Roberts Park Bandstand, Saltaire

Roberts Park Bandstand, Saltaire

A bold new design that creates a centre piece for the park yet is sympathetic to its World Heritage Site.  The unusual ornamental theme came about through consultation with the local community whereby one activity involved asking school children to draw their thoughts on ‘what does music outdoors mean to you?’ and ‘what is a bandstand?’. The resulting concept was of musical instruments blowing out flowers and leaves in place of musical notes. This theme had the added benefit of a direct reference to Saltaire’s heritage, with flowers being a distinctive decorative element within the local buildings. This was developed into four capital designs, for the top of the columns, with a combination of: Horns & Saxifrage; Violins & Maple; Cymbals & (Blue) Bells; Harps & Shamrock.

The three dimensional forgework was an important part of the proposal aimed at appealing to and engaging the attention of people of all ages using the park. Therefore, although standard practice is to cast the capital decoration as part of the column it was instead a combination of forged and cast components for greater visual effect and volume. This approach is continued into the balustrade with the flowering posts, a version of the horn blowing a flower, where the flower is a replica of one carved into a nearby building.

BACKGROUND – This bandstand was part of a restoration programme to repair and restore the Grade II listed Park, originally opened in 1871, that was designated in conjunction with Saltaire a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2001. By the turn of the 21st Century the Park needed an extensive overhaul. The original bandstand, recorded only in archive photographs, was very modest and given the exceptional character of the Saltaire Village an attempt to reconstruct it was considered not necessarily appropriate. The colour palette was compiled from archival research.