Friday 18 July 2014

What's in a bench?

Three benches have been placed on the platform at Blaenau in memory of Roy Woods, who wrote the guide books for the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways. I thought the benches looked great but after Howard Bowcott, the artist who also did the town centre, explained the symbolism, I now think they are even better.

Slate is the most relevant material but a bit too cold to sit on in north Wales, so wood has been used with slates in between. Eight lengths in the first, four in the second and two in the third. This echoes the saying engraved on one of the giant chisels …  TEW WYTH, TEW PEDAIR, TEW DWY (FAT EIGHT, FAT FOUR, FAT TWO) – terms for various stages of the final splitting of slate to the thickness of eight slates, then four then two.

The same benches can also be seen around the River of Slate and in the centre of the car park set on slate rails to represent slate wagons. As for comfort Howard explained they were set at the optimum height of 43cm – perfect for but would the same be true for taller people?

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