Tag Archives: River Medway

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rochester riverside – public art in production – hardscape england – part 2 –

Oh my word…we’re on a roll in production up at Hardscape in Bolton.

These images are hot off the press, as skilled stone specialists at Hardscape focus on the applied detail. Water jet cutting, inlaying, sandblasting and laser etching their way through 15 bespoke units destined to be embedded into the landscape of the new housing development at Rochester Riverside for client Countryside Properties. This work needs to be handled with care and demands high levels of craft skills. Hardscape have been excellent at providing creative collaboration .

Bespoke detailed granite Public Art Units in production at Hardscape England, Logistics North, Bolton for Rochester Riverside and client Countryside Properties. Image: Hardscape
Artwork for bespoke detailed granite Public Art Unit ‘WALRUS & NELLIE’ in production at Hardscape England, Logistics North, Bolton for Rochester Riverside and client Countryside Properties. Image: Christopher Tipping

Above: This is the ‘&’ from ‘WALRUS & NELLIE’. Water jet cut into a slab of Red Shiraz Granite 900mm x 300mm x75mm. It is awaiting the inlaying of the circle of yellow Amarelo Real Granite. It looks amazing. WALRUS & NELLIE were the names of two portable aggregate conveyors loading stone and cobbles on and off barges at Cory’s Wharf, Blue Boar Hard.

Bespoke detailed granite Public Art Units in production at Hardscape England, Logistics North, Bolton for Rochester Riverside and client Countryside Properties. Image: Hardscape

Above: This is the laser etched ‘DUNLIN A SALTMARSH BIRD’, , waiting to be water jet cut from its slab of beautiful Carlow Limestone & inset into a slab of red granite. See image below, where the DUNLIN has been partially cut out from the block in concentric linear patterns. This is a complex unit, with other letters inlaid. Precision is key. These beautifully crafted objects embedded in the landscape, will be a gentle reminder of the natural, social and industrial history of the site.

Bespoke detailed granite Public Art Units in production at Hardscape England, Logistics North, Bolton for Rochester Riverside and client Countryside Properties. Image: Hardscape
Detail: ‘DUNLIN A MARSHLAND BIRD’. Bespoke granite water jet cut motifs. Public Art Units in production at Hardscape England, Logistics North, Bolton for Rochester Riverside and client Countryside Properties. Image: Hardscape
Artwork for ‘DUNLIN’. This motif is to be Laser Etched onto a Carlow Limestone slab, then cut out and inlaid into a red Shiraz slab. Bespoke detailed granite Public Art Units in production at Hardscape England, Logistics North, Bolton for Rochester Riverside and client Countryside Properties. Image: Christopher Tipping
Artwork for bespoke detailed granite Public Art Unit ‘DUNLIN A MARSHLAND BIRD” in production at Hardscape England, Logistics North, Bolton for Rochester Riverside and client Countryside Properties. Image: Christopher Tipping
’15 BARGES STARTED THE RACE 1930′. Sandblasting underway with delicate handling of the vinyl stencils required. Bespoke detailed granite Public Art Units in production at Hardscape England, Logistics North, Bolton for Rochester Riverside and client Countryside Properties. Image: Hardscape
’15 BARGES STARTED THE RACE 1930′. Sandblasting underway with delicate handling of the vinyl stencils required. Bespoke detailed granite Public Art Units in production at Hardscape England, Logistics North, Bolton for Rochester Riverside and client Countryside Properties. Image: Hardscape
Artwork for ’15 BARGES STARTED THE RACE 1930′.Bespoke detailed granite in Kobra Green & Shiraz. Public Art Units in production at Hardscape England, Logistics North, Bolton for Rochester Riverside and client Countryside Properties. Image: Christopher Tipping
‘RUSSET BROWN & OCHRE SAILS’. Sandblasting underway with delicate handling of the vinyl stencils required. Bespoke detailed granite Public Art Units in production at Hardscape England, Logistics North, Bolton for Rochester Riverside and client Countryside Properties. Image: Hardscape
Artwork for ‘RUSSET BROWN & OCHRE SAILS’.Bespoke detailed granite in Kobra Green, Amarelo Real & Shiraz. Public Art Units in production at Hardscape England, Logistics North, Bolton for Rochester Riverside and client Countryside Properties. Image: Christopher Tipping
‘SPRITSAIL BARGES’ & ‘FIVE BROTHERS’. . Sandblasting underway with delicate handling of the vinyl stencils required. Bespoke detailed granite Public Art Units in production at Hardscape England, Logistics North, Bolton for Rochester Riverside and client Countryside Properties. Image: Hardscape
‘SPRITSAIL BARGE’ . Detailed sandblasting underway with delicate handling of the vinyl stencils required throughout. Bespoke detailed granite Public Art Units in production at Hardscape England, Logistics North, Bolton for Rochester Riverside and client Countryside Properties. Image: Hardscape
Drawing of a Spritsail Barge, used on the River Medway and of a type originally built on our site at Rochester Riverside in the 19th Century. Image: Christopher Tipping
Artwork for ‘SPRITSAIL BARGES’. Bespoke detailed granite in Kobra Green, Amarelo Real & Shiraz. Public Art Units in production at Hardscape England, Logistics North, Bolton for Rochester Riverside and client Countryside Properties. Image: Christopher Tipping
Artwork for ‘THE FIVE BROTHERS”. Bespoke detailed granite in Kobra Green, Amarelo Real & Shiraz. Public Art Units in production at Hardscape England, Logistics North, Bolton for Rochester Riverside and client Countryside Properties. Image: Christopher Tipping
‘SHELDUCK’. Laser Etching of a Shelduck on a Carlow Limestone slab underway with delicate handling of the detail required. Bespoke detailed granite Public Art Units in production at Hardscape England, Logistics North, Bolton for Rochester Riverside and client Countryside Properties. Image: Hardscape

