The Grid System & Design of the Norman Cathedral’ by Eric Fernie.
Pier Section study. Winchester Cathedral. Image: Christopher Tipping
Pier Section studies Winchester Cathedral. Winchester Station Approaches Project. Image: Christopher Tipping
Concept & site interpretation studies for seating, barrier structures and public art, based upon pier sections from Winchester Cathedral for Winchester Station Approaches public realm. Image & Artwork by Christopher Tipping
Detail: Concept study proposal for paving and seating within the public realm & approaches of Winchester Station. Artwork: Christopher Tipping
Black & white motif based upon a medieval ceramic inlaid tile at Winchester Cathedral. Used as large scale decoration on a proposal for a monolithic stone bench. Image: Christopher Tipping
A decorative motif based upon a medieval ceramic inlaid tile at Winchester Cathedral. Used as large scale decoration, either inset or sandblasted, on a proposal for a monolithic stone bench. Image: Christopher Tipping

WINCHESTER STATION APPROACH – PART 5 – welcome to winchester

In June 2019 I was issued with early draft plans for the public realm proposals at the Station by LDS Architects on behalf of Winchester City Council. I proposed to add a layer of creative interpretation to these plans, based on my contextual research and employ the setting out detail as a secure foundation into which I could set my public art concept drafts. My proposal was always going to be about utilising the need for paving, seating, retaining walls and other practical details of public realm highways engineering to keep visual clutter at a minimum. This is also more economic in terms of budget use.

Concept & interpretation draft studies for seating and public art for Winchester Station Approaches. Base detail plan drawing by LDS Architects. Image & Colour Artwork by Christopher Tipping

Above: The Station building is on the left of this drawing. The plan for the public realm is primarily a sequence of parallel horizontal bands (green) delineated in the paving, which flow downhill from the Station towards City Road and another series which flow uphill along Station Road. However, this base geometry is combined with a radial pattern (also in green) which expresses the radius curve in the highway as it transitions from Station Road to Station Hill. This radial pattern provides the anchor for a series of seats (red) and secondary barrier structures (blue).

Concept & interpretation studies for seating and public art for Winchester Station Approaches. Base plan drawing by LDS Architects. Image & Artwork by Christopher Tipping

Above: This concept study shows a series of interrelated structures – which could be seating, walls, barrier structures or paving – set out in a radial pattern. These forms are presented as interpretive devices which exhibit combinations of materials and motifs, which embody ideas and responses developed from the contextual research I have undertaken.

Draft form for seating or paving. Terrazzo with exposed polished flint. Image: Christopher Tipping
The building materials of Winchester. Image: Christopher Tipping
Draft forms for seating or paving. Terrazzo with exposed polished flint. Image: Christopher Tipping
Draft forms for seating or paving. Monolithic Stone with laminate stone extensions & inset text or applied pattern. Image: Christopher Tipping
Detail of Illuminated Initial in Gold. Winchester Bible Illumination. Copyright Winchester Cathedral. Image: John Crook

Above: The Winchester Bible is regarded as the largest & finest 12th century Illuminated Manuscript. The script is by the hand of a single monk scribe from Winchester. However, the magnificent illuminations were often drawn and painted by itinerant artists – lay professionals who travelled between monasteries and centres of learning. These Illuminated Initials have been inspirational, as has the Morley Library, of which the Winchester Bible is a part. Bishop George Morley bequeathed his collection of rare books to the Cathedral in the 17th Century. His collection is monogrammed.

Draft artwork playing with text & the texture and pattern of knapped flint. Image: Christopher Tipping
Draft artwork playing with text as illuminated initials & the texture and pattern of knapped flint. Image: Christopher Tipping
Draft artworks playing with text as illuminated initials & the texture and pattern of Winchester building materials. Image: Christopher Tipping

Above: Polished flint terrazzo circle with inset letter ‘W’ in Swedish Marble with sandblasted detail, resin bonded in white.

Draft artworks playing with text, texture and the richness of architectural decoration in Winchester. Image: Christopher Tipping

Above: Plan study of a monolithic sandstone bench with inset letter W and Circle motifs in flint aggregate terrazzo. Below: Sandstone & Flint are primary building materials in Winchester.

Sandstone is a primary building stone of Winchester. Image: Christopher Tipping
There is one sample of Swedish Marble in Winchester Cathedral. A Ledger Stone for the daughter of Sir John Clobery. Image: Christopher Tipping

“Of particular interest is the ledger stone of Francisca Clobery, the daughter of Sir John Clobery. She died in 1683 and her grave is in the south aisle of the Retrochoir, in front of her father’s monument. It is of a distinctive Ordovician limestone (around 465 million years ago) from the Island of Öland, Sweden, containing the straight-shelled Nautiloid.” from ‘Winchester Stone’ by Dr John Parker 2016. ‘John Parker studied geology at Birmingham and Cambridge universities. He is a Fellow of the Geological Society of London. For over 30 years he worked as an exploration geologist for Shell around the world. He has lived in Winchester since 1987. On retirement he trained to be a Cathedral guide’. John has personally shown me around the Cathedral and pointed out many geologic wonders and quirks.

190507 BENCH laminated 1 Winchester Station Approaches. Christopher Tipping
Draft artworks playing with text, texture and the richness of architectural decoration & materials in Winchester. Image: Christopher Tipping

Above: Studies for objects (seating) in Timber, Sandstone and Swedish Marble employing techniques of inlay, lamination, polishing and sandblasting.

