Johnny Woodford bench gone.
The Johnny Woodford bench that surrounded the old chestnut tree in the Dog Area has gone. Where? Why? Well the mystery has now been cleared up. Here Chris Lowe explains why.
“By 2009 only five of the eight remained and these were showing the signs of nearly twenty years of weathering and decay.
Many users of the park had become attached to these eccentric, witty, bold, characterful and comfortable creations and the Friends of Queens Park passed on their concerns about the eventual disappearance of all the benches from the park to the council.
City parks manager Sandra Chamberlain responded generously by commissioning replacements for four of the original benches by the same sculptor Johnny Woodford.
Three of the benches were placed where the old ones had stood.
However the bench in the Dog area which also carried a commemorative plaque was still safe and sound in spite of substantial soil erosion around the base of the tree. It was for both these reasons that the new bench was placed around an Elm tree a few yards down the slope and by the path.
It is nevertheless an end of an era to see the old bench taken away. It had become unsafe with rusty metal protruding and it was decided the day had come to remove it.
It is the last to go having lasted twenty years since the day in August 1992 when it was dedicated by Mayor Councillor (later MP) David Lepper. The plaque also records that the bench was made from elm-wood from the park. At Johnny’s suggestion the new benches were made in Oak which is harder and more long lasting.”