More about Beecholme

Beecholme is also the first postwar "mixed development" housing scheme in Hackney, with a mixture of houses and flats with the taller block having five storeys and containing one-bedroom and bedsit accommodation. It is featured in Volume 15 of Hackney History and was the site of Beecholme House, the family home of Maj. John André (d. 1780), who was executed as a British spy in the American War of Independence.

Est. Environs/Sculpture

NOTE: in chronological order with


 ...for the Beecholme Estate
Phase II of the Visual Environment Project
(following Phase I - Grounds Planting)
Consultation • Design • Site selection • Workshops



There are many forms & styles the artworks could take, from water features and large landmark sculptures to functional structures such as benches, bike racks or sculptural signposts - from relief or free standing - to modern and representative or with an element of trompe líoeil to completely abstract.

The TRA and sculptor will engage with residents and the local community, gathering ideas to eventually offer workshops.
We have been liaising with Hackney Homes, with more discussion to come, however a number of areas around the estate have already been identified as possible sites for sculptures.

The areas being considered include the end wall of blocks for relief sculpture, the paved area overlooking the park between blocks 10-21 and 22-33 for a free standing sculpture and the large grassed square for two or three sculpted benches with associated minor landscaping and planting


See the article posted June last year with lots of background info & pics:
(Remember, things have moved on since then but the concept is the same)


If you want to be involved 
please do come to our next TRA meeting
or contact me directly, David White Sec. B&C TRA at



This is still largely dependant on successful grant applications, not least to the Arts Council which we hope will be funding most of the artworks.
However, we are able to make a start with the first replacement bench for the main square - see below. 


Sculpted seating
We are making a start with one of the sculpted benches straight away.
We recently removed the broken wooden bench and will be removing the remaining wooden benches as we get the funding for more sculpted seating installations to match the first.

The first sculpted curved bench already approved in concept by the TRA and funded from our EIB and we hope an external grant (just applied for & being processed right now) should be in place within a month or two.

The bench will take the general form of my sketch below
with a grass banked back but with an inset level area for flowers. It will possibly go in the corner of the large grass square, facing the rose bed and echoing its circular shape.

Drawing by David White

We have commissioned Gary Marsh, a well known local sculptor
to create this first sculpted bench with associated minor landscaping.

Gary showed us a first model of the bench at the last TRA meeting (the AGM) and will now be producing one or two more, refining the design to our wishes.
 (photo to come)

The bench itself could be sculpted out of quarried stone or moulded using a polymer resin that is virtually indistinguishable from the real thing.
The seat could have a hardwood or metal layer, once again real or resin.

The resins can be made to look like stone (from marble to granite) or metals (from bronze to steel) as I've just mentioned or they can have a variety of other finishes. Using resin and a mould is cheaper and produces a very robust final product so is commonly used for public sculpture, however the feel is not the same as the real thing. Real or resin is one of the many decisions we'll have to make before this curved bench becomes a reality and which is largely dependant on whether or not we get the external grant we applied for.


Tue 6th July

Gary is back from working on a sculpture commission in Canada so with luck we'll be looking at more visuals and perhaps another model within a week or two.
 As soon as we have a date for a meeting, I'll post it here.


Ideas for the planting on the grass slope.

We were thinking of including the hex concrete planters in the slope but we don't think it will work. Instead the planting will probably be more like the "plan" view:

Drawing by David White


JULY 20th

More about the sculpted seating further below


Other improvements
to our visual environment include

bin artwork

Gate painted black with new "Beecholme" logo
and "Residents Parking Only"

As it was originally, with "UNAUTHORIZED, Beecholme Estate residents only"

new signage throughout the estate

The ground floor lift lobby in the 5 storey "tall block"

as it was

First we had the wiring and pipes and conduit boxed in
and the walls painted...
...then the concrete carpetted with carpet tiles
(approved by Hackney Homes and the fire dept.)
As it is now:

Broxap bike shelter:

Thanks go to Hackney Homes for allowing and encouraging us, the residents, through the TRA, to take such an active and practical interest in the estate's communal and visual environment.
Their support in helping to make sure our projects meet all the H&S and procurement requirements has been consistent and unwavering, both from Residents Participation Officers and throughout the organization.
Thank you. 

You can see a presentation of all the above projects with more and different photos as a movie at:


Due primarily to the hard work of our cleaner Steve Lacie
but also contributed to by all the improvements
the Beecholme estate is
the first public housing estate in Hackney
to be
awarded a 5 star national rating

Judged a clean and pleasant environment
that everyone can feel at ease in:

Cleaner Steve Lacie with councillor Linda Kelly

More here


SUNDAY 17th Oct

introducing Tim Norris (RSBS)

Gary Marsh, who we had commissioned to create the bench is no longer able to complete the work.

Providentially, Tim Norris, the sculptor who provided the original inspiration and who was our first choice does now has the time to take on the commission.

Tim has recently completed a giant version of virtually the bench we had envisioned with grass covered sloping back:

You can see a video of the amphitheatre being constructed at

Tim's website is

This is the sculptured seating that inspired us in the first place

by Tim Norris.



