Elephant tale inspires new park shelter

The sad story of a circus elephant rumoured to be buried in Wish Park is the inspiration behind an exciting new art structure.

‘Elephant Bones’, designed to represent an elephant’s rib cage, provides seating and shelter for visitors to the Wish Park playground. The design also incorporates short poems about elephants written by local children, which have been burned into the cladding.

According to a local legend, an elephant, part of a travelling circus, sadly died whilst performing in the park and was laid to rest in the grounds.

Park users and members of the local community, including the Friends of Wish Park, were involved in planning and designing the eye catching structure, taking part in workshops run by Richard Wolfströme from Threshold (part of the Love Architecture Festival.)

Designed by Brighton company Chalk Architecture with structural engineering by QED Structures, also based in the city. It was built by R J Dance & A Roberston, local contractors.

The construction, which will provide shade from the sun, includes ‘ribs’  made of ‘glulam’ (glued and laminated) wood a strong, light, durable material, used to build bridges, church domes, and other buildings. The cladding on the back and the bench are partly made from recycled pier decking, and the whole structure is wheelchair and pushchair accessible.

Cllr Gill Mitchell, Chair of Brighton & Hove City Council’s Environment committee said:

“This new sculpture will be a very popular addition to Wish Park, providing much needed seating and shelter.  It’s lovely to see how the whole community has got involved to help design the shelter and keep the Wish Park elephant legend alive!”

The project has been funded through ‘Section 106’ contributions from the development of the Nuffield Hospital in New Church Road.

The future of Wish Park, and the city’s other parks and open spaces, is currently under discussion as part of Brighton & Hove City Council’s Big Conversation.

To take part and have your say, visit: https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/parks-consultation

Paper copies of the consultation are also available and the deadline is October 28.