Date: Thursday 24 April 2014
Residents, local groups, businesses and the boating community joined forces to celebrate the heritage of Chelmsford’s wharfside and canal at a special event held at Taylor Wimpey’s Indigo Wharf development in the city.
The highlight of the event on Saturday 5th April was when the Mayor, Cllr Trevor Miller, unveiled a piece of public art called the Timber Stack, which provides seating for people of all ages and sizes on the banks of the Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation.
To celebrate the unveiling, a community event was organised by Taylor Wimpey, artist Zoe Chamberlain, Essex Waterways and the Chelmer Canal Trust, and also included the boating community, Trinity Road Primary School and the Oasis Church.
Boat trips along the canal, a design workshop for children, a colouring competition, music, a waterways exhibition and refreshments attracted over 200 people along to the wharfside during the day.
Zoe says: “It was a really successful event and a great example of different organisations working together in a way that was really positive.
“We had planned a certain number of activities and the event grew organically, with extra attractions including paddle boarding and a pottery stall selling traditional canal art coming along on the day, which all added to the atmosphere by the waterside.
“The event really brought life to the area and focussed on the wharfside as a place for recreation and I hope it will inspire more events there in the future.”
The Timber Stack was designed by Furniture: Design and Craft student Kathryn Sumroy, from Buckinghamshire New University, as part of a Taylor Wimpey-funded design competition.
The design is composed of horizontally-stacked lengths of timber, fanned out to create seats at different levels for people of all ages and sizes, echoing the site’s previous use as a timber yard, as well as giving people a wonderful place to relax.
It was unveiled by the Mayor, Cllr Trevor Miller, who said: “I was delighted to be asked to unveil the Timber Stack sculptured seating at Taylor Wimpey’s Indigo Wharf. It shows how residential developments can be made more interesting and attractive by adding public art that is both decorative and useful.”
Kathryn ran a Timber Stack building workshop for children at the event, and added: “It has been fantastic watching people explore how to use the Timber Stack. As well as telling a unique story about the Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation, it forms a group of seats, tables or a climbing frame, with a stunning view down the canal.
“The associated Treasure Trail is proving to be a great tool to explore more of the city’s fascinating canal history. Using it with pupils from Trinity Road Primary School has been really inspiring.”
Michael O’Leary, Regional Sales and Marketing Director for Taylor Wimpey, says: “We are proud to have funded the Timber Stack project as part of our investment in the local community in and around Indigo Wharf.
“The public artwork and celebrations organised along with its unveiling have demonstrated how the rejuvenated wharfside and canal can be a wonderful focal point for leisure and recreation for the whole community to enjoy.”