Johnny Woodford bench gone.

August 15th, 2012

The Johnny Woodford bench that surrounded the old chestnut tree in the Dog Area has gone. Where? Why? Well the mystery has now been cleared up. Here Chris Lowe explains why.

“By 2009 only five of the eight remained and these were showing the signs of nearly twenty years of weathering and decay.


Many users of the park had become attached to these eccentric, witty, bold, characterful and comfortable creations and the Friends of Queens Park passed on their concerns about the eventual disappearance of all the benches from the park to the council.


City parks manager Sandra Chamberlain responded generously by commissioning replacements for four of the original benches by the same sculptor Johnny Woodford.


The old bench by the Wildflower Meadow


Sculptor Johhny Woodford fixing the replacement for the bench near the Wildflower Meadow


Three of the benches were placed where the old ones had stood.


However the bench in the Dog area which also carried a commemorative plaque was still safe and sound in spite of substantial soil erosion around the base of the tree. It was for both these reasons that the new bench was placed around an Elm tree a few yards down the slope and by the path.



The much loved old Chestnut tree bench in the Dog area, note erosion.

It is nevertheless an end of an era to see the old bench taken away. It had become unsafe with rusty metal protruding and it was decided the day had come to remove it.




It is the last to go having lasted twenty years since the day in August 1992 when it was dedicated by Mayor Councillor (later MP) David Lepper. The plaque also records that the bench was made from elm-wood from the park. At Johnny’s suggestion the new benches were made in Oak which is harder and more long lasting.”

The old 5 ball bench. The new one replicates the dipping curve and the different sized balls which accommodate it.


These were made at Johnny's workshop in Ansty during the winter of 2009 - 2010 and installed the following May.






The brass plaque on the old Chestnut tree bench commemorating the gift by FQP and dedication by then mayor, David Lepper.