A Seat To Remember

[Above: The Rectory Lane Cemetery Welcome Point]

‘A Seat to Remember’ was a competition set by the ‘Friends of St. Peter’ to instigate a rejuvenation of Rectory Lane Cemetery, Berkhamsted – as part of the National Lottery’s ‘Park for People’ campaign. ‘The Rectory Lane Remembrance Stones’ comprise a composite scheme of benches, which Jane Duncan Architects submitted. A concept summary of the bench scheme lies below:

The Rectory Lane Remembrance Stones – A set of benches made from sympathetic materials which link seamlessly together to form an elegant, composite scheme. Responding to the cemetery’s Chiltern surroundings, we realised the importance of utilising sympathetic materials to re-energise a community interest towards the site as a ‘Contemporary Garden’; whilst maintaining respect for the site’s symbolic significance as a heritage asset. Each bench is designed with a potential visitor in mind, whether it be for: Reflective friends or relatives visiting loved ones graves, a group of school children that are learning about the local community, or indeed just for someone coming to read a book in a quiet & natural setting.

A gridded pathway is introduced throughout the cemetery to re-instate a more structured route through the site linking each bench within the scheme together. Paved corners give each straight pathway a terminus point without having to pave the entire route. By gradually petering out the brick paving into the grass lawn which covers the cemetery’s grounds, the bench installations blend into their surroundings. In addition they also indicate the direction to walk, to move to the next bench and therefore the route through the cemetery. A lighting scheme set into the ground, skirts the edge of the paving; producing a soft guide along the gridded route for the benefit of evening, night-time and winter visitors.

The composite scheme uses only four versatile component materials: Corten Steel, Concrete, Chiltern Bricks and English Oak. Alters in length and profile shape, the benches all result in a form tailored for their specific location within the site as well as for their intended users.

[Below: (from top to bottom) The Rectory Foundation Stone Bench, The Rectory Plinth (to display local sculptures/bench designs), Sexton’s Hut Bench and Information Point and The Log Bench (for the use of pet owners and their dogs when visiting the Pet Cemetery)]

Will Field
December 2016