Tuesday 12th and Wednesday 13th May 2015 -On Tuesday I travelled up to Cardiff from Ramsgate, Kent for a design meeting with Capita, the project architects. I was accompanied by Simon Fenoulhet of Celfwaith, who developed and is overseeing the Public Art Strategy for Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council along with Mererid Velios. Great to have someone with his experience with whom to navigate the project !
We discussed the draft development of the building and landscape and how the creative contextual research and analysis of the site, which I have been doing in order ‘to influence the design process’ is becoming a part of the interpretive strategy for the building. Once this process becomes more involved and collaborative then I hope we will see some really interesting narratives and themes emerging. We are continually having to address the function of this site as a Bus Station and interchange and the demands it brings to the project. That notwithstanding, the interpretation and contextual needs and aspirations for this site have to be seriously considered.
Thursday 13th November 2014saw the last black basalt slab installed on Blechynden Terrace to complete the ‘Canal Shore’artwork installation.
Left to right – Martin Miller and Jay Geary of Balfour Beatty, who have together installed all the 205 linear metres of the kerb edge artwork – which was manufactured and inlaid with text by Hardscape – along Blechynden Terrace and the forecourt of Central Station.
This almost – but not quite – completes the Phase 1 works for the Southampton Station Quarter North project being delivered by Balfour Beatty Living Places for Southampton City Council. This project is one of seven ‘Very Important Projects’ (VIP’S) & part of its City Centre Master Plan which will see one of Southampton’s most important gateways transformed into ‘an exciting arrival experience fit for a major city.’
Some more images of works in progress:
The site, adjacent to the shoreline of the Test Estuary has always been a point of confluence. The main route West in & out of the city ran along the shoreline and was known as The Strand. At a point marked by Achards Bridge, which replaced an ancient ford across the Rollesbrook Stream which enters the River Test at this point, the city boundary with Millbrook was established.
Today this site is near to the entrance to Southampton Central Station. You may cross the Rollesbrook Stream yourself each time you visit the station. The station is the gateway to the city & a critical hub & interchange.
The individual lines of texts are to be set out adjacent to the carriageway on the south side of Blechynden Terrace at site specific points along the ‘Canal Shore’ feature kerb line, & reveal in their expression something of the history and use of the local area. It is not a linear ‘narrative’ and has no specific start or finish. It will engage with people as and when they encounter the words. Some words and phrases have their origin in fact and are ‘on the record’, whilst some is anecdotal and ‘remembered’.
The text on these slabs is part of the following line – ‘The historic shoreline was here in 1846…the north shore of the River Test Estuary’
The 1846 Large Folio Royal Engineers Map held in the Southampton City Council Archive, is wonderfully accurate & detailed. It shows the planned route out over the mudflats of the unfinished ‘Dorchester Railway’. The shoreline was at this time still north of this point, with the high water mark reaching to what is now, the southern footpath of Blechynden Terrace & Southbrook Road. The historic curve of the Bay here is thought to be a meander of the ancient Solent River system. SCC Libraries & Archive
August Kenzler was lost when the Titanic struck an iceberg on its maiden voyage. He was one of seven crewmen (from more than 720 from Southampton) who lived in the area bounded by our project.
John Henry Stagg – Steward – 1st Class – Lost – 66 Commercial Road
August Kenzler – Storekeeper – Age 43 – Lost – 21 (12) Blechynden Terrace
Michael Stafford – Greaser – Age 37 – No 4 Southbrook Road
Walter Edward Saunders – Trimmer – Age 25 – No1 Suffolk Sq (off Southbrook Road)
Long – Trimmer – Age 28 – No 19 Sidford Street –
William Logan Gwinn – Age 37 – No 4 Commercial Road
I travelled down to Southampton for a site visit to review the basalt kerbs installed along Blechynden Terrace.
These robust blocks form the kerb edge to the ‘Canal Shore’artwork currently in production by Hardscape up in Halifax. Some corner quadrant features have been installed. This feature runs from outside the Station Forecourt, to the bottom of West Park Rd and Kingsbridge Lane. This text based work – the text is created via water jet cutting and inlaying a contrasting granite into the basalt – is 290 linear metres long x 795mm wide. The text slabs have arrived on site, but awaiting installation in July.