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Canal Way-Marker & Oak Bench

Commissioned by Groundworks CLM & Saltscapes
2018

oak, galvanized steel & recycled plastic

In 2017 we were approached by Saltscape (www.saltscape.co.uk) to help them create a new bench / way-marker for the Trent & Mersey Canal in Middlewich. Initial community consultation directed us to create a piece which was sympathetic to its historic location and reflected the boat people who once plied their trade along the canal. Drawing inspiration from the 3 Locks conservation area we created a bespoke oak bench which reflects its rich industrial history, as well as its current rejuvenation as an area for recreation and relaxation.  Working closely with Saltscape and Middlewich Heritage Trust we ensured the bench was manufactured and  fitted in time for the annual ‘Folk & Boat’ Festival.

Once detailed designs were approved by the local authority work began fabricating the bench. FSC green oak was used to make the upright posts. Hand carved with designs as well as the signage ‘Middlewich Three locks’ they formed the eye catching focal point of the bench. Galvanised box section steel was welded to create the curving seat structures then recycled plastic was inserted to form the seat.

Due to the difficult location, the bench was designed to be supplied in kit form and constructed onsite. Thanks must be given to the Middlewich Heritage Trust who mustered the help and assistance of the local community to get this considerably weighty structure to site by hand, as this article highlights in the local paper (Middlewich Guardian)

‘Working with Scartworks has been such a positive experience. Stephen is particularly talented at working with community groups of all ages to find innovative ways of representing their own experience of an area’s past and present. This sense of ownership is crucial to helping the installation become a much-loved part of the new landscape. His vast experience and talent as an artist enable him to have a flexible and positive approach to what can initially seem a very daunting brief. Scartworks has been able to work within budget and timescales and with the myriad agencies (planning, landowners, funders) that need to liaise to complete a complex project. You will be very proud of the end product if you choose Scartworks for your project.’

Hannah Petrie (Press and Communications Officer), Saltscape Landscape Partnership

‘The community have been praising the quality of the bench, which is considered well designed and comfortable to sit and relax whilst watching the wildlife. From the point of view of Middlewich Heritage Trust and Canal and Rivers Trust the bench represents a fantastic addition to the area, and good value for money producing something that the community have been part of and recognising the historical importance for visitors and canal users.’
Kerry Kirwan (Heritage Officer)  Middlewich Town Council