The laser etched image of the Shelduck will now be water jet cut out of the Carlow slab and the motif inlaid into a slab of Kobra Green Granite, which has the shape of the bird already cut into the surface.

Interesting to note also that the Carlow Limestone has beautiful fossil shells embedded. Also note that these are not my feet, they probably belong to Pedro, who is overseeing and also working on my project. Without skilled people like this, I would be lost !

Artwork for ‘SHELDUCK’. This motif is to be Laser Etched onto a Carlow Limestone slab. Bespoke detailed granite Public Art Units in production at Hardscape England, Logistics North, Bolton for Rochester Riverside and client Countryside Properties. Image: Christopher Tipping
Artwork for ‘SHELDUCK’. Bespoke detailed granite in Kobra Green & Carlow Limestone. Public Art Units in production at Hardscape England, Logistics North, Bolton for Rochester Riverside and client Countryside Properties. Image: Christopher Tipping

ROCHESTER RIVERSIDE IN PRODUCTION – HARDSCAPE ENGLAND

Mid-September and it was up to Hardscape, Bolton to see progress on the manufacture of the bespoke inlaid granite paving units. As ever, the works are of a really high quality and Hardscape are always keen to progress & test their creative collaborations.

15 granite units are in production. These vary in size from 1200mm x 400mm x 75mm to 900mm x 300mm x 75mm and are destined to be installed at the thresholds to housing & apartment blocks at Rochester.

15 granite paving units for Rochester Riverside with inlaid and sandblasted details. Image: Christopher Tipping

This work is achieved via water jet cutting and inlay techniques using colour matched resin to bond granite elements in place. Text and other motifs are also sandblasted at varying depths.

1 of 15 granite paving units for Rochester Riverside with inlaid and sandblasted details. Image: Christopher Tipping
Detail: 1 of 15 granite paving units for Rochester Riverside with inlaid and sandblasted details. Image: Christopher Tipping
Detail: 1 of 15 granite paving units in production at Hardscape for Rochester Riverside – with inlaid and sandblasted details. Image: Hardscape
Detail: 1 of 15 granite paving units in production at Hardscape for Rochester Riverside – with inlaid and sandblasted details. Image: Hardscape
Detail: 1 of 15 granite paving units in production at Hardscape for Rochester Riverside – with inlaid and sandblasted details. Image: Hardscape
Detail: 1 of 15 granite paving units in production at Hardscape for Rochester Riverside – with inlaid and sandblasted details. Image: Hardscape
Detail: 1 of 15 granite paving units in production at Hardscape for Rochester Riverside – with inlaid and sandblasted details. Image: Hardscape
Detail: 1 of 15 granite paving units for Rochester Riverside with inlaid and sandblasted details. Image: Christopher Tipping
Detail: 1 of 15 granite paving units for Rochester Riverside with inlaid and sandblasted details. Image: Christopher Tipping
Detail: 1 of 15 granite paving units for Rochester Riverside with inlaid and sandblasted details. Image: Christopher Tipping
Detail: Water jet cutting paths for 1 of 15 granite paving units for Rochester Riverside with inlaid and sandblasted details. Image: Christopher Tipping
Detail: Water jet cutting paths for 1 of 15 granite paving units for Rochester Riverside with inlaid and sandblasted details. Image: Christopher Tipping
Detail: Water jet cutting paths cleaned up for 1 of 15 granite paving units for Rochester Riverside with inlaid and sandblasted details. Image: Christopher Tipping

