Friday, September 24, 2010

Planners OK canalside art for K&A's 200th anniversary
By Bob Naylor
A permanent monument will mark the 200th anniversary of the Kennet & Avon Canal now planners have given approval for it to be erected beside the canal in Bath

A mock-up of the sundial in position beside the canal near the Horseshoe walk end of the Widcombe flight
Artist Alan Dun's design is a working sundial in cast iron mounted on a plinth of Bath stone with references to the history of the canal and its trades. 

     A model of the annulus and gnomon with the original plans 
Project manager, Kate Orchard, said, "Alan’s interpretation inspires people to consider the canal as a precious place to relax and dream whilst reminding us of its working industrial past – the ‘Navvies’, the ‘Number Ones’, the ‘Gongoozlers’ and the trades – when the canal was a busy thoroughfare".

"Time is the waterway of all our days; we are dreamers on its banks"

On the annulus (clockface) of the sundial are the words " Time is the waterway of all our days; we are dreamers on its banks". 

   Kate commented, "The use of a sundial will be a poetic marker, of time and place, a reminder of the canal and the city’s past and it’s journey into the future. 
   "The choice of materials and design is sensitive to the surrounding environment using cast iron and Bath stone which are part of Bath’s architectural industrial and cultural heritage".

Widcombe Time 

The sundial will be set to Widcombe Time — as local sundials would have been when the canal was built 200 years ago.

Up until the coming of the railways the time in towns only a few miles apart would differ because they would set the time according to the local sundial. People needed no more precise measurement of time in their daily lives and in England the difference in time between the east and west coast could be as much as 30 minutes.

However, the Great Western Railway found these local variations in time a great inconvenience in running a railway — so in 1840 they started to use 'London Time' which was Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) as set by the Greenwich Royal Observatory — and within a very few years other railway companies followed suit and time was standardised throughout the country.


Bath City College 
The Bath stone plinth will be made by staff and students of the Stonemasonry Department at City of Bath College using Alan's design and will be 1ft (300mm) high. On top of that will be the clock face (annulus) which will be 4ft 7ins (1.4m ) in diameter and the overall height of the piece will be 4ft 7" (1.4m)  from the base to the tip (sundial gnomon).

Work on the sundial has now begun and the plan is to have the sundial in position near the Horseshoe Walk end of the Widcombe Flight before the end October.

Alan Dun explains his design at Widcombe Rising
Picture by Bob Naylor
Pigs and Lions 
Alan's work will be familiar to visitors to Bath. In recent years his public art trails  have caught  the imagination with his King Bladud Pigs last year and Lions this year enthralling visitors.

You can find out more about sundials by going to the British Sundial Society at:

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