New “wharf art” information panel unveiled on Bideford’s quayside
The team running Bideford’s community art, education and heritage project – Way of the Wharves – have this week unveiled a stunning piece of informative art on the quayside wall, next to the Tarka the Otter sculpture.
The 2-metre long, stainless steel interpretation panel tells the tale of East-the-Water’s historic wharves. Spanning almost 500 years of maritime heritage, this visual and written depiction of key events in Bideford’s past – such as the estuary’s connections to Napoleon, the secrets it held during the planning of D-day, and the port’s trade ties with Newfoundland – shows residents and tourists the rich, diverse and intriguing history of Bideford.
Commissioned, written and illustrated by a group of volunteers working on Way of the Wharves (and tying-in with the group’s “Walk the Wharves” heritage map published earlier this year), the new information panel has a long, detailed pen-drawing of East-the-Water by artist Lou Boulter, with arrows, old photographs and detailed research depicting 13 different wharf areas along the quayside.
Constructed of stainless steel – and given a solid, metallic maritime look by the three companies that built and printed it, Amalgam Models, Hinton Palmers Metalwork and TwentySix01 – the panel took the volunteer team six months to achieve, up to its unveiling by Bideford Town Mayor, Councillor Doug Bushby, on Thursday November 1st at 2pm (journalists and photographers are welcome to attend this unveiling).
The panel is now bolted to the quayside wall, and is expected to last many years.
Project Co-ordinator, Anthony Burt, said: “We wanted to create something of a high quality that would be both informative and beautiful, so that local people would be proud of the panel and, importantly, proud of the heritage it depicts. I’m so pleased we built something so bold and packed with interesting facts, photos and drawings; it’s a real piece of legacy art for the Way of the Wharves project, and the town.
“We invite everyone to visit the quayside and take a look!”
With a bullet-proof polycarbonate covering and made of stainless steel, the structure weighs approximately 150 kilos. The panel was printed using a special large-format, digital laser printing technique straight on to the metal content panel.
The panel’s structure was funded by the Heritage Lottery, Torridge District Council, Bideford Town Council, Bideford Bay Creatives and Devon County Council.
Assisted by Mike Ford at Torridge District Council, the volunteer team – who recently celebrated the Way of the Wharves project’s 2-year anniversary – of Bob Kirby, Mike Teare, Lou Boulter, Sue Smith, Becky Frisby and Jack Taylor would like to thank everyone involved in making the final part of this year’s project happen.
There is more information about Way of the Wharves at www.thewharves.org
A jpeg image of the panel’s content design, its position on the quay wall and the mayoral unveiling is available on request.
Bideford Bay Creatives (BBC) administers the Way of the Wharves project on behalf of the Heritage Lottery Fund. BBC are a not-for-profit community group created in July 2009.