Who will you immortalise in steel?
Published Monday, 01 August 2011
South Lanarkshire residents have the chance to immortalise three local characters in steel as part of a national art project.
Charity Sustrans has commissioned a 'portrait bench' to stand alongside new routes across the UK, featuring a simple wooden bench with three lifesize 2-D portraits cut behind it. The figures are made from Corten steel, the same steel used to make the Angel of the North, and will naturally rust to a golden colour.
Local people now have the chance to nominate the three local figures they'd like to see immortalised in steel. The project steering group has drawn up a list for people to choose from, but it is not too late to select someone else who would be deserving of the award.
The bench will adorn a new walking and cycling route linking Hamilton to Larkhall via Chatelherault Country Park. The first phase of this project is now open, providing a traffic-free route linking Hamilton to the country park, making it easier and safer for local people to visit the attraction on foot or by bike.
Characters suggested by the steering group include:
- leading member of the suffragette movement, Dr Marian Gilchrist
- Scottish Knight William Wallace, one of the key leaders during the Scottish Wars of Independence
- David Dale, who set up the influential weaving community of Lanarkshire
The route and bench are being funded as part of national project by Sustrans which received £50million from the Big Lottery Fund in 2007 to extend its National Cycle Network into communities across the UK. Other funding for the Hamilton-Larkhall project is coming from South Lanarkshire Council and the Scottish Government.
Scheme Manager for Sustrans, Rowena Colpitts, said: "It's fantastic to see the first section of this project open and already being used. We know that people are willing to make their local journeys on foot or by bike where there are safe and attractive spaces to do so, and this new route provides just such a space.
"Residents of Hamilton and Motherwell will now easily be able to get to events at the Country Park avoiding the busy main roads, and we're sure that many will do just that.
"The portrait bench will help the route to really belong to the people of Lanarkshire, providing a point of intrigue along the way and giving people here a chance to let future generations and others know how they feel about themselves and their history."
Mark Calpin, Chair of the Lanarkshire Area Tourism Partnership (ATP), the public/private body that promotes tourism within Lanarkshire, and also General Manager of the Holiday Inn Express in Hamilton, commented: "We are delighted about this new development. As an hotelier working in Hamilton, I am only too aware of the importance of Chatelherault as one of the key visitor attractions within the Lanarkshire region.
"In the past year the ATP have launched walking and cycling guides in Lanarkshire which have proved been extremely popular with visitors. I'm sure this route will be equally popular with visitors with the improved access allowing more visitors to access this 5-star visitor attraction in a safe, fun and healthy way."
Voting is now open and a full list of nominees will be available on the Visit Lanarkshire website. You can also vote by filling out a form located at:
- Council Offices on Almada Street
- Hamilton Palace Sports Facility on Motehill Road
- ASDA on Glasgow Road
- Blantyre Leisure Centre on Glasgow Road
- Chatelherault Country Park Visitor Centre
The deadline for voting is Friday 9 September.
Residents can nominate up to three people to be immortalised as part of the bench, and can either choose from the list or nominate a character of their own choosing, stating why they are suitable for the award.
Chair of South Lanarkshire Council's Enterprise Resources Committee, Councillor Chris Thompson, said: "Having well-established walking and cycling routes is something that as a council we are passionate about.
"We are always delighted to be a part of anything that encourages people to get out and about in the fresh air. That's why it is such good news that the first stage of the project is open and being so well used.
"Chatelherault is a first-class attraction and anything that helps people to access it more easily, and by different methods, has to be welcomed. The new traffic-free route between Hamilton and Larkhall via the country park is something that I am sure will be much appreciated by local people - and encourage more visitors to the area.
"Also, the portrait bench is a unique way to celebrate our local heroes and I hope as many people as possible vote for their favourites."
The Sustrans website has a free online map service to discover how to get around everyday on foot or by bike. Search for local or national routes, plot journeys, or find what the local area has to offer from schools, supermarkets and local landmarks to car clubs, bus stops and bike shops.