Since its creation as a new town, Redditch has never been, and would never claim to be a paragon of wonder and enchantment in the field of public art. The Development Corporation probably took the view that such statements of pride should come from the “soon to be acquired” residents. They did invest in the Paolozzi Mosaics to adourn the Kingfisher Shopping Centre, probably as their own statement of pride. These are now one of the most valued works of public art in the country.
The Totem Pole!
For years this fingerpost in Arrow Valley Park, erected to mark the ‘sustrans’ cycle route, known locally as the totem pole, stood as a lone concession to art. It is imaginative, creative, decorative, and worth a much closer look than this poor photograph affords.
The ‘Needles Gateway’
A recent addition to our streetscape – was unveiled in 2003. Funded by Thornfields Properties Plc (former owners of the Kingfisher Shopping Centre), it is situated in Alcester Street, beside the Post Office and the Public Library. This public artwork recognises and celebrates the town’s industrial heritage, as Redditch was historically the undisputed needle-
The ‘Gateway’ consists of eight stainless steel needles. Each of them are ten metres high and set at an angle with trailing ‘threads’ that link into the adjacent pavement feature. This work was funded separately by Redditch Borough Council and is made up of a line of five giant needles set into the pavement surface and linked with a metallised continuous ‘thread’ of paviours which are embossed with needlemaking terms and processes. These paviours were produced via street side workshops drawing upon the creative ideas of local people and also pupils from Woodfield Middle School in Redditch.
The Bartleet Fountain
The Fountain, at the northern end of the Church Green Gardens adjacent to St.Stephen’s Parish Church in Redditch Town Centre, was unveiled with great ceremony on 15th May 1883, by Mrs. Bartleet, wife of the generous donor Mr. Richard Smith Bartleet, magistrate and sometime Deputy Lieutenant of Worcestershire.
Mr. Bartleet was one of the most prominent figures in the local needle industry — as well as being a highly successful manufacturer of needles and fishing tackle, he also took a great interest in the moral welfare and progress of the town of Redditch and its people. His chief interests were in education and in the active encouragement of temperance and healthy living.
The Spring Sculpture
The local spring industry will soon be celebrated with a sculpture in the town centre. With funding coming largely from the manufacturers themselves, the project has involved art and design students from NEW College, the Council and Redditch Arts Council.
Despite the recession there are still more than sixty-
The Holocaust Memorial
This memorial was created to provide an opportunity to commemorate the National Holocaust Memorial Day held annually in this country. Redditch for some years has worked in partnership across a wide variety of faith groups to raise awareness of the holocaust phenomenon producing debate between a diverse range of groups including the Church of England, the Borough Council, the Pagan Society and various othergroups of religious denomination.
A planning meeting on 25th September 2013 gave planning permission to site the artwork outside the Town Hall in Walter Stranz Square. Work will be commencing soon.
Go to Gateway
Go to Paolozzi Mosaics (link)
Go to Sculpture Trail
Sadly past owners of the shopping centre have not seen fit to share in the glory of the mosaics and have allowed them to become largely anonymous. However, things are improving, they were restored in 2015 by the current Kingfisher Shopping Centre owners.