Draft artworks playing with text, texture and the richness of architectural decoration & materials found in Winchester. Image: Christopher Tipping

Above: Study for two benches in monolithic black Tournai Marble with inlay detail and laminated stone extensions of Swedish Marble.

Ledger stone of black Tournai Marble with carving in Winchester Cathedral. Winchester Station Approaches. Christopher Tipping
Detail: Carved figures from the 12th Century Tournai Marble Font. The building materials & memorials of Winchester Cathedral. Image: Christopher Tipping
Draft artworks playing with text, texture and referencing the richness of architectural decoration & materials in Winchester. Image: Christopher Tipping
Draft artworks playing with text, texture and referencing the richness of architectural decoration & materials in Winchester. Image: Christopher Tipping

I hope to investigate manufacturing process which allow stone to be cut, laminated, decorated and finished in a manner which embodies the richness of the Cathedral interiors – BUT – in a functional manner, either as seating etc or as a method of wayfinding.

Draft artworks playing with text, texture and referencing the richness of architectural decoration & materials in Winchester. Image: Christopher Tipping
Concept & creative interpretation studies for seating and public art for Winchester Station Approaches. Image & Artwork by Christopher Tipping
Concept & creative interpretation studies for seating and public art for Winchester Station Approaches. Image & Artwork by Christopher Tipping

WINCHESTER STATION APPROACH – PART 4 – STATION HILL – A LOCAL HISTORY

Station Hill leads up to Winchester Station from the busy junction of Stockbridge Road, City Road, Andover Road and Sussex Street. Swan Lane also joins here. The site has been historically known as Carfax, meaning the meeting of roads. The Carfax Hotel, formerly on the site now occupied by the Hampshire Records Office took its name from this historic site. The Masterplan proposals for this whole site, developed by Winchester City Council’s Consultants Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands Architects, is referred to as the Carfax Site. and incorporates the Station and Station Approaches.

Winchester Station and environs. Annotated by me to show Streets and Roads. Image: Copyright Google Earth
A page referencing the history and standing of Station Hill and the Train Station taken from the Cultural Heritage Assessment for Station Approach, Winchester, by Elaine Milton, Heritage and Planning. Winchester City Council 2015
Station Hill 1909. Winchester Station Approach project. A local community. Images: Christopher Tipping Collection
Station Hill, Winchester. Winchester Station Approach project. A local community. Image: Copyright:Facebook.com/Oldwinchesterphotos/. Station Hill 1976.
Station Hill, Winchester. Winchester Station Approach project. A local community. Image: geograph – 4303039Photo © Jaggery (cc-by-sa/2.0)

Station Hill today doesn’t give much away about it’s local community or life as a lively neighbourhood, but this wasn’t always the case.

I will try to add to this post throughout the project as new research throws up characters and stories.

A page referencing the history and standing of Station Hill, the Train Station and environs taken from the Cultural Heritage Assessment for Station Approach, Winchester, by Elaine Milton, Heritage and Planning. Winchester City Council 2015
Warren's Street Directory 1890 Ref: H 042.27 Hampshire Archives & Local Studies, Winchester.
Station Hill, Winchester. Warren’s Street Directory 1890 – Ref: H 042.27. Hampshire Archives and Local Studies, Sussex Street, Winchester.
Carfax Hotel, Station Hill & Sussex Street, Winchester.Date unknown. Winchester Station Approaches Project. Image: Winchester City Trust.
Description of the Carfax Hotel by Barry Taylor from The Lost Pubs Project. http://www.closedpubs.co.uk/hampshire/winchester_carfaxhotel.html
Hampshire Archives and Local Studies. Sussex Street, Winchester. This building replaced the old Carfax Hotel. Image: Winchester City Council
AUTOWORK , (Winchester)Ltd. Station Hill, Winchester. Date Unknown. Winchester Station Approaches Project. Image: Winchester City Council
Station Hill looking down towards Sussex Street and Swan Lane. Date unknown. Winchester Station Approaches Project. Image: Winchester City Council.
Station Hill, Winchester. 1902 Warren’s Street Directory. Image: Hampshire Archives and Local Studies.
Roger Brown’s Model of Winchester circa 1873. This brilliant model was made in the 1980’s and took 9 years to complete. Image: Christopher Tipping. Copyright: City of Winchester Museum.

The Train Station is seen above in the bottom left quadrant. Roger Brown’s model was based on the OS Map of 1873. Roger had been a Planning Officer for Winchester City Council.

Some key building are still extant , such as the Station and the South Western Inn, formerly the Railway Refreshment Inn – & up until 2015, Winchester Register Office. The Carfax Hotel is visible on the junction of Station Hill & Sussex Street. The terraced houses of Gladstone Street are there too, but the Reservoirs of the Sussex Brewery, seen on the OS Map of 1870 now appear to be allotment gardens. Needs a bit more investigating to discover what the reservoirs were for. I can’t find any reference to the Sussex Brewery.

The original Railway Refreshment Inn opposite the Station, was up until 2015 the Winchester Register Office at No.6 Station Hill. Image: Christopher Tipping
Roger Brown’s Model of Winchester circa 1873. Copyright: City of Winchester Museum.

Above: A bit blurry…but nonetheless the Station and Public House are clearly shown. A narrow footpath leads to Sussex House just beyond the Station in this image. A lovely circular garden feature can also be seen just left of the Station forecourt behind a fence. I wonder if this was a public or private space?

Roger Brown’s Model of Winchester circa 1873. Copyright: City of Winchester Museum.

