Our Wonderful Missing Archway

Richard Farrington Created an Archway Sculpture, Carley Sitwell Hopes it can be Returned to Centurion Way

When Centurion Way was created in 1995 Sustrans commissioned many sculptures that were installed along it’s length. The southern end of the path began where it passed beneath a visually striking archway.

Richard Farringdon used ideas from Bishop Luffa school and wooden ribs from a ship in Portsmouth Harbour to make the archway
Richard Farrington used ideas from Bishop Luffa school and wooden ribs from a ship in Portsmouth Harbour to make the archway

Unfortunately the wooden supports of the archway eventually failed after many years and the sculpture fell down. The remaining elements of the sculpture are now stored in a council warehouse in Drayton. Both the Centurion Way Users Group and the Friends of  Centurion Way are jointly undertaking a feasibility study investigating the refurbishment of Richard Farrington’s Archway Sculpture.

Archway at the paths opening in 1995
Archway at the path opening in 1995

Mark Record got in contact with Richard who was eager to help assist with this project in 2018. Everyone loved this local landmark and wanted to see it put back in place. However the Friends of Centurion Way procrastinated and the project did not move forward until Carley Sitwell  took charge in Spring 2020.

FoCW 2020 Action Plan

Ian Bartle who is the president of the Friends of Centurion Way has contacts with the Weald and Downland Museum. The museum has a wonderful repair workshop and Carley  has been investigated if they can help restore the archway. She also contacted Richard Farrington who originally created the sculpture. There are some untidy issues that District Councillor Louise Goldsmith has been helping to clarify. It is not clear who currently owns the sculpture; Centurion Way is classified as a highway and therefore the archway needs to be insured, it is not obvious how to insure a sculpture or who should pay the premium.

The formation of the Friends of Centurion Way was catalysed by the threat of local housing development plans. These still threaten to cut the path off from the rest of the City and unfortunately the long term intentions of our local planing authorities and developers still remain a secret after nearly three years of campaigning. this makes it difficult to know where the Archway could be relocated so that it would be safe from development threats.

The Restoration Project

Julia Smith has been helping Carley put together a professional proposal document that they will jointly use to secure funding and assistance to turn the reinstallation of the sculpture into a reality.

A big section of the local community are excited by the prospect of standing under the archway for it’s reopening celebration and photograph sfor news and television.

Watch this space for updates on this exciting project.