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Contest opens to design benches for Berkhamsted cemetery

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The Friends of St Peter’s (FoSP) has launched an open competition for a series of cemetery benches in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire

The anonymous contest seeks proposals for new ‘beautiful and well considered’ seating in various locations within the town’s 1.3ha Rectory Lane Cemetery.

Participants may submit designs for up to eight individual benches or a composite scheme for all new seating structures throughout the space.

‘The competition organisers will be pleased to consider a variety of design styles,’ says the brief, ‘and will also give special attention to the sensitivity and rigour of the design process.

‘Winning entries will need to be realistically affordable, built to last, and designed in such a way as to ensure the practicality of their construction and the longevity of the installation.’

Berkhamsted is a market town 42km north-west of London. It was first settled during the Neolithic era and later became a royal residence and home to Thomas Becket and Geoffrey Chaucer.

Rectory Lane Cemetery, around half a km from the ruins of Berkhamsted Castle, is the burial ground for nearby Grade II*-listed St Peter’s Church on Birkhamsted High Street, originally built around 800 years ago.

The cemetery, which opened in 1842, is no longer open to burials, and is being transformed into a ‘vibrant and diverse contemporary garden of commemoration’ as part of a Parks for People restoration project.

It currently features an ‘un-coordinated’ variety of wooden-slatted benches and metal benches along with three ‘left-overs’ from a railway station seating renewal programme. In the centre lies the 1934 stone and timber Seat of Remembrance, commissioned in memory of Brigadier General Richard Mildmay Foot.

Proposed new seating for the cemetery may use locally available materials such as brick, flint and timber, but new technologies and material approaches also encouraged.

Schemes should be safe, comfortable and respectful of the surrounding context and landscape. They should also be resistant to environmental damage from waterpooling, freeze thaw, and roots and tree penetration.

The winners, set to be announced in January, will either receive prizes of £1,000, £500 and £250 for the best individual seat designs or £2,000 if a best composite scheme is chosen.

The deadline for applications is midnight on 18 November.

How to apply

Visit the competition website for more information

Contact details

Elaine Mercer
Friends of St Peters
High Street

Tel: 07866118749
Email: elainelmercer@yahoo.co.uk


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