'Unsafe' sculpture fenced off at district centre

·2-min read
The fenced off sculpture Photo: Roger Ogle
The fenced off sculpture Photo: Roger Ogle

A 36-year-old sculpture in West Swindon has been blocked off from the public after it was declared potentially unsafe.

The Nexus sculpture sits in the heart of Freshbrook Village Centre and has done so ever since it was created by Japanese sculptor Hideo Furuta in 1986 and donated to the area.

Work was carried out to replace some of the wooden supports the large stones sit on in 2012, but further years of being exposed to the elements have led to more of the wooden beams degrading and posing a risk to the public.

Read: Popular sculpture to get a makeover

As a result, Swindon Borough Council, which still owns and is responsible for its maintenance has fenced it off to keep people safe while it looks to get it repaired.

A Swindon Borough Council spokesman said: “We’ve put fencing around the sculpture because the wooden sleepers which support the stones have deteriorated creating a potential safety risk.

“We are in the process of organising repairs so the sculpture can continue to be enjoyed by the local community.”

West Swindon councillor Sean Wilson has praised the council for taking action to preserve the longevity of the Freshbrook fixture as well as highlighted a personal connection.

"The Nexus Sculpture is getting on for 40 years old. It is good to see Swindon Borough Council have fenced off the area and is in the process of commissioning repairs.

"My father, Ronnie Wilson, worked with original sculptor Hideo when West Swindon had a community sculpture programme based in Toothill," he said.

Roger Ogle also recalled watching Hideo create the sculpture

He said: "Nexus is a link to the recent and the historic past. I, and many others, watched him slowly chisel 12 tons of bluestone throughout 1986. He had selected four huge blocks at a quarry in West Wales, in the area where pillars at Stonehenge were sourced some 5,000 years ago.

Swindon Advertiser: An archive image of Hideo working on the Nexus sculpture
Swindon Advertiser: An archive image of Hideo working on the Nexus sculpture

An archive image of Hideo working on the Nexus sculpture

"The tools used were forged to Hideo’s design by Swindon Borough Council’s blacksmith George Ricks at the council depot."

Artist Hideo, who was born in Hiroshima in Japan, came to the UK in 1985.

He moved to Swindon with his family and spent six months on-site carving the stone into three interlocking segments which were mounted onto wooden railway sleepers.

Hideo left 26 large granite sculptures for public sites all over the country before he died in 2007.

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