City artist designs Steep Hill bench

Lincoln artist, designer and jeweller Richard Bett masterminded a piece of street furniture, now placed in an iconic spot in the city.

Put together with the Hall Farm team at Harpswell and blacksmith Dave Payne, the bench now resides near the ‘leaning lamp-post’ on Steep Hill.

Bett said he submitted the idea for a design competition 13 years ago: “I remember my doctor asking me what I was working on and giving me £20 towards it.”

“I won the competition but it wasn’t possible to go ahead with the sculpture at that time. However, it wasn’t forgotten about.”

Bett (pictured on the new bench) discussed the idea with Lincoln BIG, and then went on to build the bench for the next four months.

“The design is based on the arm of an 18th century chair which is housed in the city’s Guildhall,” he said.

“The new, five-section seat, complete with specially designed railing, is made in steel, cast steel and hardwood and styled to suit adults and children.”

The name of the bench is The Mayor’s Chair, after a ledge installed by an 18th century Mayor of Lincoln, on which porters used it to rest their loads.

Bett said it was challenging to produce a piece of horizontal and vertical lines to go into what is essentially a “curved” site.

Stonework on site was carried out by Lipton & Co of Newark, and the whole project cost around £20,000 in total.

Matt Corrigan, Chief Exec of Lincoln BIG, said the group was looking to run a project in the area for some time, as the old bench needed replacing.

“We are never going to take away the hill, but we can make using it a more interesting and pleasant experience,” he said.

“We wanted to create something that was functional, but which reflected Lincoln’s heritage, our cultural and tourism offering and our wealth of artisan talent.

“The challenge was putting the funding together for a ‘bespoke’ design which would suit the area, and what is so fantastic about this bench is that it has been sponsored by a range of businesses, as well as individuals.

The new bench will be officially inaugurated by the current and several past Mayors of Lincoln on December 9 at 6pm.

Source: Lincoln BIG