At the Howard Park
John’s Crosby’s influence for this piece came from the poem ‘The Lady’s Walk’ by Aston Carle which is set in Howard Park.
Gargieston Primary School was selected to participate in the project, as the nearest primary school, and therefore the most likely to use the park on an ongoing basis. One of the key aims of the project was to instil a sense of ownership and pride in the park and encourage respect for the area and other park users. Sixty pupils took part in the project over two terms.
The story of the Lady’s Walk is based in Howard Park, as this area was formerly part of the grounds of Kilmarnock House, the home of the Boyd family after Dean Castle was destroyed by fire in 1735.
The "Lady's Walk" in Howard Park commemorates the grief-stricken walks taken by Lady Anne, young widow of William Boyd, the 4th and last Earl of Kilmarnock, who was sentenced to be hung, drawn and quartered. Lady Anne died on 16th September 1747, a year after her husband’s execution, reportedly of a broken heart and legend has it that ‘The Lady’s Walk’ is where Lady Kilmarnock’s ghost walks every night.
Using the history of the time along with the words of the poem, the pupils created images which were then laser cut in steel to form the tops of the circular tree benches.
The second phase of the project saw John and Anne accompanied by composer Alison Burns working with the pupils for an intensive week working on music and sound composition, drama and dance movement and prop and costume design and making. The pupils then performed their very own dance promenade, during the formal unveiling of the benches in October 2010.