Argument over plans for artwork to commemorate wartime airfields at Fairlop Waters

Heritage group defends airfield commemoration designs

David Martin, of the Fairlop Heritage Group with the designs

Heritage group defends airfield commemoration designs

Heritage group defends airfield commemoration designs

First published in Redbridge
Last updated
East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Photograph of the Author by , Senior reporter

The man behind plans for commemorative artwork at a site used as a wartime airfield has hit back at critics of the proposed sculpture.

David Martin, 70, of the Fairlop Heritage Group secured support from Redbridge Vision for the two versions of the sculpture which are currently on show at Fairlop Waters in Barkingside.

The vertical steel structure will stand 15 feet high and represent the Spitfires, Avro 504Es and Sopwith Camel planes which flew out of airfields at Fairlop during the First and Second World Wars.

But the designs have proved unpopular with some local councillors, one of whom has described them as ‘rubbish’.

Mr Martin said: “You can argue about the look, but this is not Whitehall it is a country park and these pieces are very much in context with the environment.

“I’m disappointed that some of our councillors have expressed their doubts or bad feelings about them.

“I really had hoped they would support us because we believe they form a fitting tribute to the 1,700 men and women who served out of Fairlop.”

Conservative councillor Ashley Kissin who represents Barkingside has been the most vocal opponent of the artworks.

He said: “As a keen amateur military historian myself, I have to say that I think these designs are rubbish.

“They do nothing for me and I don’t think they will for anybody else either.

“If you had a proper replica of a Spitfire it would actually bring people into the area, but this? It looks like a bit of old bombcasing.

“They are an insult to Spitfires and should be consigned to the dustbin.”

Mr Martin said: “I don’t understand that.

“Yes, it would be nice to have a replica of a Spitfire and we looked into it, but to get one would cost £38,000 and there simply isn’t the money for it. These works will cost a few thousand.”

He was backed by Second World War veteran Harold Bennett, 91, who was the first pilot to fly a Spitfire out of Fairlop.

He said: “I like the designs and think others will too.

“I’m very happy that that they are doing something to commemorate those of us who served out of Fairlop.”

The designs are currently on display at Fairlop Waters and will be installed at the site as long as Redbridge Council grants planning permission.

Comments (11)

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4:06pm Mon 4 Feb 13

Cornbeefur says...

Looks like a brolly stand, could they not have had more imagination?
Looks like a brolly stand, could they not have had more imagination? Cornbeefur
  • Score: 0

5:28pm Mon 4 Feb 13

Weggis says...

Perhaps those who criticise could do so with more imagination?
Perhaps those who criticise could do so with more imagination? Weggis
  • Score: 0

5:30pm Mon 4 Feb 13

Cornbeefur says...

I would have thought a spitfire taking off mounted by a thin wire would have been far better than this?
I would have thought a spitfire taking off mounted by a thin wire would have been far better than this? Cornbeefur
  • Score: 0

5:57pm Mon 4 Feb 13

Weggis says...

So predictable... didn't you want some imagination?
So predictable... didn't you want some imagination? Weggis
  • Score: 0

6:51pm Mon 4 Feb 13

Trevor 2 says...

I'm not sure 'rubbish' is adequate! Surely a plinth with squadron emblems would be more appropriate!!
I'm not sure 'rubbish' is adequate! Surely a plinth with squadron emblems would be more appropriate!! Trevor 2
  • Score: 0

7:14pm Mon 4 Feb 13

Cornbeefur says...

Trevor 2 wrote:
I'm not sure 'rubbish' is adequate! Surely a plinth with squadron emblems would be more appropriate!!
Maybe Douglas Bader when he got back in one after being out of action for ages?
[quote][p][bold]Trevor 2[/bold] wrote: I'm not sure 'rubbish' is adequate! Surely a plinth with squadron emblems would be more appropriate!![/p][/quote]Maybe Douglas Bader when he got back in one after being out of action for ages? Cornbeefur
  • Score: 0

10:34pm Mon 4 Feb 13

Weggis says...

Don't like it? Simples.
Get off your fat internet arses, raise the funds yourself, hire the artists/designers yourself and then approve the design yourself. Then sit back and wait for other arses to lay into you.
Without David Martin there would be nothing and we would not be having this conversation.
Don't like it? Simples. Get off your fat internet arses, raise the funds yourself, hire the artists/designers yourself and then approve the design yourself. Then sit back and wait for other arses to lay into you. Without David Martin there would be nothing and we would not be having this conversation. Weggis
  • Score: 0

10:38am Tue 5 Feb 13

Cornbeefur says...

Weggis wrote:
Don't like it? Simples.
Get off your fat internet arses, raise the funds yourself, hire the artists/designers yourself and then approve the design yourself. Then sit back and wait for other arses to lay into you.
Without David Martin there would be nothing and we would not be having this conversation.
No need to be rude.

The Councillors were wrong to describe them as 'rubbish'

People are entitled to their opinion and the matter is rather subjective.

The do not look like a commemorative monument to aeroplanes at all in my view and more thought should have gone into the design and maybe other artists asked to tender with ideas.

A small Sputfire on a wire would have been much better.
[quote][p][bold]Weggis[/bold] wrote: Don't like it? Simples. Get off your fat internet arses, raise the funds yourself, hire the artists/designers yourself and then approve the design yourself. Then sit back and wait for other arses to lay into you. Without David Martin there would be nothing and we would not be having this conversation.[/p][/quote]No need to be rude. The Councillors were wrong to describe them as 'rubbish' People are entitled to their opinion and the matter is rather subjective. The do not look like a commemorative monument to aeroplanes at all in my view and more thought should have gone into the design and maybe other artists asked to tender with ideas. A small Sputfire on a wire would have been much better. Cornbeefur
  • Score: 0

2:35pm Tue 5 Feb 13

Cornbeefur says...

They both look dreadful like two brolly stands.

Why could they not just design a Spitfire taking off on a wire?

They should have got senior school children Art Classes to have a go?
They both look dreadful like two brolly stands. Why could they not just design a Spitfire taking off on a wire? They should have got senior school children Art Classes to have a go? Cornbeefur
  • Score: 0

3:11am Wed 6 Feb 13

NDevoto says...

Cornbeefur wrote:
They both look dreadful like two brolly stands.

Why could they not just design a Spitfire taking off on a wire?

They should have got senior school children Art Classes to have a go?
Repeating yourself doesn't make you any more coherent.
[quote][p][bold]Cornbeefur[/bold] wrote: They both look dreadful like two brolly stands. Why could they not just design a Spitfire taking off on a wire? They should have got senior school children Art Classes to have a go?[/p][/quote]Repeating yourself doesn't make you any more coherent. NDevoto
  • Score: 0

7:22pm Fri 8 Feb 13

Weggis says...

See my comment on the B21 blog
http://barkingside21
.blogspot.co.uk/2013
/02/new-memorial-at-
fairlop-waters.html?
showComment=13603503
90432
See my comment on the B21 blog http://barkingside21 .blogspot.co.uk/2013 /02/new-memorial-at- fairlop-waters.html? showComment=13603503 90432 Weggis
  • Score: 0

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