New pieces now on display in mosaic trail for Biggleswade, Sandy and Potton
A tiled mosaic including a unique link to children’s television show Thunderbirds is part of four new artworks that have just been added to the Story in Stone heritage trail – a project designed to promote the history of Sandy, Biggleswade and Potton.
The trail will allow people to follow a series of mosaic panels – each of which have explanatory notes – around the three towns.
The project is part-funded through Central Bedfordshire Council’s £4 million Market Town Regeneration Fund, which aims to help improve the vibrancy of town centres.
The new Story in Stone mosaics in Sandy and Biggleswade join eight others already displayed in the three towns that have been designed by renowned mosaic artist Oliver Budd who – with the help of schools and community groups – is creating 15 artworks in total.
The remaining pieces are to be installed early next year.
In Biggleswade, the latest mosaic entitled TV, Film, Sports and Recreation – now in place at Saxon Pool and Leisure – shows Thunderbirds character Lady Penelope with chauffeur Parker in her famous FAB 1 car.
The car was made by Toby Baxter Contracts to drive Thunderbirds creators Gerry and Sylvia Anderson to the premiere of the Thunderbirds Are Go film in 1966.
It’s based on a ‘Chinese-Six’ wheel-plan of four front wheels and two at the back, while the chassis was from a Bedford Duple Vega coach.
This section of mosaic was made by students from Ivel Valley and St Andrew’s Lower schools, with help from members of the Biggleswade History Society.
The mosaic also depicts the town’s sports clubs – Biggleswade Town FC, Biggleswade United FC, Biggleswade Rugby Club and Biggleswade Cricket Club – whose logos became an important design feature.
The artwork was unveiled by HM Lord-Lieutenant of Bedfordshire, Helen Nellis, who said: “This is part of a really unique project across the towns that is bringing together communities to make an historical record in art of some of the fantastic things about Sandy, Potton and Biggleswade. Not only have some amazing mosaics been produced, which will be here for time immemorial, but the process of building them has been equally important.”
At Sandy, there were three panels installed along the wall between St Swithun’s Primary School and associated church. These were unveiled by the mayor of Sandy, Councillor Colin Osborne. The panel by St Swithun’s Primary School, The Sandy Show, illustrates a wonderful colourful event of horticultural produce, flowers and people coming together in celebration of the annual spectacle, which was first held in 1868. Pupils from St Swithun’s, Laburnam and Maple Tree Lower schools made mosaic rabbits which are a major feature in this piece.
There are two mosaic panels installed at the St Swithun’s Church end of the wall. These relate to Captain Sir William Peel, a 19th century British naval officer who recieved the Victoria Cross – the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces. Made by pupils from Robert Peel Primary School, this shows him throwing a fizzing bomb back across enemy lines.
The other mosaic depicts in silhouette Captain Peel’s steam and sail ship, The Shannon. This piece was made in the Sandy summer workshops in July and August by members of the local community, including members of Sandy Town Council.
Councillor Nigel Young, Central Beds Council’s lead member for regeneration, said: “This mosaic heritage is a great community project that is already helping to leave a lasting legacy in the towns, attracting more visitors to Sandy, Potton and Biggleswade.”