About this blog

The London Road Gateway Project Bath aims to improve the public realm of the stretch of London Road, between Cleveland Place junction, and Morrisons Supermarket.

Bath based artist Jane Veveris Callan has been commissioned by Bath and North East Somerset Council to create decorative designs to go onto the tree planters, and grilles that will form part of the improvements.

Jane collaborated with Alan Summers and Karen Hoy of Call of the Page, formerly known as 'With Words', to work with the community, gathering local history and stories as words, with haiku and renga poems, which have informed her resulting designs.

This blog has been created to share some of the creative process.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Words on the A4 project to be included in TV documentary.

Yesterday saw the planters and tree grilles being included in a documentary being made for Japanese TV broadcaster NHK.

Film-maker Christopher Evans is producing a documentary about Haiku and Renga poet Alan Summers of 'Call of the Page' for an 'East meets West' piece about westerners influenced by Japanese culture.

Christopher interviewed poet Alan, artist Jane Veveris Callan and local councillor & deputy Mayor of Bath & North East Somerset, Lisa Brett about the project. 
Alan organising a Renga Poetry workshop at which local residents worked together to create a poem about living and working in this part of Bath, which informed Jane's designs.
Lisa who is also a local resident, worked tirelessly to help secure the funding for the Regeneration work and oversee the improvements, which included commissioning the planters and tree grilles.

Now the works are almost complete the greening up effect of the planters and trees in the central reservation can really be appreciated.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Tree Grilles

The tree grilles that fit around the bases of the trees in the central reservation have been fitted. The CorTen steel has rusted very quickly, being exposed to the weather on the horizontal plain.

The trees are small leaved Limes 'Tilia Cordata - Streetwise'. 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Trees in planters

The trees are now planted in the first few of the planters that are in situ. They are Amelanchier Lamarckii multistem also called the Snowy Mespil which refers to the white starry flowers that appear in late spring - mostly on bare wood. The fresh copper-red coloured  leaves emerge just as the flowers finish and the foliage turns to green in summer before reddening up again in autumn, when small black berries are produced. 
A wonderful choice, they will provide interest throughout the year as well as a habitat and food source for wildlife.

The tree grilles which will  go around the bases of the trees in the central reservation have also arrived and will soon be fitted.

With  the trees planted in the central reservation and in some of the planters, although it's still early days, it's already clear how much of a greening up effect the planting scheme will have.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Tree Planting

The tree planting has begun! 
Greening up the area is an important part of the regeneration scheme and the reason for the existence of the planters and grilles which have been decorated with the laser cut designs.

The small leafed Lime Trees are now being planted in the remodelled Central reservation. They are lovely mature specimens that have a beautiful and elegant conical shape.

The design on the trees grilles which will go around the bases has a simple message which speaks for  the residents and the trees!


Haiku and Renga

The words that inform the designs were gathered with the help of Alan Summers and Karen Hoy of 'With Words' . They specialise in Haiku and Renga poetry, which are short Japanese forms of verse and facilitated the Snow Hill and London Road community sharing their stories about the area as Haiku or Renga poetry.

Some of the designs directly contain a haiku poem from one of the informal roving workshops, others contain part of the Renga poem created at a drop in 'Renga Party' workshop.

This design is based on a complete haiku poem and reminds us that there is wildlife in the area despite the busy road and pays homage to the distinctive green copper roofs of  the Snow Hill flats, which are perhaps loved and loathed by people in equal measure!


Monday, May 4, 2015


This design was inspired by  a number of things.

An important part of the regeneration work is the provision of more trees, both in the planters and in the ground in the central reservation on the road. More greenery will  provide a natural display of the changing seasons in a built up area and help absorb traffic noise and air pollution, enhancing the local environment.

Snow Hill and the northern slopes of Bath have their own natural springs. In the 1860's the medical officer for Bath reported that everyone in the area was very healthy for such a highly populated area, due to the fresh water springs, which flowed down the hill to the communal pumps and fountains supplied by landlords.
The same springs also supplied clean water for the many breweries and Inns along the London Road from Georgian times and even further back in time for the vineyards on the warm south facing slopes.
Current residents have commented that for them, spring time is marked by the noisy frolicking of the many cats in the area!

These various aspects of spring are combined in this design, where spring has the double meaning.


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

CorTen steel planters

Some of the CorTen steel planters are already in place.

CorTen steel is a weather resistant  steel alloy with added chromium, copper and nickel, on which a dense, tight layer of rust appears. The air and water-tight patina is formed over a period of six months, which prevents the steel from rusting any further.

The patina has a warm, natural appearance which fades from orange to brown over time. Due to the recent rain, the rust has already started to form on the planters.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Arrival of the Planters

The tree planters arrived today!

The 10 planters which each have two different designs on opposing sides, were delivered to London Road this morning and installation has begun

There are 12 different designs across the decorated sides of the planters, which are laser cut into the steel. The planters are fabricated from CorTen steel which is specially designed for the top layer of metal to rust giving an attractive and warm coloured finish. Depending on the weather this will probably start to happen with 2 or 3 weeks and the cut out designs will become more noticeable as the colour deepens over time.

Very fittingly for Snow Hill, the trees going into the planters are 'Amelanchier' also known as the Snowy Mespil, due to their large white flowers which blossom in June. The Central island tree pits will be planted with 'Tilia Cordata' the small leafed Lime, which has a beautiful conical shape.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Childhood games

Another one of the designs is inspired by childhood games and growing up on the London Road. 

One elderly resident who lived on the road in the 1930's shared memories about their childhood. ~Mothers used to sit their children on their polished brass doorsteps and keep them amused by telling them to count the cars that passed by. Often there were only 6 a day then!~

Few families would have owned their own car in the 1930's, though some businesses would have had a van. There were trams running along the London Road from 1880 to 1939, horse drawn until 1904 and then electric. The tram depot was in Beehive Yard in nearby Walcot.

With Kensington Meadow so close and other green spaces away from the road, generations of children have had fun making daisy chains. These memories are combined in the daisy chain design.