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Coleshill has Roman history, a Doomsday Book reference, a market charter granted by King John and coaching town and highwayman folklore. However, it is a town often travelled through rather than visited by the tourist. Something of an interest that depicts the town (a smaller scale equivalent to the Birmingham Bull, the Banbury Cross or the Coventry Godiva statue) will encourage the visitor to stop and look and allow more footfall and trade in the town as a result. The location has already been found: some disused public ground on the High Street (former toilets). The design of the artwork needs to be agreed as a result of consultation with residents, local businesses and authorities. That is so to find a Coleshill artistic representation that "everyone relates" to (hence the CASPER initials. The North Warwickshire Borough Council has indicated that it could potentially arrange the use of the public space and some initial financial support.
What we'll deliver:
Why it's a great idea:
Coleshill has Roman history, a Doomsday Book reference, a market charter granted by King John and coaching town and highwayman folklore but does not shout out to neighbouring town residents or create anything that gives a unique identity. A distinctive art piece could be a talking point, a tourist draw, a pleasant area to sit by and a reason to stay in the town for longer. The subject of the artistic representation could help the town have a stronger identity in the eyes of its residents, those of the surrounding towns and villages. It could help the town make a modern statement rather than being only known by some for what it used to be (i.e. former coaching town that many travellers passed through on the way to somewhere else).
Steps to get it done:
To start an art space project with no pre-determined end design will encourage local authorities, schools, businesses and the media to all feel that they can contribute to that design. The selected design would achieve the "Everyone Respects" ideal by young and old to feel they are part of the project. As well as encouraging the above, an arts space would give the residents of Coleshill a modern day pride in its town, an iconic representation of its sense of being that could be depicted alongside the Cole Bridge, the pillories and the Parish Church, together with its spire. There are thriving industrial businesses in the retail parks to the north of the Cole Bridge but these are rearely seen to have much association with the High Street and south town apart from the B46 postcode. A through and wide-reaching consultation which included the retail park businesses could offer the opportunity for business leaders to get involved in project participation, design and sponsorship.
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On 22 September, at a Family Fun Day, Coleshill, through the CASPER project, unveilied its fine piece of public art which sums up the town’s history in 11ft of bronze and steel. Coleshill aims to be among a big tourist attraction and now has a talking point, like the Copenhagen mermaid. A large crowd watched town mayor Cllr Tony Battle pull off the cover to reveal a circus elephant balanced on two legs on a stage coach wheel. Helping Cllr Battle with the unveiling were Peggy Childs, now in her 90s, and The Coleshill School student Charlotte Revans. The elephant, facing the medieval bridge, commemorates the circus elephant which choked on a swede and died as it passed through the town over 100 years ago. It also celebrates John Sumner’s Typoo Tea brand, blended to relieve his sister’s indigestion. The stylised shape of the elephant also repesents a teapot - the tail the handle and the trunk the spout, tipped over to pour tea. The wheel is a reference to the coaching history of the town, but also a nod to the 12 stopping points on the Green and Yellow Heritage tours which were launched at the unveiling. The next ones are on the Saturdays: 20 October, 17 November and 15 December. Booking is essential, via the Town Council number 01675 463326 (open 9-1, Monday to Friday but with an answer machine out of hours). Peggy’s late husband Frank was a child when the circus arrived in town. Charlotte won a design competition, which sculptor Peter Walker translated into the art work. The brief was to design a piece of art work to incorporate four themes: John Sumner, founder of Typhoo tea; Jack O’Watton, a famous local high-wayman; the circus elephant who died and is buried in Coleshill, and the three rivers (the Blythe, Cole and Tame). The sculpture is titled "Memories Flow By" which is a reference to the elephant, the rivers and the flow of time!
The 4 most popular CASPER design ideas are all pictured here. You can vote on Twitter @ColeshillTH on which 1 of 4 you like: - Costume mask, hat & cloak (kids can have pictures taken behind the costume); - Highwayman head with seats (walk in and seats inside); - Stagecoach wheel with clock (real time keeper in a prominent position); - Horse made from horse shoes (made from recycled horseshoes). Time is running out for pledges to make sure CASPER happens. As well as voting, encourage others to pledge. The audio visual is at https://youtu.be/6tZeOqueGdg Please ask others to pledge what they can. @WarwickshireTogether @WarksTN
Time is running out for people and businesses to pledge and Vote for CASPER to happen. Spread the word if you want to see it take place, to residents and businesses. Now that the Highwayman /Stagecoach theme has one one vote, there is now anther vote on Twitter @ColeshillTH on which of 4 design options is most popular: Costume mask, hat & cloak; Highwayman head with seats; Stagecoach wheel with clock; Horse made from horse shoes. This picture is the mask idea - Kids go behind the mask to have photos taken as a Highwayman or Highwaywoman! A/v: https://youtu.be/6tZeOqueGdg @WarwickshireTogether @WarksTN
The Twitter vote had the Highwayman/Stagecoach theme as the most popular with 54% of the vote. #coleshillTH #casper_coleshill The Working Group will look at the options for a highwayman/stagecoach piece. The other three themes (Elephant/Circus, Tea/John Sumner and Three Rivers) all got fairly even votes. It is now over to the Coleshill School’s art class students who are working with design ideas in a competition, sponsored by the Mayor, with a £50 cash prize. If you want to see CASPER progress, please ask family and friends to pledge £2 or more now. There is a Launch Night at 7pm on 30 January at the Town Hall with a Highwayman/Stagecoach theme. Some designs will be on display and a chance to get involved. Audio visual at: https://youtu.be/6tZeOqueGdg @WarwickshireTogether @WarksTN