Double Thread (for David Wilson Homes at Woodthorne, Tettenhall, Wolverhampton)

With Robert Colbourne

"In that part of Mercia where royal forests meet; where the waters choose to flow eastwards via the River Penk and RiverTrent to the North Sea or westwards via the Smestow Brook and River Severn to the Atlantic; where the Angles fight the Danes (+/- 10 miles); where withy hedges become Wergs; a quiet thing happens. A secluding.

"Where the surface deposits lie over Bromsgrove Sandstone giving agreeable agricultural land to generations of farmers of the fields that enclose the land.The Black Country expands,Wolverhampton grows,Tettenhall grows and further divides the enclosures.

"Those with the necessary funds relocate out of town to the 'bright green borderland' and line out their villas along the old turnpike road that so troubledTelford hereabouts: Saxonfeld, Mertonville, Fern Dale.

"Growing up in Wearmouth and Wolverhampton a young man dreams of marrying his sweetheart and becoming a politician. A Methodist upbringing , a good education, a rising career, ... dreams fulfilled. Henry Hartley Fowler marries EllenThorneycroft.The selfless and redoubtable Ellen pushes Henr y on in his career (solicitor, MP, viscount) and bears him three children (Ellen, Edith and Henry).The necessary funds are available, the 'bright green borderland' calls,Woodthorne is born; a family home, a modest home, a home set back from the other villas. A secluding.

"Ellen jnr. and Edith find expression in literature, inspired by their father's vision and encouragement from their pens spring fact and fiction rooted in the local: A Double Thread (1899), Cupid's Garden (1897), The Man with Transparent Legs (1899), How to Make an Angel (1901).Then marriage for the daughters their creativity continues, their attachment to Woodthorne continues. Even beyond marriage Woodthorne retains a strong pull. It's not only Henry snr. who loves every stick and stone of the place. Eventual moves to Bournemouth and Overstrand, Norfolk can't completely cut the ties.

"The Fowlers depart in their various ways and MAFF replaces HHF. Wartime experimentation replaces species planting and advice on increasing yields gives another form to Woodthorne: scientific and local, glass housing, blast walling.Times and requirements change MAFF now ADAS finds a new home on a road called Overstrand in Pendeford (somebody with an eye to detail there).Woodthorne is...".

All work was installed during August/September 2014. View the project gallery here. With thanks to Xtraweld, Stone; HeritageFinger Post Signs, Surrey; Fear & Sons, Alvechurch; Wolverhampton Tree Services; Engrave Bricks Ltd.; and Tuckeys Printers, Birmingham.