UNIQUE BENCHES INSTALLED IN ACCRINGTON’S NEW TOWN SQUARE
Six unique benches with artwork telling the story of Accrington’s rich and proud history, including the Accrington Pals, Accrington Stanley and the area’s role in the Industrial Revolution, are now being installed in the new Town Square, ready for the official launch on 11th November, the centenary of the last day of World War One. The installations also feature Accrington’s famous celebrities including David Lloyd and Ron Hill MBE and others highlight the Tiffany Glass collection at the Haworth and the areas renowned NORI brick.
The six duckboard benches are made from horizontal pieces of wood representing the duckboards on the bottom of a trench in reference to the Pals and all those who fell in World War One. The duckboards are mounted on vertical piece of granite etched with images commemorating the sacrifice of the Accrington Pals and celebrating what’s amazing about Accrington, both in the years before the World War One and the achievements since then.
The benches are placed in a band of granite setts running around the around the edge of the Town Square, representing a traditional kerb and an interpretation of the two connected trench lines relating to the battle of the Somme, where so many of the Pals made the ultimate sacrifice.
Supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, work in the Town Square is progressing well with the benches complementing the scheme to illuminate and highlight the Square’s two iconic buildings, the Town hall and the Market Hall and with planters set to be installed in the next phase too. All this will add to the ambience of the area and create a backdrop for a series of events to be held on the square over coming months to bring people in and rejuvenate the town.
Cath Holmes, member of the Accrington Pals group and daughter of esteemed Accrington Pals historian, Walter Holmes, said; “I’m so pleased to have been involved with the content of these fantastic pieces of street art, particularly the one featuring the Accrington Pals and the bench Trench Life. To see my Grandad’s words immortalised and the lasting tribute to our brave men and boys is very moving. Grandad Percy was near Accrington railway station when news of the devastation broke a few days after 1 July 1916. Grandad later lost his brother Walter on 29 September 1918. He had originally joined up with the Pals but moved to the newly formed Machine Gun Corps. Walter is buried in Birr Cross Road Cemetery, just outside of Ypres, so it is poignant for our family, in the centenary year of his death, to see nearly 2 years of work materialise into something for us all to be proud of. Thank you as always to Walter Holmes, Pals Historian; for his invaluable knowledge, advice and resource throughout.”
David Burgess, Managing Director of Accrington Stanley, said; “Accrington Stanley is one of football’s oldest names and a huge part of the history of Accrington so it’s wonderful to see this bench and artwork representing the club here in the new Town Square in the centre of Accrington. Stanley is club that wouldn’t die and to see this bench and artwork standing proudly here in the new Town Square, reminding us of that proud history and where the Club has come from since it dropped out of the league in 1962 to now when we’re in League One is fantastic.”