War Centenary Memorial benches

Posted: 19th August 2018

Fresh Creative Co. worked with the National Lottery Heritage funding and local councillors to paint seven park benches to mark the centenary of the First World War.

 The benches – which are located by the Cenotaph on Mumbles Road, in Cwmdonkin Park and in Brynmill Park – are part of a larger art project in the Uplands area of the city, The Dylan Thomas Uplands Walkabout Trail.


We began this project by doing some research into the subject before settling on some ideas for the different benches. The designs we chose were close ups of Poppies for two of the benches, another three benches featuring an image of the unknown soldier, and a further two benches that would be traditionally sign written with excerpts from the poetry of local Uplands poet, David ‘Ollie’ Ward. The quotes read “May sorrow of remembrance pose the question, and peace be the answer” and “He is no man of myth, his story is well known, born and raised in Uplands, Cwmdonkin is his Throne”, a nod to Swansea poet Dylan Thomas.

Once the benches were in our workshop we applied an undercoat and two layers of primer before giving them a final sand so they were ready for the design to be marked up.

The designs were then marked up using Stabilo china pencils which can be easily removed. We painted all of these benches using One Shot and Craftmaster sign painting and coach enamels and Mack sign painting brushes. These paints are a high quality enamel and perfect for this sort of work

The individual slats were quite a challenge to paint and for the design to work we had to space the bench slates out with consideration of the gaps. Once they were completed they were all coated with a clear yacht varnish to protect them from the elements. Lastly we numbered the ends of each slat to aid in putting the benches back together in the correct order once they were back in place.

Uplands councillors Peter May and Irene Mann said the benches are part of an ongoing art project in the Uplands which started with the Dylan Thomas boxes last year, a trail celebrating the life of the poet. Their aim is to celebrate the heritage of Swansea while bringing together local artists and artisans. The benches, which have been funded with Heritage Lottery funding, also aim to celebrate the anniversary of the RAF.


Once finished, the benches returned to their former homes by the Cenotaph, in Cwmdonkin Park and in Brynmill Park where they were reassembled for people to enjoy.


“He is no man of myth, his story is well known, born and raised in Uplands, Cwmdonkin is his throne” Unknown Soldier.”May sorrow of remembrance pose the question and peace be the answer”

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