19th Jan

New bench concept by Tim Norris (RSBS)
approved by the TRA today

It will be quite a substancial piece with steel straps at the back, hidden beneath a semi-circular sloping grass covered bank (at about 45 degrees).

It is the first (and largest) of 3 planned co-ordinated seating installations designed by Tim, the next two to go in as funding is found.


Feb 2011

Work has started on the installation
Positioning the bench, making sure it will fit comfortably with nearby tree and railings and still echo the circular flower bed a few yards in front.

I've coloured the white template actually laid down
to show the seating, backrest and banking.

See more of Tim's work including many other bench designs at

At Tim's workshop the bench's structural sections are being constructed
The wood is a spruce.


FRI 25 March 2011


Monday March 28 to April 1

Below: slideshow
Installation at Beecholme
from marking out to several views of the finished bench



We are hoping to have 2 further curved sculpted seating installations
 of different design, installed later this year.


Sept/Oct 2011

Tim Norris recently visited the estate again to check on the bench, which is fine, and to talk about future work.
I still haven't submitted a grant app to the Arts Council or the Henry Moore Foundation but I have started them.


November 2011

...grant application submitted.

We are applying to the Henry Moore foundation for a grant to erect a large pure sculpture for the end of Prout Rd, overlooking the park, perhaps something 1950's to match the estate, perhaps not:

We are also applying
for two more curved seating sculptures to coordinate with the first (to replace the old and worn benches) and hope to add something to the smaller the adjacent square.
We will know if our request has been successful or not in due course, anytime after mid November 2011.



JAN 2012 

The grant application to the Henry Moore Foundation, to commission Tim Norris to create two more sculpted benches (to coordinate with the first) and a large free standing sculpture, overlooking the park has been acknowledged today, Mon 9th Jan 2012.

We will get find out if we've been successful in due course.

If we are successful, you will be consulted and have the opportunity to be involved at all stages - from design and planning to construction.
If there is enough demand, Tim will hold sculpting classes on the estate as well.

David White (Sec B&C TRA)


As I note just under the blog header:

Beecholme Estate's architect was Sir Frederick Gibberd 1908-1984
(working with Borough engineer G L Downing), one of Britain’s most respected architects.

His work has been an influence on generations of post-war designers.

Gibberd was particularly interested in design as enclosure of space rather than arrangement
of mass, as evident at Beecholme, combining architecture, town planning and landscape.

Gibberd described mixed development as:
"planning the complete area as a whole series of pictures with variety in each, and unity within the whole."

We wish to remain true his vision for Beecholme and return it to a unified whole.
One that enhances peoples lives every day.


I doubt if the two new curved bench part of the sculpted seating installation will end looking like any of these (below) which are my initial sketches, none of which particularly look promising.

Thankfully I'm just dabbling and the design will actually be done by Tim with input from you, the residents, with designs refined and approved at advertised meetings in the hall.

Tim will be coming back to us with initial concepts for the sculptural seating and main sculpture in due course.

Tim will offer sculpture workshops.
If you're interested, let me know.

You'll hear more about the workshops later on with leaflets through your letterbox, on the notice boards and of course, here.

Email Sec. B&C TRA:


MARCH 2012

Unfortunately we were unsuccessful with our application to the Henry Moore Foundation. However, we may still get the two new benches to replace the old ones and match the new one through the EIB.
To save money it will mean that I will propose and draw the design of the benches, which will then be go through the usual consultation process via the TRA. Once everyone is happy with the design, Hackney Homes will employ a carpenter to construct them.
At least, that's the plan.

We don't have much time to make a start if we want to access funds from this 2011/12 financial year, so if it does go ahead as planned, residents can expect a leaflet within a week or two.  

• • • 

Monday 2nd April 2012

Great news - the two new benches will be going ahead now after all. That is, as soon as the designs are finalised, a carpenter will construct them, matching the wood species, grain and colour. I'm guessing here, but I imagine they'll be in place within a month or two.

I'll post the designs here for comment in the next few days.

Email me at:

• • •

JUNE 2012

Here are the first outline drawings, not to scale but hopefully enough to give the carpenter how much solid timber is needed:

ABOVE: Top drawing - to go in the top corner of the square, adjacent to the curved bench, above to go diagonally opposite the current curved bench:

I'll upload scale drawings when they're done and let you know when work starts on the benches. If you have any comments or suggestions, please email me at:

David White (Secretary B&C TRA)

JULY 2012

For the latest photos of the flower beds see the "Grounds 2" page

For the allotment see:

Jan 2013

The two new benches

Well, after trying for nearly 2 years to get the remaining two old benches replaced with sculpted benches that match the new one, it looks like we're nearly there!

After various false starts we will soon be signing the contract to commission sculptor Tim Norris to construct and instal the 2 new benches this financial year.

Tim has just got back from New York and is keen to get them done while he has the time.

This is what they'll look like:

They will be positioned in adjacent and diagonally opposite corners of the square:

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