Rochester Riverside in production – HARGREAVES FOUNDRY

In August all was ready for the casting of the iron units and off I eagerly trotted on the train up to Hargreaves Foundry in Halifax to be present during a famous ‘Casting Thursday’! – I have been up to Hargreaves only once before and Andrew Knight, Foundry & Patternshop Manager showed me around the factory at that time. Even though this was impressive, (& it is !) it couldn’t match being present to witness my own work being cast. It is such a physical, visceral process, fully hands on and dangerous with it. The skill & craft is astonishing and it is this legacy of making, which Hargreaves has in bucketfuls, that I wanted to design into the public art work for Rochester.

Rochester Riverside. Hargreaves Foundry. Image: Christopher Tipping
Artwork for Units 1 – 5 for cast iron production at Hargreaves Foundry in Halifax. Some units were cast twice. Image: Christopher Tipping
Original tooled pattern by Arthur Jackson after casting at Hargreaves. Image: Christopher Tipping
Details of EASM 3D files used by Solidworks for cnc tooled pattern manufacture at Arthur Jackson & Co Ltd, Halifax. Image: Arthur Jackson
Details of EASM 3D files used by Solidworks for cnc tooled pattern manufacture at Arthur Jackson & Co Ltd, Halifax. Image: Arthur Jackson
Elements of cnc tooling & pattern production at Arthur Jackson & Co Ltd in Halifax. Image: Christopher Tipping
Elements of cnc tooling & pattern production at Arthur Jackson & Co Ltd in Halifax. Image: Christopher Tipping
Elements of cnc tooling & pattern production at Arthur Jackson & Co Ltd in Halifax. Image: Christopher Tipping
Original tooled patterns by Arthur Jackson after use in casting at Hargreaves. Image: Christopher Tipping

Nine cast iron units have now been made, from 5 original cnc tooled patterns manufactured to my designs by Arthur Jackson & Co Ltd, Halifax. These patterns, cnc tooled from a type of resin block are used to prepare the resin sand mould boxes used in the final casting process. The cast units are then hand finished through grinding and polishing methods.

Elements of cast iron production at Hargreaves Foundry in Halifax. Image: Christopher Tipping
Elements of cast iron production at Hargreaves Foundry in Halifax. Image: Christopher Tipping

Individual one ton iron weights are used to secure the moulds during casting, such are the pressures of heat during the process. The moulds are constructed from a resin infused black sand, which has been compacted around the master pattern, which is then removed.

Elements of cast iron production at Hargreaves Foundry in Halifax. Image: Christopher Tipping
Elements of cast iron production at Hargreaves Foundry in Halifax. Image: Christopher Tipping

What I can’t convey here is the noise, heat, smell & excitement of this process during the critical stages of casting. The experience is vivid and visceral. I am watching something being made which could last for hundreds of years.

Elements of cast iron production at Hargreaves Foundry in Halifax. Image: Christopher Tipping
Elements of cast iron production at Hargreaves Foundry in Halifax. Image: Christopher Tipping
Elements of cast iron production at Hargreaves Foundry in Halifax. Image: Christopher Tipping
Elements of cast iron production at Hargreaves Foundry in Halifax. Image: Christopher Tipping
Elements of cast iron production at Hargreaves Foundry in Halifax. Image: Christopher Tipping
Elements of cast iron production at Hargreaves Foundry in Halifax. Image: Christopher Tipping
Elements of cast iron production at Hargreaves Foundry in Halifax. Image: Christopher Tipping
Elements of cast iron production at Hargreaves Foundry in Halifax. Image: Christopher Tipping

The units above and below have now been treated with Nitric Acid to prevent rusting through oxidation. The cast iron is almost black and the relief jumps out very cleanly.

Elements of cast iron production at Hargreaves Foundry in Halifax. 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.

