Celebrations greet the arrival of Queen Street's leafy barriers
Friday, 16th July 2010.
Sculptured steel lime leaves form the new gates to Haverhill's Queen Street, their modern design signifying a youthful and forward-looking town.
At the official launch of the gates at lunchtime today, the sun came out to show the complex and time-consuming detailed work put into fashioning them, much of it by town schoolchildren.
And children were there to represent their schools and to make a simple procession from one end of the street, where the larger gates shut out traffic, to the other, where a smaller set of gates provide a barrier to traffic but also invite pedestrians in.
Children from Westfield Primary School and Samuel Ward College of Arts and Technology were there to represent schools in the town, nearly all of whom had contributed.
The gates were created and designed to ideas developed by pupils at Samuel Ward, whose head of art Neil Williams also oversaw many other schools' pupils, and members of the community, working on the finishing touches.
The lime leaves are studded with Q-shape motifs forming a crown to reflect the name of Queen Street. At night they will be lit by low-energy LED lighting within them.
Samuel Ward student Tom Bailey, 16, said school pupils had helped not only during school time, but in their own free time as well.
The gates were designed, he told the crowd, to give the impression of a street open to pedestrians but closed to traffic.
The brief given to the students was to design barriers of a Victorian style to link with the townscape, but what they came up with was slightly different.
"The modern outcome shows the young generation are experimental and part of a modern and forward-looking town," he said.
"I hope the gates perform their finction well and are received positively by the people of Haverhill."
Cllr John Griffiths, leader of St Edmundsbury Borough Council, which has paid for the project, described it as 'a great day for Haverhill'.
"Haverhill town centre has undergone dramatic change recently, and nowhere is that more evident than here in Queen Street." he said.
He thanked all involved, and handed out certificates to school pupils who had worked on the project.
Haverhill's new MP Matthew Hancock, said the gates were 'fantastic'.
"They look brilliant," he said, "and are some of the finest gates in any high street in the country, I should think. Everyone should be very proud of them.
He said the most significant point was that young people from the town had designed them.
"Haverhill is such a young town, with a real sense of dynamism," he said.
He thanked Cllr Karen Richardson, chairman of Public Art for the Town Centre of Haverhill (PATCH), who had had the dtive and vision to turn the idea into a reality.
"They will make the street such a great place to come and visit," he said. "I urge people to come and look around and support the town centre."
Some shops in Queen Street turned out staff in fancy dress for the occasion, including C and B Beautiful and Sonias, and collected for the British Heart Foundation.
Street entertainment provided for the occasion included a juggling stilt-walker, and music from Samuel Ward college's string quartet.
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