There was a poignant new addition to our sculpture trail at The Bridge development in Dartford recently. A new sculpture – ‘soldier on a bench’ – by Will Jordan was commissioned to recognise the Armistice of 11 November 1918 and the role played by the Dartford War Hospital in rehabilitating injured soldiers.
‘Soldier on a bench’ is the final piece of public art commissioned by Prologis as part of a sculpture trial on the development. The first sculptures – ‘mermaid’ and ‘solar tree’ were installed at the development in 2010 and, since then, a further four sculptures have been added, including this latest sculpture.
The seat itself is oak made from one tree, and the decorative supports for each leg of the bench are horseshoes – in recognition of the 8 million horses killed during the combat. Made from recycled material, the sculpture is designed to encourage people to sit and contemplate the ultimate sacrifice made by soldiers in the first and second world wars, in the hope of keeping the memories alive.
On the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings, pupils from year 6 at Dartford Bridge Community Primary School we’re introduced to our latest sculpture. Prior to meeting ‘soldier on a bench’ for the first time, pupils were asked about the sculptures in the sculpture trail and asked to consider their purpose and the material used to make them. They also discussed how recycling can be an art form, what a sculptor does, the hospitals that were on site before the school and housing was built, and importantly the significance of this latest piece in relation to the D-Day celebrations and the end of the First World War.
“At Prologis, we believe it's important to preserve links to local history, which is why we commissioned this piece,” Paul Weston, Regional Head for Prologis UK explains. “The site where The Bridge development is located played an important role in the care and rehabilitation of injured soldiers and it’s great to see the sculpture trail being used as a powerful learning tool to help us keep those memories alive.”