Sunday, September 8, 2013

A new home for the Surrey Quays dolphins?

It is good to know that one of the pieces of local art and history that have vanished from view over the last few years has been stored safely. 

The Family of Dolphins.
Photograph from the website
The Family of Dolphins was the focal feature of a fountain in Surrey Quays shopping centre and has been preserved.  Reports in both Southwark News and on the website have stated that Southwark Council is looking, via public consultation, for a new home for the dolphins, a modern sculpture created by David Backhouse.

Security is obviously a major concern, given the spate of thefts of public art in Rotherhithe over the last few years (including the Alfred Salter statue, the Nature Girls and some of the farmyard animals on the Thames Path).  Obvious candidates are areas where there is plenty of public activity at all times, or a location sufficiently difficult to get to (like the middle of a lake) that might deter thieves.

If you want to see more about this, and particularly if you want to add your suggestions about where it might be housed, have a look at the Southwark Council website page dedicated to the subject.

The local record with regard to official preservation of local landmarks has not been particularly good.  When the Canada Water underground and bus station was built, the original deal porter base was dismantled and was supposed to be reconstructed elsewhere to ensure that one of the few pieces of original dockland heritage was preserved, but it somehow vanished off the face of the planet.  Similarly, the compass fountain that was part of the Downtown seating area outside the Surrey Docks Medical Centre vanished during the current Barratts building programme, and it is unclear what has happened to it.

The Family of Dolphins is a nice piece, albeit completely unconnected with the history of the area, and it would be nice to see it given a good home.

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