 

 

 

 

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

‘CHATHAM – KENT – ENGLAND’ –

A brilliant time-lapse film celebrating the Chatham Placemaking Project, by the Filmmaker Simon Williams was premiered on the Waterfront Big Screen in Chatham on Friday evening 6th May – and then ran at hourly intervals through Saturday 7th May –

‘A series of films will focus the eye and the heart and have clearly distilled a vision for the project – a reductive process of stripping back and looking afresh. Simon refreshingly admits he has fallen in love with Chatham – he has lived here for 15 years. ‘Chatham, Kent, England’ is a remarkable 12-hour time-lapse work beautifully filmed from the roof of UCA at Fort Pitt. Standing in front of the Big Screen, the River Medway can’t actually be seen . The disengagement is clear. The film powerfully makes the case for Chatham to celebrate and acknowledge this enduring and symbiotic relationship. It could be an elegy for a Chatham we have forgotten but which is actually still alive and well and all around us’. Project Lead Artist Chris Tipping –

‘Chatham, Kent, England’is the first in a series of films being delivered as part of the Temporary Art Programme supporting the Chatham Placemaking Project.  They were commissioned by FrancisKnight Art Consultants and myself as project lead artist. ‘These are our Streets’, a collaboration between Simon and Rob Young, Writer, will be the second film in the series to be released.

Simon Williams on the roof of UCA Rochester at Fort Pitt. Chatham Placemaking Project. Image: Simon Williams.
Simon Williams on the roof of UCA Rochester at Fort Pitt. Chatham Placemaking Project. Image: Simon Williams.

Simon Williams by the Waterfront Big Screen - showing 'Chatham, Kent, England'. Chatham Placemaking Project. Image: By Permission of Simon Williams.
Simon Williams by the Waterfront Big Screen – showing ‘Chatham, Kent, England’. Chatham Placemaking Project. Image: By Permission of Simon Williams.

Finally, a blue sky day…

Thursday 10th September 2015 – A meeting at the  Royal Dockyard Library, Chatham

This is my 5th visit to Chatham – and the first blue sky day ! – so I had to put this image in…

This is the junction of the High Street, Chatham, with Railway Street and Military Road. The Halifax is on the left and the red brick gable end of Mountbatten House looms large in the centre. Image:Christopher Tipping
This is the junction of the High Street, Chatham, with Railway Street and Military Road. The Halifax is on the left and the red brick gable end of Mountbatten House looms large in the centre. Image:Christopher Tipping

The Halifax building at the junction of High Street, Chatham and Military Road has elephants carved on its facade. Have you seen them? Image:Christopher Tipping
The Halifax building at the junction of High Street, Chatham and Military Road has elephants carved on its facade. Have you seen them? Image:Christopher Tipping

At the Dockyards I was drawn to the activity at Turks Shipyard, which is a fully working yard. The light coming through the roof and riverside doors was beautiful.

Turks Shipyard within the Historic Dockyard site at Chatham. Image:Christopher Tipping
Turks Shipyard within the Historic Dockyard site at Chatham. Image:Christopher Tipping

Turks Shipyard within the Historic Dockyard site at Chatham. Image:Christopher Tipping
Turks Shipyard within the Historic Dockyard site at Chatham. Image:Christopher Tipping

Turks Shipyard within the Historic Dockyard site at Chatham. Image:Christopher Tipping
Turks Shipyard within the Historic Dockyard site at Chatham. Image:Christopher Tipping

Turks Shipyard within the Historic Dockyard site at Chatham. Image:Christopher Tipping
Turks Shipyard within the Historic Dockyard site at Chatham. Image:Christopher Tipping

Turks Shipyard within the Historic Dockyard site at Chatham. Image:Christopher Tipping
Turks Shipyard within the Historic Dockyard site at Chatham. Image:Christopher Tipping

Dry Dock, Historic Dockyard, Chatham. Image:Christopher Tipping
Dry Dock, Historic Dockyard, Chatham. Image:Christopher Tipping

Dry Dock, Historic Dockyard, Chatham. Constructed of massive bespoke granite blocks. Image:Christopher Tipping
Dry Dock, Historic Dockyard, Chatham. Constructed of massive bespoke granite blocks. Image:Christopher Tipping

 

 

 

The Historic Dockyard, Chatham

Historic Dockyard, Chatham. Main Gates. Image:Christopher Tipping
Historic Dockyard, Chatham. Main Gates. Image:Christopher Tipping

Tuesday 25th August 2015 – Historic Dockyard Chatham 

A long day of walking streets in Chatham, trying to understand how it all works – I finally made my way along Dock Rd, past Medway Council buildings at Gun Wharf and St Mary’s Church, where Pepys and Dickens both worshipped; past Fort Amherst to The Historic Dockyard.

