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Romsey residents can be a part of £50,000 public art in Cambridge


By Ben Comber


The Romsey R under construction. Picture: Harry Gray
The Romsey R under construction. Picture: Harry Gray

The historical link of the railways to Romsey is being marked with the creation of the Romsey 'R'.

The Romsey R under construction. Picture: Harry Gray
The Romsey R under construction. Picture: Harry Gray

A £50,000 bronze ‘R’ will be installed in Romsey to celebrate the ward’s historical links to the railway.

The Romsey district was developed in the 19th century to provide homes for railway workers.

Cambridge artist Harry Gray has proposed building a 3m-high bronze ‘R’ to capture the ward’s relationship with the railway.

He has worked with Anglia Ruskin typographer Will Hill to make the sculpture emulate the 19th century style of letter found on buildings, machinery and metal street name signs in the area.

The Romsey R under construction. Picture: Harry Gray
The Romsey R under construction. Picture: Harry Gray

It will be made with a stainless steel frame, overlaid with bronze ‘sleepers’ to reflect railway track. On the sleepers will be cast the memorable rail journeys of Romsey residents, which can be submitted by postcard or online.

“Almost everyone has a rail journey important to them,” Mr Gray says in his proposal. “It might be the first train journey you remember from childhood, or a journey to a new home or job, a journey associated with a particular relationship or a major event in your life.

“It might be a short trip to the nearest town, or a journey that crossed the borders of countries or continents.

“A selection from the submitted journeys will be cast in bronze as part of a permanent public artwork in the centre of Romsey. In this way the public are engaged and empowered from the outset of this commission.”

The Romsey R under construction. Picture: Harry Gray
The Romsey R under construction. Picture: Harry Gray

The sculpture is to be installed within an Environmental Improvement Project (EIP) on the corner of Cavendish Road. One of the project’s aims is to ‘provide dramatic shadows of the work’which will enhance and add interest to a rather austere brick gable wall’.

The lighting, the artist has said, will be subtle and embedded within the landscape, tailored to fit the site and complement the existing trees.

Mr Gray’s other works include the bronze book stacks outside Cambridge University Library, the ‘Codebreaker’ sculpture in Newmarket commemorating William Tutte’s work at Bletchley Park during the Second World War, and the bronze Rose and Poppy Gates at Twickenham.

Residents of Romsey, whether past or present, can submit their memorable train journeys online. Submissions are to include the names of the stations travelled to and from.



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