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Jo Chapman


Ironworks, Mill Road Depot, Cambridge

Current project due for completion summer 2020

Short film of the meet the artists day and community event.


To create an artwork that acknowledges the thicket of time, a palimpsest, an embodiment in a simple, sculptural form of multiple presents. If time could be interpreted is a succession of now's, presents or moments, then the sculpture and the community are a now and add to the new ‘history’ of the site. To know our past is the key to understanding the present and the future. Responding to the history of the site as a place of work: the workhouse allotments and piggery, Headly's Eagle foundry, storeyard and council depot.

The sculpture will be cast in bronze with coloured 'high vis' lines that are taken from the mapping of the footprints of buildings that have existed on the site at different times, the form inspired by these geometric forms and objects made by Headlys such as the drainpipes that shaped themselves around a building. The artwork is intended to be a contemporary sculptural interpretation of this foundry language of metal, casting, industrial, technology, functional and robust.

Objects from Headlys foundry were often cast with the makers name, the sculpture will use cast poems to add a human dimension, the poems will be developed in collaboration with a local writer and community group. The use of 3d printing for direct casting makes a contemporary parallel with the use of cutting edge technology and the approach of Headly’s at the time to embrace innovation. The sculpture is intended to be sat on and interacted with by the community, the poems will be placed on the sculpture to draw the viewers eye along the contours of the artwork.

The artwork is being commissioned to enrich the new development and enhance the public space provided through the scheme. The focus for the artwork is to be the shared communal spaces and clear, legible routes through the development.

The Mill Road Depot Site being developed by Cambridge Investment Partnership (CIP) will provide 182 dwellings (including 50% affordable housing), 51sqm of floor-space consisting of Use Class B1 (Business) or D1 (Non-Residential Institutions) - in the alternative, basement car park (101 spaces), surface water pumping station, open space (including play area), alterations to the junction with Mill Road, together with associated external works including cycle parking and landscaping.