Unveiling of Spalding’s heritage trail sculptures

Cowbit couple Peter and Vivien Higham in 3D.
Cowbit couple Peter and Vivien Higham in 3D.
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Familiar faces will be dotted all around Spalding later this year, including those of a Cowbit couple who are to be immortalised in 3D bronze plaques.

Peter Higham (86) and wife, Vivien (84), went along to an event at Ayscoughfee Hall last September because they had many happy memories of Spalding and stories to tell.

The flesh and blood Peter and Vivien pictured in 2012 with some letter scales from the 1940s. SG261012-793NG

The flesh and blood Peter and Vivien pictured in 2012 with some letter scales from the 1940s. SG261012-793NG

But they found themselves sitting for artist Joseph Hillier, who is creating a series of plaque-style sculptures for arts group Transported in partnership with Spalding and District Civic Society, South Holland District Council, Spalding town centre manager Dennis Hannant and schools.

Unfinished artworks will be unveiled to the public on Thursday from 1pm-6pm at Ayscoughfee Hall to give people a chance to admire Joseph’s work – and to suggest their favourite possible town centre sites for the plaques, which are due to be installed by Easter.

To coincide with the launch of the heritage trail sculptures, Spalding Town Centre Map is being revamped to show the siting of the bronzes so tourists using council car parks can see the exciting addition to the town.

Some plaques will measure around 20x20x10cms but there will be different sizes.

I went to the Spalding auction and met a lot of local farmers there who were bringing in their stuff to auction. I also travelled out to some of the bigger farms who employ people in their warehouses.

Artist Joseph Hillier

Joseph said: “They will be graphite-covered, 3D prints that I will present next week – but later they will be cast in bronze by the lost wax process.”

Cornwall born Joseph was chosen to produce artwork after a selection process where artists put forward proposals for a piece of art that would both capture and celebrate the town’s market history.

Joseph began his work here by focusing on Spalding’s links with the land.

He said: “I went to the Spalding auction and met a lot of local farmers there who were bringing in their stuff to auction.

Sculptor Joseph Hillier.

Sculptor Joseph Hillier.

“I also travelled out to some of the bigger farms who employ people in their warehouses.”

Joseph employed “some quite recent technology and some technology as used in XBox” to take multiple scans of his farming subjects and those from all walks of life and all ages who visited him at Ayscoughfee.

Joseph particularly remembered the Highams and the couple chatting to him about a mix-up on their wedding day when a professional photographer muddled up the photographs from two ceremonies that day.

Vivien told us they didn’t get all the photographs they should, but there was a nice shot of them getting into the car and one of the actual wedding party.

Town centre manager Dennis Hannant.

Town centre manager Dennis Hannant.

There will be no mistake with the latest image of the couple, a 3D masterpiece from Joseph. The Highams have already seen images and are impressed with Joseph’s work. Vivien thinks it’s nice that people like them are being commemorated.

She said: “I think it’s nice that they want to know the people that have resided in the area for so long – they are the ones that do know what went on and how it was. We know all of the village goings on and a lot about Spalding.”

Peter and Vivien still live at the old Post Office, where Vivien worked from 1951 to 1991. There was also a shop and petrol pumps.

During Vivien’s days at the Post Office, it was all about service and she says the same was true of the Spalding shops, which were independent.

She says there were no customers going round with baskets helping themselves in those days – the staff served the customers.

Peter spent his working life in farming, focusing on livestock, and is the son of Joseph Higham, who moved to Cowbit to set up in business as a hand sown bootmaker and repairer.

Spalding Town Map will be updated to include the heritage trail sculpture locations.

Spalding Town Map will be updated to include the heritage trail sculpture locations.

• The civic society described the artwork project as its “first commission in an ambitious project to celebrate Spalding’s historic market”, which was “aimed at increasing the town’s attractiveness for residents and visitors”.

Previously ...

Cornish artist is on our doorstep with sculptures

Art showpiece to give a classy image to town

Invitation for people to join Spalding arts project set in stone

ART PROJECT: It will enhance Spalding’s future