Historic Dockyards, Chatham - Georgian brickwork of the main gateway entrance. Image:Christopher Tipping
Historic Dockyards, Chatham – Georgian brickwork of the main gateway entrance. Image:Christopher Tipping

Historic Dockyards, Chatham - The imposing and very long brick perimeter wall along Dock Road. Image:Christopher Tipping
Historic Dockyards, Chatham – The imposing and very long brick perimeter wall along Dock Road. Image:Christopher Tipping

Historic Dockyards, Chatham - The imposing and very long brick perimeter wall along Dock Road. Image:Christopher Tipping
Historic Dockyards, Chatham – The imposing and very long brick perimeter wall along Dock Road. Image:Christopher Tipping

Historic Dockyards, Chatham - the massive extant granite coping stones along the edge of Mast Dock. Image:Christopher Tipping
Historic Dockyards, Chatham – the massive extant granite coping stones along the edge of Mast Dock. Image:Christopher Tipping

Historic Dockyards, Chatham - The scale of the original Dockyard architecture is so impressive. Image:Christopher Tipping
Historic Dockyards, Chatham – The scale of the original Dockyard architecture is so impressive. Image:Christopher Tipping

Historic Dockyards, Chatham - The geometry and pattern within the buildings are evident in structure and light.  Image:Christopher Tipping
Historic Dockyards, Chatham – The geometry and pattern within the buildings are evident in structure and light. Image:Christopher Tipping

Historic Dockyards, Chatham - The internal roof of the slipway buildings is really something to behold ! Image:Christopher Tipping
Historic Dockyards, Chatham – The internal roof of the slipway buildings is really something to behold ! Image:Christopher Tipping

Historic Dockyards, Chatham - The massive structural timbers of the No 2 Slipway building. Image:Christopher Tipping
Historic Dockyards, Chatham – The massive structural timbers of the No 2 Slipway building. Image:Christopher Tipping

Historic Dockyards, Chatham - the roof apertures & timbers of the No 2 Slipway building create wonderful geometry and rhythms. Image:Christopher Tipping
Historic Dockyards, Chatham – the roof apertures & timbers of the No 2 Slipway building create wonderful geometry and rhythms. Image:Christopher Tipping

Historic Dockyards, Chatham - the roof apertures & timbers of the No 2 Slipway building create wonderful geometry and rhythms. Image:Christopher Tipping
Historic Dockyards, Chatham – the roof apertures & timbers of the No 2 Slipway building create wonderful geometry and rhythms. Image:Christopher Tipping

Historic Dockyards, Chatham - the early oak timbers were part of what were revered as 'Chatham Timbers' - Impressive forms with considerable interpretive merit. Image:Christopher Tipping
Historic Dockyards, Chatham – the early oak timbers were part of what were revered as ‘Chatham Timbers’ – Impressive forms with considerable interpretive merit. Image:Christopher Tipping

Historic Dockyards, Chatham - the massive bespoke granite forms which make up the dry docks are particularly impressive. Image:Christopher Tipping
Historic Dockyards, Chatham – the massive bespoke granite forms which make up the dry docks are particularly impressive. Image:Christopher Tipping

 

Historic Dockyards, Chatham - the massive bespoke granite forms which make up the dry docks are particularly impressive. Image:Christopher Tipping
Historic Dockyards, Chatham – the massive bespoke granite forms which make up the dry docks are particularly impressive. Image:Christopher Tipping

Material use within the Historic Dockyards is often massive in form, frugal in detail and places enormous emphasis on function and being ‘fit for purpose’. This robust, economic and honest use of material and form is influential and informative and should be used as a template and contextual influence within the regeneration of the Town Centre of Chatham.

