River of Life
NAME : River of Life DATE : 1996 LOCATION : Warrington CLIENT : Warrington Borough Council
The River of Life project was developed in the aftermath of the 1993 IRA bomb in Warrington, which killed two boys - Tim Parry and Jonathan Ball - and injured dozens of people in Warrington City Centre.
The desire was to bring hope, freshness and new life to Bridge Street and the community. A streetscape concept emerged, incorporating every aspect of the urban landscape and its elements including paving, seating units and lighting columns.
Central to the design is a tear shaped water feature. Water emerges from a broken glacial boulder, flows along a bronze channel, whose sides tell the story of creation, in low relief detail, and cascades onto a bronze dome, which bears the imprints of the hands of local school children. The dome is circled by a disk of etched copper that pictures the faces of several children, including Tim and Jonathan.
Inspiration for the River of Life came from the powerful description of waters and the leaves of the trees - for the healing of the nations - described in the biblical book of Revelation. Symbols of brokeness, healing, new life and the passage of time can be seen and discovered throughout this unique artwork.
A symbolic water source is re-created over the full length of the pedestrianised section of Bridge Street. Using natural stone and granite sets, the floor design detail accurately mirrors the meandering course of the River Mersey as it passes through the borough of Warrington. Set into this meandering path are 12 bronze discs, that are part of the Leaves of the Trees project and involved twelve primary schools from the Borough.
The River of Life project also involved the design and manufacture of oak and bronze seating, designs for bins and bollards and also a series of lampposts with an angelic theme.
The street and water feature were officially opened on 14th November 1996 by her Royal Highness the Duchess of Kent.