The first phase of a major project to enhance the historic Ladybridge and improve links between Tamworth town centre and Ventura Park is about to be completed, with the installation of the six carved flagstones along the bridge due to finish in the next two weeks.
Work on the £500,000 improvement scheme began in March 2015 and has involved:
- Replacement of the pavement and roadway with a level surface, to be shared by pedestrians and cyclists
- Extension of the York stone paving stones from the Castle entrance, along the whole length of Ladybridge
- Application of a golden gravel surfacing to complement the flag stones
- Installation of new bollards and street lighting
- Installation of six hand-carved flagstones along the bridge, celebrating Tamworth’s Saxon history
The six flagstones have been hand-carved by artist Luke Perry, using mallet and chisel in the traditional Saxon style.
They show images and text celebrating six of the most notable events in Tamworth’s history
- the establishment of the ancient Kingdom of Mercia with Tamworth as its capital
- the burying of the Staffordshire Hoard
- King Offa building his Royal Palace
- Tamworth attacked by Vikings
- the capture and refortification of Tamworth by Queen Aethelflaed
- the building of Tamworth Castle in 1080 following the Norman Conquest of 1066
Work to install the flagstones is due to start in the week beginning April 4, with the stones being officially unveiled during Tamworth’s St George’s Day celebrations on Saturday April 23.
The completion of the Saxon timeline marks the end of the first phase of the wider Gateways Project – a partnership between Tamworth Borough Council and Staffordshire County Council, which aims to improve the gateways into the town centre for pedestrians and cyclists.
The second phase of the project will improve links between Tamworth Railway Station and the town centre – including enhancements to Victoria Road, Bolebridge Street, Marmion Street, Albion Street and Alexandra Mews. The aim is for visitors arriving at the railway station and walking or cycling into the town centre to get a good first impression of Tamworth.
Members of the public were given the chance to have their say on the plans during a public consultation, which has just closed. Works are expected to start in July.
Andrew Barratt, Tamworth Borough Council’s Director of Assets & Environment, said, “The Ladybridge works and the wider Gateways Project is a crucial part of our long-term, ongoing work, along with Staffordshire County Council, to improve and regenerate Tamworth town centre and I am delighted that the first phase of the project is almost complete.
“It is very fitting that we are able to unveil the Saxon timeline on Ladybridge as part of our nationally renowned celebrations to mark St George’s Day.
“Ladybridge provides an attractive and welcoming link between the town centre and Ventura Park, which will encourage people to make the most of what Tamworth has to offer. This sits alongside a wide range of public and private sector regeneration projects, both ongoing and in the pipeline, to secure the future of the town centre.”
Timeline sculptor Luke Perry and his company, Industrial Heritage Stronghold, have created a number of eye-catching sculptures celebrating local history throughout the Midlands. They include a trail of 35 sculptures along Dudley Canal, a stone tablet in the central aisle of St Philip’s Cathedral in Birmingham, 15 life-size figures in Walsall Wood and the Women Chainmakers Monument in Sandwell.