Above; At centre is the Carfax Hotel building on Station Hill and Sussex Street. This important crossroads, or Carfax, shows a complex junction of City Road, Swan Lane, Station Hill, Andover Road and Sussex Street. Really complicated for pedestrians to navigate and cross even today.

Station Hill, Winchester. 1914 Warren’s Street Directory. Image: Hampshire Archives and Local Studies.
Station Hill, Winchester. 1930 Warren’s Street Directory. Image: Hampshire Archives and Local Studies.
Station Hill, Winchester. 1939 Warren’s Street Directory. Image: Hampshire Archives and Local Studies.

By 1970, the Carfax Hotel, first named in 1918, had fallen into disrepair during the 1960’s. It had been taken over by the King Alfred Teacher Training College as student accommodation. However, it was demolished in 1972 as part of a road improvement scheme.

Station Hill, Winchester. 1970/71 Warren’s Street Directory. Image: Hampshire Archives and Local Studies.

1. WINCHESTER STATION APPROACH

Early beginnings…outlines…some thoughts and notes –

Medieval Tiles Pavement in Winchester Cathedral. Image: Christopher Tipping
Medieval Inlaid Tile Pavement in Winchester Cathedral. Image: Christopher Tipping

Actually, this project was commissioned in May 2019 by Winchester City Council . The brief called for creative & contextual research with which to frame a concept-led draft scope for the inclusion of public art & interpretation within the Carfax development masterplan, focussing on the Station and approaches. The client Architectural & Urban Planning consultants LDS Architects had already been commissioned to develop a Masterplan Framework & Public Realm for the Station Approach site, which has since been made public & my work may eventually be embedded into this scheme or influence the final detailed design for the public realm.

As a creative research-led project I have set out to celebrate the City of Winchester’s rich cultural history by examining its use of specific materials, decoration & craft skills within its architectural legacy and built landscape, with a particular emphasis on Winchester Cathedral, one of the largest Cathedrals in Europe.

The Station is the Gateway to the City, once the Anglo Saxon capital under Alfred the Great. As a Gateway the Station and its surrounding external environment should be above all else welcoming. The public realm is required to deliver this. It can also give visual expression, via its landscape, materials and detail to what may be discovered by visitors moving beyond the Station. The Cathedral, for example cannot be seen when arriving by train, when, by contrast the Cathedrals of both Bath and Durham present their magnificent architecture from afar.

This is still early days in research and concept development. No doubt this project will shape-shift considerably along the way.

Winchester Station booking hall. Image: Christopher Tipping
Arriving into the booking hall at Winchester Station. Image: Christopher Tipping
Winchester Station. Image: Christopher Tipping
Winchester Station. Image: Christopher Tipping
The view down Station Hill from outside the Station. Image: Christopher Tipping
The view down Station Hill from outside the Station. Image: Christopher Tipping

People come from around the world to visit Winchester.

5 million arrivals and departures recorded in 2018 –

What should this Gateway communicate about Winchester?

The Cathedral ?

The Cathedral was founded in 1079 – it is an astonishing 940 years old  & we can still walk around it in the footsteps of countless others. The whole building was completed in the form we see & experience today in the 16th Century. The spectacular Nave in Perpendicular Gothic with Lierne Vaulting was completed in the 14th & 15th Centuries. The carved oak Quire Stalls were created between 1306 and 1309. We know who carved them & we know who repaired them.  

The magnificent Lierne Vaulting in the Cathedral was constructed between the 14th & 15th Centuries. Image: Christopher Tipping
Magnificent Lierne Vaulting in the Cathedral was constructed between the 14th & 15th Centuries. Image: Christopher Tipping

‘In the Christian Medieval world, this ‘arrival’ was rewarded through the sheer brilliance & breath-taking fusion of art & architecture as seen in the form of the Cathedral. This building was clearly at the heart of Winchester and England. It was the house of God and widely interpreted as the gate of Heaven, a world-renowned centre of pilgrimage, education & religious life’.

CONCEPT: to explore some the materials that built Winchester and, in doing so, reinforce their importance and role in communicating the cultural significance of the city. Rare & bespoke materials and craft can reflect this. These materials connect us to the past, the present & the future. 

  1. Manufacturing and contemporary methods – crafts fused with the latest technology.
  2. Reflect the ingenuity and importance of the craftsmen & master masons of the age of Cathedrals. Illuminated Manuscript Illustrators and Master Masons were itinerant specialists – often travelling continually between great building projects.  
  3. I am also influenced by the on-going work to maintain and secure historical structures. Cathedral Masons repair and replace stonework. Over time, this must lead to substantial renewal. This concept of gradual change and renewal is of great interest.

STATION FORECOURT

For Example: Solid or monolithic blocks used as primary public art sculptural artwork benches within the current forecourt plan submitted by LDS Architects – with secondary barrier benches in another repeating style.

OPTIONS: creative thinking out loud ! Materials could include…

OAK – inspired by the massive oak timbers in the cathedral roof & bell tower and the brilliance of the carving in the Quire Stalls.

Massive Oak beams inside the roof of Winchester Cathedral. Image: Christopher Tipping
Huge Oak beams support the roof of the Cathedral. Image: Christopher Tipping
Carved Falconer detail from the Quire in Winchester Cathedral. Image: Dr John Crook
Carved Falconer detail from the Quire in Winchester Cathedral. Image: Dr John Crook

TOURNAI MARBLE – The beautiful 12th Century font – see below – sculpted from a single massive block of blue black carboniferous limestone, known as “Tournai marble“, was quarried from the banks of the River Scheldt’ & brought from Tournai in modern day Belgium. These were extremely rare and highly prized medieval luxury items. The natural stone is 135 million years old.