Historic Dockyards, Chatham - the bespoke granite paving forms and trackways which criss cross the site conjure up the legacy of movement and industrious activity of the dockyard. Image:Christopher Tipping
Historic Dockyards, Chatham – the bespoke granite paving forms and trackways which criss cross the site conjure up the legacy of movement and industrious activity of the dockyard. Image:Christopher Tipping

 

Historic Dockyards, Chatham - Dockyard Trains with great text - Image:Christopher Tipping
Historic Dockyards, Chatham – Dockyard Trains with great text – Image:Christopher Tipping

Historic Dockyards, Chatham - List of submarines built in Chatham Docks. Image:Christopher Tipping
Historic Dockyards, Chatham – List of submarines built in Chatham Docks. Image:Christopher Tipping

Historic Dockyards, Chatham - the interiors of some of the buildings on site are immensely evocative and full of abstract forms. Image:Christopher Tipping
Historic Dockyards, Chatham – the interiors of some of the buildings on site are immensely evocative and full of abstract forms. Image:Christopher Tipping

Historic Dockyards, Chatham - the interiors of some of the buildings on site are immensely evocative and full of abstract forms. Image:Christopher Tipping
Historic Dockyards, Chatham – the interiors of some of the buildings on site are immensely evocative and full of abstract forms. Image:Christopher Tipping

Historic Dockyards, Chatham - the interiors of some of the buildings on site are immensely evocative and full of abstract forms. Image:Christopher Tipping
Historic Dockyards, Chatham – the interiors of some of the buildings on site are immensely evocative and full of abstract forms. Image:Christopher Tipping

Historic Dockyards, Chatham - the interiors of some of the buildings on site are immensely evocative and full of abstract forms. Image:Christopher Tipping
Historic Dockyards, Chatham – the interiors of some of the buildings on site are immensely evocative and full of abstract forms. Image:Christopher Tipping

 

Chatham Research Project – first contact !

Visit 1 – Tuesday August 25th 2015 –

 

In early August this year I was commissioned by FrancisKnight Art Consultants  and Medway Council to identify and scope creative public realm opportunities within the strategic Chatham Placemaking Project, which is being delivered by LDA Design.

“FrancisKnight have been appointed to work with LDA DESIGN and Medway Council on the Chatham Placemaking Project and in particular producing a creative public realm strategy to enhance the proposals and to add a sense of place and purpose to the spaces.

 At the heart of the Thames Gateway, only 30 miles from central London, Medway is the largest conurbation between the capital and continental Europe. A modern place with green spaces and a superb quality of life, close to breathtaking countryside, the area has a young and culturally diverse population.

 Chatham is located at the heart of Medway, with a population of 264,900 people living in the urban area in 2013. The area is world famous for its historic naval dockyard, and has also been a strategic centre for trade”.

This is a short term consultancy for me, which focuses particularly on the pedestrian route between Chatham Railway Station and The Waterfront, Chatham, via Railway Street and Military Road. This route leads on towards the Historic Dockyard Chatham – which is the subject of a World Heritage Bid –

I had up till this point never been to Chatham!  I know of Chatham via Dickens and Pepys – as well as having looked at the Historic Dockyards online ! I have passed through the Medway Towns many times on the train between Ramsgate and London, which does not really help frame a complete & honest image of the town.

This is a small sample of the visual record I made of my first visit in response to the project brief –

 

Chatham Railway Station.  Image:Christopher Tipping
Chatham Railway Station.
Image:Christopher Tipping

Chatham Railway Station, Kent.  Image:Christopher Tipping
Chatham Railway Station, Kent. Image:Christopher Tipping

Chatham Railway Station approaches. Image:Christopher Tipping
Chatham Railway Station approaches. Image:Christopher Tipping

As you leave the Station  and turn left, this leads you, via Railway Street towards the Town Centre and The Waterfront – however this route is a difficult one to navigate – if you know the town, then various landmarks map this out for you, but for a visitor, the experience is confusing and not for the faint hearted. The first 100m of this route, the car is certainly King – much to the detriment (& risk) of the pedestrian!

Railway Street, Chatham,  Kent. The same view -   Image:Christopher Tipping
Railway Street, Chatham, Kent. The same view – Image:Christopher Tipping

Railway Street, Chatham,  Kent. Image:Christopher Tipping
Railway Street, Chatham, Kent. Image:Christopher Tipping

This view looks down Railway Street towards the Town Centre with the red brick edifice of Mountbatten House  dominating the centre view.

