The Bomber County Gateway Trust has been formed with the object of designing, procuring, constructing and installing an iconic landmark art installation on the county border of Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire.
The area on the A46 immediately North of Brough and close to Collingham represents the natural Gateway to Lincolnshire from the A1 and other major road networks. Many major approach-roads to other counties and cities in the UK feature landmark sights such as the Angel of the North in Tyne & Wear, the Horses in Falkirk, Sheffield’s proposed Man of Steel, the Kent Horse and the Wrexham Dragon.
Lincolnshire is inextricably linked to aviation and in particular its home to the RAF in the Second World War. Significant among the contributions made by the county are the achievements of Bomber Command despite this section of the Royal Air Force being unfairly snubbed and maligned for a number of decades.
In 2012, Bomber Command’s extraordinary contribution and sacrifice was finally recognised by the erection of a £6m memorial in Green Park, London and the new Bomber Command centre, currently being constructed at Canwick Hill near Lincoln also represents further welcome recognition.
The Bomber County Gateway Trust wants to provide a link to this heritage right on the county border. The proposed structure is an art installation / monument being a full-sized representation of an Avro Lancaster Mk1 Bomber constructed from a steel frame, mounted on a slim steel support structure to give the impression that it is in flight on the horizon.
Land has been secured in a prominent position so that the sculpture will be seen by more than 30,000 drivers every day on the A46.
The plot and surrounding land is arable farmland. The footprint of the structure is intended to occupy no more than 50m2 of the existing field which extends to approximately 75Ha so the monument will not affect the current agricultural use.
The proposed site is at the top of the bank to the East of the A46, on a level section of ground around 500m from the road. This is accessed from Newark Road, close to Brills Farm.
The only close service in the location is a gas transit pipe that runs across the field but the position of the structure is intended to be at least 50m away from this.
Access to the site is by private fields ultimately accessed from Newark Road near Norton Disney, adjacent to Brills Farm. No public access is intended to the actual site of the installation.
The proposed installation is intended to represent an Avro Lancaster bomber, in flight, heading “home” to RAF Swinderby, just 3km away. The site is particularly fitting, not only because of its perfect vantage point, but also because the actual Lancaster that the memorial is based on crashed in woodland very close by in Thurlby Top Wood, marked on the attached plan .
Lancaster R5689 (VN-N) crash landed on 18th September 1942 as it limped home from a mission and five members of its crew perished in the crash. That aircraft also appears to have been the most photographed Lancaster of the war because it was used in literature intended to train pilots to identify Lancasters, so it’s only fitting that it should be represented and serve as a permanent reminder of Lincolnshire’s link to war-time aviation.
The following image is that plane, photographed during the War on the airfield at Swinderby.
Lancasters were very large planes – over 26m long and with a 31m wingspan. This would make the installation similar in size to the Angel of the North which stands 20m tall.
The proposed structure is a mild-steel light structural frame partially clad in mild steel sheet in a similar fashion to the example of a Spitfire below. Once the structure takes on surface rust, the colours will be similar to the markings on an actual Lancaster.
The support structure would be a number of structural steel lattice stands to support the Lancaster approximately 15m above the ground level. This would ensure that the plane appears to be flying above the horizon against the sky when viewed from road level.
No lighting, power or other services are intended to be installed at the site. The applicants are aware of the delicate eco-system which exists in the vicinity of Villa Farm and Hill Holt Wood, where many species of bat exist and it is recognised that the area enjoys a particularly dark and quiet environment at night, which would be preserved.
The following image is a representation of how the installation would be seen from the direction of the A46.
The image above shows the proposed exposed steel supports. These would be painted black so as to hide them from view as much as possible. If deemed necessary, these would incorporate proprietary anti-climb collars to discourage unauthorised access to the sculpture.
Should it be further necessary to conceal the support structure, it could be clad in steel panels to further discourage unauthorised climbing. In any event the structure would be on private land and at least 200m from any road or right of way.
View from above at Position 3
The proposed site is at Position 3 shown on the above aerial view. This ensures that the structure can be seen from the maximum length of the A46 road but is not so close to the carriageway as to cause any distraction. It would be approximately 440m from the A46. By way of comparison, the Angel of the North in Tyne & Wear is approximately 80m from the A1 and the A167.
View from lay-by on A46 showing high sided trailer in Position