The 12th Century Font is made from a single block of black Tournai Marble from Belgium. Image: Christopher Tipping
The 12th Century Font is made from a single block of black Tournai Marble from Belgium. Image: Christopher Tipping

Bench Three: SWEDISH MARBLE – see below – this was considered an exotic imports from the Baltic states & illustrates the connectedness of Winchester to other places through trade and pilgrimage.  This ledger stone is for Francisca Clobery, the daughter of Sir John Clobery. She died in 1683 and her grave is in the south aisle of the Retrochoir, in front of her father’s monument. Sir John was a 17th Century Merchant with connections to Europe.

Alfred the Great twice went on pilgrimage to Rome, the first time as a young boy in 853AD. I can’t but wonder if he had seen the Pantheon & the astonishing interiors of marble clad walls and polished patterned floors?

The memorial stone for of the daughter of Sir John Clobery in Winchester Cathedral is made from imported Swedish Marble. Image: Christopher Tipping
The memorial stone for of the daughter of Sir John Clobery is made from imported Swedish Marble. Image: Christopher Tipping

GLASS – The huge medieval stained glass West Window was smashed by Cromwell’s forces in 1642, but the fragmented remnants were gathered together and the window eventually restored maintaining the fragmented style.

The great West Window of Winchester Cathedral. Image: Christopher Tipping
The great West Window of Winchester Cathedral. Image: Christopher Tipping

CAST IRONGUN METAL – Jewell & Son, City Foundry, between Middle and Lower Brook Street in Winchester was owned by the Jewell family and made components for the GWR Railways Winchester to Newbury Line. It was one of several iron foundries in the city. The coming of the railway and the ensuing Victorian Industrial Revolution brought massive change and population growth to the city. On each of the bells of the Cathedral it is recorded that it was ‘Recast by John Taylor and Co., Loughborough, 1937’. John

One of the peal of Bells in Winchester Cathedral recast in 1937 by John Taylor & Co. Loughborough. Image: Christopher Tipping
One of the peal of Bells in Winchester Cathedral recast in 1937 by John Taylor & Co. Loughborough. Image: Christopher Tipping

TERRAZZO – a fusion of fragmented materials with the

ARCHITECTURAL CERAMIC – Much of Winchester is built of brick and tile, with clay locally sourced and manufactured & fired often close to the site. The Cathedral has an extant 13th Century pavement of inlaid ceramic including many beautifully reproduced in the 1960’s.

GRANITE – Granite is not a historic building material in Winchester, nonetheless it does appear in various forms within the city centre. however, For example, the plinth for for the statue of Alfred on the Broadway (1901) is made of granite. Brought by rail from Penryn in Cornwall , at the time they were the largest blocks of granite ever moved – and processioned by steam tractor through the streets of Winchester – at the height of the second Industrial Revolution and Victorian pomp.

FLINT – a quintessential Winchester material.

SANDSTONE

LIMESTONE

These materials could be treated in the following ways:

Materials could be cut, laminated and re-cut to present a geological and decorative expression – using the latest manufacturing technology. Surfaces can be inlaid, laser etched, sandblasted or textured to provide variety and narrative. Objects can be cast, moulded or carved.

Lines & intersections within the general forecourt paving scheme suggest way-finding & direction but are also resonant of the magnificent Cathedral Lierne Vaulting, a high point in Gothic Architecture & engineering skill – the crossing and interweaving of stone vaulting providing the myriad crossing points and junctions for decorated bosses.  Within the Station forecourt and approaches, these paving lines will intersect, at which point more focussed detail could be embedded in the form of robust but beautifully finished granite or cast iron units. These lines extend outwards from the Station Forecourt up Station Road and down Station Hill. I would propose to extend interventions and interpretive artwork in this direction to encourage the preferred pedestrian routes.

Pattern & Decoration seen throughout Winchester and fused into an astonishingly beautiful form in the Cathedral reflects the local & natural world of flora and fauna, alongside the non-secular world of Christianity and faith. I am inspired by the brilliance of illustrated manuscripts, such as the Winchester Bible & Botanical Manuscripts held in the Cathedral Library and Archive. Fragmented details of these motifs could be used to animate the forecourt and Gateway, but also to give clues to visitors and locals alike as to what may be found within the City.

Secondary Barrier features nearest to the highway could all be in the same material – granite or sandstone. Reinforced concrete base structure could be stone clad or be used as an immoveable base / foundation.

The fusing of architectural styles, which in turn create a legible & experiential timeline over hundreds of years in the Cathedral is an on-going inspiration.

Intersections

Meetings

Crossroads

Carfax

Quadrifurcus

Conduited Water flowing under the City

Streams and Rivers and Water Meadows – Mill Ponds

Quietly Communicate this concept – Beauty, architectural and cultural heritage, technology, creativity found in the City of Winchester using a palette of resonant and contextually intriguing materials, textures and narrative (tell good stories!) –

I am also researching the following:

Sussex Brewery & Reservoirs on the Carfax Site –

Local business and inhabitants of Station Hill, Station Road and Gresham Street –

Durngate Mill – A 700 years old Water Mill demolished in 1966 with massive oak timbers and cast iron machinery made locally –

Winchester City Mill

Craft Guild processions held on Corpus Christi by the Catholic Church – 

P.C. Jewell, City Iron Foundry, Winchester –

William Walker – Deep Water Diver & Cathedral Saviour

Site specific and local details can reflect smaller influences – the lives and livelihoods of local people and what they did etc. It is important to acknowledge the whole community its diversity.

