Most people come to Boscombe for the beach. And why not? It’s a beautiful beach. But there is more to Boscombe than just the seaside. If you can be tempted away from the golden sand, take the half a mile walk up the hill into town. This will bring you past the sculptures which make up the Boscombe Arts Trail.
Commissioned in 2010, this collection of seven works line Sea Road, starting just above the pier and ending at the pedestrian precinct. They are the work of Dorset based sculptor Andy Kirkby. According to the plaque at the start of the trail they were; “inspired by conversations with local residents and references to local history, the environment and the underwater tales of Jules Verne.”
In the park overlooking the pier you will find Murano. This Venetian inspired dome gives the impression of being filled with sea creatures. It sits on plate which provides orientation information.
As you continue your journey up Sea Road, on foot or maybe by bike, you will find Chemical Wedding. This strange marriage of a fish and a bicycle is on the junction with Undercliff Road.
A little further up the hill, just past St John’s Road is Optic. Here you will find a huge marble staring at you from behind the bars of a park bench, like an enormous glass eye.
Mary Shelley’s Feather
Cross Owls Road and on the the corner, you will find Mary Shelley’s Feather, which pays homage to the author of Frankenstein’s connection with the town. Mary had planned to move to Boscombe with her son, Percy but died before the house he had commissioned (Shelley Manor) was completed. She is buried at St Peter’s Church in Bournemouth.
This diving helmet atop an octopus, between Agyll Road and Horace Road, pays homage to another writer; Jules Verne. His novel, 20,000 Leagues under the Sea, has obviously left a lasting impression on the sculptor.
Just before you reach the pedestrian precinct, at the junction with Windsor Road you will find Vessel. Someone has taken the title quite literally, and is using it as a plant pot stand.
The seventh, and final work, Wings, was at the end of Sea Road at the junction with the pedestrian shopping precinct. It has been moved, but here is a photo by the artist which shows us what we’re missing.