Railway Street, Chatham,  Kent. Looking up towards the Train Station through the Viaduct, which replaced the original Old Viaduct of 1794, which was referred to as a 'defensive'  gateway.   Image:Christopher Tipping
Railway Street, Chatham, Kent. Looking up towards the Train Station through the Viaduct, which replaced the original Old Viaduct of 1794, which was referred to as a ‘defensive’ gateway. Image:Christopher Tipping

St John the Divine Church, Railway Street. Built in 1820/21 & closed in 1998. Image:Christopher Tipping
St John the Divine Church, Railway Street. Built in 1820/21 & closed in 1998. Image:Christopher Tipping

 

Railway Steet was split into two sections with Waterfront Way connecting to the A2. This created issues with pedestrian flow and connectivity. Image:Christopher Tipping
Railway Steet was split into two sections with Waterfront Way connecting to the A2. This created issues with pedestrian flow and connectivity. Image:Christopher Tipping

Railway Street, Chatham, looking towards the Town Centre from St John's Church. Image:Christopher Tipping
Railway Street, Chatham, looking towards the Town Centre from St John’s Church. Image:Christopher Tipping

Railway Street, Chatham, looking towards the Town Centre from St John's Church. Image:Christopher Tipping
Railway Street, Chatham, looking towards the Town Centre from St John’s Church. Image:Christopher Tipping

A variety of great buildings still extant on Railway Street. Image:Christopher Tipping
A variety of great buildings still extant on Railway Street. Image:Christopher Tipping

The 'Prince of Wales' Public House on the lower part of Railway Street, Chatham. Image:Christopher Tipping
The ‘Prince of Wales’ Public House on the lower part of Railway Street, Chatham. Image:Christopher Tipping

Two views along Military Road, Chatham, which is dominated by the red brick office block on the right hand side - Mountbatten House and the Pentagon Shopping Centre. At the far end of the long view is the beautiful Brook Theatre, the former Town Hall. Image:Christopher Tipping
Two views along Military Road, Chatham, which is dominated by the red brick office block on the right hand side – Mountbatten House and the Pentagon Shopping Centre. At the far end of the long view is the beautiful Brook Theatre, the former Town Hall. Image:Christopher Tipping

A wide view at the lower end of Military Road looking towards the Brook Theatre and the New Bus Station. Image:Christopher Tipping
A wide view at the lower end of Military Road looking towards the Brook Theatre and the New Bus Station. Image:Christopher Tipping

A wide view at the lower end of Military Road looking towards the new Bus Station and Waterfront. Image:Christopher Tipping
A wide view at the lower end of Military Road looking towards the new Bus Station and Waterfront. Image:Christopher Tipping

Walking from the Bus Station towards The Pentagon Shopping Centre and Military Road, Chatham. Image:Christopher Tipping
Walking from the Bus Station towards The Pentagon Shopping Centre and Military Road, Chatham. Image:Christopher Tipping

The main pedestrian crossing point towards the Bus Station & Pumping Station. Image:Christopher Tipping
The main pedestrian crossing point towards the Bus Station & Pumping Station. Image:Christopher Tipping

Chatham Waterfront Pumping Station and Big Screen, Chatham. Image:Christopher Tipping
Chatham Waterfront Pumping Station and Big Screen, Chatham. Image:Christopher Tipping

The Pumping Station appears to divide two distinct landscapes along the river frontage. Top - looking left of the Pumping Station. Bottom - looking right of the Pumping Station. Image:Christopher Tpping
The Pumping Station appears to divide two distinct landscapes along the river frontage. Top – looking left of the Pumping Station. Bottom – looking right of the Pumping Station. Image:Christopher Tpping

The local population on the river below the Pumping Station. Image:Christopher Tipping
The local population on the river below the Pumping Station. Image:Christopher Tipping

The local population sit on railings along the waterfront,  Chatham. Image:Christopher Tipping
The local population sit on railings along the waterfront, Chatham. Image:Christopher Tipping

The new Bus Station looking towards Mountbatten House. Image:Christopher Tipping
The new Bus Station looking towards Mountbatten House. Image:Christopher Tipping

The Paddock, which is green space between the Bus Station, Mountbatten House and the Pentagon Shopping Centre. Image:Christopher Tipping
The Paddock, which is green space between the Bus Station, Mountbatten House and the Pentagon Shopping Centre. Image:Christopher Tipping

Brook Theatre, Chatham, the former Chatham Town Hall. Image:Christopher Tipping
Brook Theatre, Chatham, the former Chatham Town Hall. Image:Christopher Tipping