The new tram lines are slowly emerging from behind the fences and the paths and pavements becoming usable again. It is now possible to walk, or cycle, from just south of the station to (and over) Wilford Toll Bridge, along the tram route. Queen’s Walk its called, commemorating Queen Victoria’s visit in 1843.* In fact this is a great time to make this trip, as the trams haven’t started running, other than tests, and so it is like living in a city of bike and pedestrian lanes.
When I rode down the Walk on Sunday, I was quite taken aback by the beauty of the sculptures lining the route. Eight in all, each different, wood carvings, each with fantastic carvings with meaning and references to Nottingham.
Turns out there is quite a story behind these (and they have their own Facebook page). They were carved by Dan Sly and Karl Wilby, using lime trees felled in the tram construction. The artists worked with local groups and schools in the Meadows to capture images than reflect the history of Nottingham, things people remember, logos that are instantly recognisable to those of us who have lived here for quite a while. The Meadows story poles project has been funded by Nottingham City Council, Tramlink Nottingham, Nottingham City Homes, Boots Community Grant and Awards for All.
The tram news article says they planned 12 sculptures, but there are only eight along Queen’s Walk. Perhaps the others are/will be further out, along the line to Clifton – if you know, let us know.
For me this is one of the best examples of public art for a long time. All those involved should be very proud of what they have brought to Nottingham. Go see them!
*Excerpt from Victoria’s diary for 4 December: Did not go through the town, but, the whole population had turned out nevertheless, & I never saw such quantities of people, so quiet & well behaved as they were; the situation of Nottingham is very fine, & those swarms of people out everywhere, made a great effect. Nothing has really changed in 171 years, has it?