I am creating options for paving, seating, edges, retaining structures and kerbs –

‘Purbeck marble was extensively used for grave markers and grave stones (ledger stones). Later, large black ledger stones of Tournai marble were very much in fashion. Of particular interest is the ledger stone of Francisca Cloberij (sic), the daughter of Sir John Clobery. She died in 1683 and her grave is in the south aisle of the Retrochoir, in front of her father’s monument. It is of a distinctive Ordovician limestone (around 465 million years ago) from the Island of Öland, Sweden, containing the straight-shelled Nautiloid, Orthoceras’. It is something of an anomaly, but intriguing nonetheless.

I have made several visits to Winchester to consult with specialists, with particular relevance to the Cathedral. I have walked the streets, and routes into the City and experienced the crossing points and have undertaken my own creative site analysis. I have ongoing research threads with the City and with a number of suppliers and manufacturers. I have consulted with the Hampshire Archive Services and the Winchester City Trust.

I have meetings arranged with the Cathedral Archivist and Librarian and also with the Cathedral Stonemason. If possible, I would like to collaborate with the Stone Mason in the production of one of the benches.

The Dell – Southampton FC & Matt Le Tissier’s Right Foot

The Dell, Southampton 2004. Central Courtyard works on site. Matt Le Tissier stud-printed relief cast concrete retaining wall. Design & Image: Christopher Tipping

 

In 2001, was commissioned by Elizabeth Smith, the Public Arts Officer for Southampton City Council to collaborate with the project client Barratt Homes, to create an interpretive landscape artwork for the central courtyard of the former Dell Football ground. The Dell was demolished in 2001 by Hughes and Salvidge. I was able to visit the ground to document the site just before this process began and just after the last game had been played.

The Club moved from the Dell in 2001 to the brand new St Mary’s Stadium. 

 

“a lovely dell with a gurgling stream and lofty aspens” Philip Brannon 1850

 

“On 19 May 2001, midfielder Matt Le Tissier, (who retired from playing a year later) said goodbye to the stadium that had been host to his entire professional career by scoring a volley in the final minutes of the final league game securing a 3–2 win against. Le Tissier has the distinction of scoring the last competitive goal at The Dell. On 26 May, the club’s fans said goodbye to the Dell by stripping all of its seats, the pitch and even an advertising board after Southampton’s last game at the stadium, a 1-0 victory in a friendly against Brighton & Hove Albion, the first and last opponents at the stadium. The last goal ever scored at the Dell was by Uwe Rosler”. Wikipedia

“The final league goal witnessed by the Dell was Le Tissier’s 89th-minute winner against Arsenal, a fitting tribute from the forward to his home for 16 years and to the fans who could not imagine life without him. Club fortunes fluctuate, players come and go but Le Tissier has infected those who have witnessed his feats on the south coast and their worshipping will go on long after his boots are finally hung up”. The Guardian 21st May 2001

The Dell, Southampton 2004. Central Courtyard works on site. Design: Christopher Tipping. Images: Joe Low

 

The Dell, Southampton 2004. Central Courtyard works on site. Design: Christopher Tipping. Images: Joe Low

 

The Dell, Southampton 2004. External view of the site with Marketing Suite. Central Courtyard artworks on site. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

The Dell, Southampton 2004. Bespoke cast red & white terrazzo benches by Pallam Precast arrive on site. Design & Image: Christopher Tipping

 

The Dell, Southampton 2001. Maps & Concept Drawings. Designs & Image: Christopher Tipping

 

The Dell, Southampton 2001. Maps & Concept Drawings. Designs & Image: Christopher Tipping

 

‘The site on which the ground was built was described in Philip Brannon’s Picture of Southampton, published in 1850, as “a lovely dell with a gurgling stream and lofty aspens”. The stream is the Rollsbrook which flows out of Southampton Common, running parallel to Hill Lane before disappearing under Commercial Road and Southampton Central Station, from where it is conduited under Southampton Docks into Southampton Water.

The land had been purchased in the 1880s by the Didcot, Newbury and Southampton Railway to enable them to continue their line from Winchester via Twyford, Chandlers Ford, a tunnel at Chilworth and Shirley where it was to pass to the North East of what is nowSt James’ Park, Southampton and St James’ Church. From here the line would have travelled south across Hill Lane to run through the dell and onto an embankment leading to a viaduct over Commercial Road and the London and South Western Railway line before terminating on the Western Esplanade North of the Royal Pier.

The dell was stripped of vegetation and the stream channelled into a conduit with work started on the embankment, which survives behind property to the North of Commercial Road but was never used, and the viaduct which was part built but later demolished.’  Wikipedia

 

I wanted to recreate this idea of ‘a lovely dell with a gurgling stream and trees’, as well as represent something important about the history of football and of Southampton FC on this site. It appeared that the centre circle of the pitch was exactly where the stream had originally passed through and was now culverted underground. The radius of the centre circle on a football pitch is 9.15m. My design reflects this. The centre spot is in exactly the same space it would have been on any match day. 11 trees are planted around the circumference to reflect the squad of 11 who would have played each game. The raw cast concrete retaining walls, steps and planting beds retain something of the look and feel of the original football terraces. Several bespoke cast terrazzo benches with white aggregate in a red cement matrix face into the centre. These reflect the club colours.

