Back in April 2019 Anna Glasbrook and I set about our research with the intention of developing a feature window design to be sited at the main entrance of a new care home being built in Little Heath, Bristol. The brief was that the design should reflect the history of Cadbury Heath and should bring in elements such as mining, the railway and the local landscape. During that research phase we spent time wandering around the local area, visiting libraries and taking photographs.
It was lovely to work together as a team on this project, and this was our first time. We found that each of us had own strengths and as a result the collaborative approach to this project was fun and we made progress fast. We are definitely hoping to do this again in the future!
During the research phase we found out so much that influenced our design: before the Romans came, this area was covered in a vast woodland, known as Kingswood Forest. You would never know that today. The name River Boyd is believed to derive from a British Celtic root meaning virtue, favour, blessing or benefit. Some believe this implies the waters have a healing quality. Our research then led us to mining and this became a main focus which tied the artwork together. We found out that pits were amongst the deepest in the county, and Golden Valley with a depth of 1,920 feet, was the deepest in the area. For many years coal was carried via the horse drawn dramway from Coalpit Heath to the River Avon. In fact, the Coalpit Heath dramway was one of the last dramways to be built in this country.
This visual research fed into our designs and finally one was chosen by the client, Brackly Investments, to be taken forward to production. In February 2020 the glazing manifestation was installed. We were thrilled with the design and feel that it tells an interesting story for residents, staff and visitors alike. We also learnt a great deal about a historically fascinating area.