The most notable detail is the textured low-relief elevation exposed around the centre circle. This is the stud print of Matt Le Tissier’s right football boot – or so I was led to believe. We contacted the club during this project and this was the boot I was sent. I so want to believe it. I wore the boot to  make the original mould, by running over a bed of clay. I still have it. The idea was to recreate and remember the raw play and boots on muddy ground which embodies the spirit of play.

I approached Patterns & Moulds Ltd, a fantastic company, I have since worked with on several projects. Established in 1967, Patterns & Moulds remains the largest independent and privately owned mould maker in the UK.

 

Matt Le Tissier’s right football boot. The Dell, Southampton 2004. Development of cast concrete relief moulds. Design & Image: Christopher Tipping

 

Matt Le Tissier’s right football boot. The Dell, Southampton 2004. Development of cast concrete relief moulds. Design & Image: Christopher Tipping

 

Matt Le Tissier’s right football boot. The Dell, Southampton 2004. Development of cast concrete relief moulds. Design & Image: Christopher Tipping

 

Matt Le Tissier’s right football boot. The Dell, Southampton 2004. Development of cast concrete relief moulds. Design & Image: Christopher Tipping

 

The Dell, Southampton 2001. Maps & Concept Drawings. Designs & Image: Christopher Tipping

 

The Dell, Southampton 2001. Concept Drawings. Designs & Image: Christopher Tipping

 

The Dell, Southampton 2001. Concept Drawings. Designs & Image: Christopher Tipping

 

The Dell, Southampton 2001. Concept Drawings. Designs & Image: Christopher Tipping

 

The Dell, Southampton 2001. Plan Drawings for setting out. Designs & Image: Christopher Tipping

 

The Dell, Southampton 2003. Final Draft Artwork. Designs & Image: Christopher Tipping

 

The Dell, Southampton 2003. Final Draft Artwork & Planting Scheme. Designs & Image: Christopher Tipping

 

The Dell, Southampton 2001. Just prior to demolition works starting. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

The Dell, Southampton 2001. Dusty footprints & concrete terraces. Just prior to demolition works starting. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

The Dell, Southampton 2001. Concrete terrace number 5. Who would have stood here on match day?Just prior to demolition works starting. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

The Dell, Southampton 2001. Just prior to demolition works starting. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

The Dell, Southampton 2001. Just prior to demolition works starting. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

Turf had been stripped off the pitch by fans eager to take a piece of footballing history home with them.

 

The Dell, Southampton 2001. Just prior to demolition works starting. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

The Dell, Southampton 2004. Central Courtyard works on site. Design & Image: Christopher Tipping

 

The Dell, Southampton 2004. Central Courtyard works on site. Design & Image: Christopher Tipping

 

Sunburn

 

The Dell, Southampton 2004. Central Courtyard works on site. Design & Image: Christopher Tipping

Above: All the concrete works were delivered in-situ, with timber formwork constructed on site. The concrete retaining structures and curving walls created a series of interlinked paths and terraces, which were then backfilled with soil or compacted gravels to create the finished terrace levels. The Matt Le Tissier stud-print concrete feature relief-wall was also cast in-situ on site with bespoke rubber moulds and timber formwork. The raw, unfinished concrete surfaces emulated the original hard terrace construction at the Dell Football ground.

Matt Le Tissier’s right football boot. The Dell, Southampton 2004. Bespoke in-situ cast concrete. Design & Image: Christopher Tipping

 

The Dell, Southampton 2004. Bespoke in-situ cast concrete. Design & Image: Christopher Tipping

 

The Dell, Southampton 2004. Bespoke in-situ cast concrete. Design & Image: Christopher Tipping

 

The Dell, Southampton 2004. Central Courtyard works on site. Design & Image: Christopher Tipping

Above: Elizabeth Smith, Public Arts Officer, Southampton City Council 1998 – 2011, talking with the Project Site Manager.

 

The Dell, Southampton 2004. Central Courtyard works on site. Design & Image: Christopher Tipping

 

The Dell, Southampton 2004. Central Courtyard works on site. Design & Image: Christopher Tipping

 

The Dell, Southampton 2004. Bespoke in-situ cast concrete. Design & Image: Christopher Tipping

 

The Dell, Southampton 2001. Concept Drawings. Section through terraces and stream. Designs & Image: Christopher Tipping

 

Above & Below: The Rollsbrook Stream was re-imagined as a shallow rill flowing through the courtyard.

The Dell, Southampton 2004. Bespoke in-situ cast concrete. Design & Image: Christopher Tipping

 

The Dell, Southampton 2004. Bespoke in-situ cast concrete. Design & Image: Christopher Tipping

 

The Dell, Southampton 2004. Bespoke in-situ cast concrete. First of 11 trees in place. Design & Image: Christopher Tipping

 

The Dell, Southampton 2004. Bespoke in-situ cast concrete. Ground lighting being installed. Design & Image: Christopher Tipping

 

The Dell, Southampton. Groundsman preparation of the pitch was a thing of beauty & skill. Image: SFC Date Unknown.

 

The Dell, Southampton 2004. Bespoke in-situ cast concrete. Bright green turf being laid. Design & Image: Christopher Tipping

 

The Dell, Southampton 2004. Bespoke in-situ cast concrete. Design & Image: Christopher Tipping

 

The Dell, Southampton 2004. Bespoke in-situ cast concrete. Design & Image: Christopher Tipping

 

 

The Dell, Southampton 2004. Central Courtyard works on site. Design & Image: Christopher Tipping

 

The Dell, Southampton 2004. Bespoke cast terrazzo benches by Pallam Precast arrive on site. Design & Image: Christopher Tipping

 

The Dell, Southampton 2004. Bespoke cast terrazzo benches by Pallam Precast arrive on site. Design & Image: Christopher Tipping

 

The Dell, Southampton 2004. Bespoke cast red & white terrazzo benches by Pallam Precast arrive on site. Design & Image: Christopher Tipping

 

The Dell, Southampton 2004. Bespoke cast red & white terrazzo benches by Pallam Precast are installed on site. Design & Image: Christopher Tipping

 

The Dell, Southampton 2004. Central Courtyard works on site. Design & Image: Christopher Tipping

 

The Dell, Southampton 2004. Central Courtyard works on site. Design & Image: Christopher Tipping

 

A beautifully crafted thing…

Chatham Placemaking Project – A beautifully crafted thing…

Granite & Laminated Radius Timber Street Seat. New Cut, Chatham. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

Since starting the Chatham Placemaking Project, I am proud and pleased that much of the work we have done has been wonderfully crafted.

Words can be beautifully crafted to capture the essence of meaning, or a point in time, the spirit of a place. Materials too can be made to speak and assembled with care into something meaningful and poetic.

The writer, filmmaker, designer and poet with whom I have worked and collaborated on the project have all brought experience, originality, humour to the table, but above all they have brought an ability to assemble what they know & what they have created into a beautifully honed and finished thing – a sentence, a film, a poem, a pattern.  These people are highly skilled. Andrew Lapthorn, a craftsman and furniture maker working from the Historic Dockyard has produced perhaps one of the most beautiful objects created for the project. His laminated Elm radius curved seat – part of a collaboration with me to create 6 granite and timber street benches – has now been installed at New Cut, Chatham, one of two radius timber seats.

 

Granite & Laminated Radius Timber Street Seat. New Cut, Chatham. Image: Christopher Tipping

Above: Granite & Timber street bench. Honed monolithic granite with stainless steel armrest by Hardscape.

Public spaces – especially those well trafficked, endure heavy duty wear and tear. These seats have been manufactured from robust and tough materials. This timber element was constructed from 45 layers of laminated mature English Elm, which was generously donated to the project by the Historic Chatham Dockyard from the equally historic Timber Seasoning Sheds. Each layer may have 2 of 3 individually sawn planks. It is a brilliant piece of work and very beautiful. It speaks loudly to me and is exemplary of the experience and love of making, which all the artists and creatives involved in the project have instilled in their work, often quietly and unseen. Andrew Lapthorn’s seat, encapsulates so much that has been done by us all in gathering our base material, spending time with it, mulling it over, discarding what doesn’t work, before finally committing to its final form.

 

Granite & Laminated Radius Timber Street Seat. New Cut, Chatham. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

Andrew has documented his work over many months and has given us access to the archive of images. Some of them are astonishing. Again, worth repeating, that his process reflects all of our various processes in various forms, making various outcomes. It is all about craft, mixed with experience, originality and passion. I will be making a longer post about this work.

 

Granite & Laminated Radius Timber Street Seat. New Cut, Chatham. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

Granite & Laminated Radius Timber Street Seat. New Cut, Chatham. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

Granite & Laminated Radius Timber Street Seat. New Cut, Chatham. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

 

 

 

Thalia, Belvedere and Telemon

Great to seen that our client Countryside & the Hyde Group have adopted several street names for Rochester Riverside from the original contextual research I did to underpin my public art proposals for the scheme, as directed and managed by Public Art Consultants FrancisKnight. 

 

Detail showing a plan of Phases 1 & 2 Rochester Riverside housing development by Countryside Homes with street names. Image: By permission of Countryside Properties

 

Thalia, Belvedere and Telemon were 3 of 4 locomotives that worked at William Cory & Sons Ltd (Coal Wharf) on Rochester Riverside.

‘Thalia’: Built by Robert Stevenson and Hawthorn Newcastle, (works No 7816, Drewry Car Co works No. 2503 of 1945). The locomotive was supplied new to William Cory & Sons Ltd. where it was named after one of the three Graces in Greek mythology. The locomotive was painted black with Cory’s standard logo on each side & spent all its working life in Cory’s sidings, which were located adjacent to Blue Boar Wharf on the River Medway.

‘Telemon’: Built by the Vulcan Foundry 9 (works No. 295, Drewry Car Co. works No. 2568 of 1955) worked at William Cory’s Coal Wharf, Rochester, 1971

 

Locomotives ‘Thalia’ and ‘Telemon’ at Cory’s Wharf, Rochester, January 1971. Image: Copyright Gordon Edgar

Gordon Edgar on Flickr 

 

 

 ‘Belvedere’: Had a streamlined casing and was built by Sentinel (Shrewsbury) in 1945 and worked at Rochester Cory’s Wharf from 1950 to 1957 & now at the Northampton Ironstone Museum.

 

An image of BELVEDERE in the sidings at Cory’s Wharf, Rochester Riverside. Image: Kent History Forum/3pinplug

KENT HISTORY FORUM

 

BELVEDERE. A proposal for a Cast Iron unit 960mm x 400mm x 75mm manufactured by Hargreaves. One of 24 Public Art elements to be embedded into the streetscape of Rochester Riverside. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

Proposals for a variety of Cast Iron units – shown full scale – to be manufactured by Hargreaves Foundry in Halifax. One of 24 Public Art elements to be embedded into the streetscape of Rochester Riverside, which recall the history of the site. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

Proposals for a variety of Cast Iron units – shown full scale – to be manufactured by Hargreaves Foundry in Halifax. One of 24 Public Art elements to be embedded into the streetscape of Rochester Riverside, which recall the history of the site. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

 

Spritsail Barges of the Medway…and other Rochester Riverside Stories (2 of 3)

‘Mr Gill showed me a very fine model of their barge Centaur, a 50-tonner built by Messrs. Gill & Son, specially for the 1899 Medway barge Race, in the astonishing time of 6 weeks.” 

 

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

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

 

In his wonderfully evocative book ‘Spritsail Barges of Thames and Medway’, published in 1948, Edgar J March paints a highly detailed picture of Barge activity and life on the Medway. Many of these Barges started life in the boatyards of Rochester.

“Staunch and well built though a barge may be, each year sees a toll taken. Some yield at last to the cold embrace of the sea, whose caresses they have so long resisted, others steal quietly up some lonely creek to nose gently into the malodorous mud and settle down into their last berth, gradually to moulder away, forgotten by all save their one time masters, and perhaps, some sentimental fool like myself, who will gaze down on their rotting timbers and imagination see spars clothed with red-brown sails and hulls vibrant with life as they thrash there way round the Foreland.” 

Describing the excitement and thrill of the Medway Barge Races – “The course was from Hoo Marshes to the West Oaze Buoy and back to the Sun Pier at Chatham, a distance of about thirty five miles…A strong easterly wind was blowing, and in Long Reach Verona’s bowsprit snapped off short, but the crew cleared away the wreckage and setting a jib topsail as a staysail, carried on to come sixth in their class.” Edgar J March. 

 

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

Referencing a painting by T.B. Hardy, 1874, Edgar March goes on to describe the Medway as, “When this picture was painted, marine artists had little need to look for subjects. The Medway was alive with sailing craft : dainty little topsail schooners, picturesque collier brigs with apple bows and dingy canvas, barques from Scandinavia, bringing pine-scented timber from the Baltic to Rochester, and above all, barges innumerable, threading their way through the maze of traffic. One hundred a tide was no uncommon sight, and what a joy to a sail-lover that galaxy of russet, brown and ochre canvas must have been, many with various devices emblazoned on their mainsails – Lees’ stumpies had the white horse of Kent rampant on ebony coloured sails – all either hurrying down on the ebb or beating up against wind and tide. Now gone forever.”

 

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

 

…and “In  those far-off days, watermen, or “goozers”, to use their riverside nick-name, plied their trade in skiffs”. Edgar J March

 

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

William Higham was born in 1838 in Lewes Sussex. On 27/10/1864 he married Fanny Elizabeth Blake in Strood, nr, Rochester. By 1881 they had 9 children.

William was a Barge Builder and they lived in a private house on Victoria Street, Rochester. The location of his Yard is show on the OS map of 1898 on Blue Boar Hard, just above the Pier. ADA & EDITH is just one of many barges built here between 1876 and 1901.

Detail of OS Map 1898 showing land prior to development as Cory’s Coal & Rail Depot & Wharf. Rochester Riverside Industry. Reproduced by Kind Permission of MALSC.

 PROVIDENCE

FOX HOUND

MAID OF KENT

ANNIE & ALICE

CHARLEY BAKER

HERBERT & HAROLD

ADA & EDITH

ANSWERS

SILVER WEDDING

MABEL MAUD

VENTURA

FIVE BROTHERS

DOROTHY

 

 

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

 

‘WALRUS’ & ‘NELLIE’ were two portable conveyors owned by William Cory & Son, Coal Factors, at Cory’s Wharf, used for transporting stone aggregates from Barge to Train. These aggregates were known as Fines, Nuts & Cobbles.

 

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

 

“It has been my privilege to go over and see the marvellous machinery for loading and unloading coal. The five large cranes, when seen at work bowing their stately heads, look like dancers executing a minuet; …when in repose, standing like so many soldiers on sentry duty, with fixed bayonets. What a contrast to see the way a collier is unloaded by these cranes, as compared with the old coal whippers’ days! A coal boat seems scarcely to draw alongside the wharf before it is steaming away again”. Edwin Harris Guides to Old Rochester, Pub. 1930 No. 27 Part 1. (Ref: ROC. 942.23 HAR The Riverside. Harris/Edwin. MALSC).

 

Cory’s Coal Depot with 2 abandoned cranes from the original 5. November 1969. Black & White Photograph. Rochester Riverside Industry. Reproduced by Kind Permission of MALSC.

 

Detail of OS Map 1932 showing Cory’s Coal & Rail Depot & Wharf. Rochester Riverside Industry. Reproduced by Kind Permission of MALSC.

 

The five cranes were originally positioned along Cory’s Wharf on the far right hand side of the above OS Map of 1932

 

Detail of OS Map 1898 showing land prior to development as Cory’s Coal & Rail Depot & Wharf. Rochester Riverside Industry. Reproduced by Kind Permission of MALSC.

The earlier OS Map of 1898 records the same site some 30 years previously as Chatham Goods Yard. The site occupied by Cory’s Wharf is immediately below Blue Boar Pier along the HWMOT line.

 

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

 

 

Dunlin…A Salt Marsh Bird

 

 

‘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.

These overwintering birds, along with thousands of others migrating or breeding species have been present on our site, however the numbers of Dunlin and other birds have undergone a decline, ostensibly to do with habitat loss and disturbance, which is of course of great concern.

 

 

 

 

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