Boston Buoys are looking great

Giant buoys have been transformed into unusual artworks for a new trail celebrating a historic Lincolnshire port’s maritime heritage.

Launched this month, the new Boston Buoys Trail features stunning art installations on vintage navigational marine buoys, all designed to showcase the town’s rich heritage and seafaring connections.

Once second only to London as England’s richest and most important port, Boston’s location on the edge of the North Sea and its river connection with the city of Lincoln brought wealth, fame, and influence in its heyday.

While still a place deeply connected to the sea, and inland waterways, today it is better known as a diverse and thriving market town – as well as a town that helped inspire America’s founding fathers, and one of its most famous cities.

Its seafaring pride stems from the early medieval period when wool was England’s main export, and the town was sending three million fleeces a year abroad. As the value of wool declined, the town changed, but by the 1700s, the agricultural revolution provided another economic boost when Boston supplied one third of London’s grain directly from granaries situated along the riverside.

Both markets brought big profits, and some of that wealth can be seen in the town’s architecture, from medieval gems – such as St Botolph’s Church, known as ‘The Stump’, and St Mary’s Guildhall – to its many fine Georgian buildings.

Boston is also closely connected to the USA with Scotia Creek, on the edge of the town, the site of the failed first attempt by the Mayflower Pilgrims to escape England. The town also later saw many of its congregation from the ‘Stump’ flee persecution to the New World, where they founded Boston, Massachusetts.

Now the new sculpture trail will celebrate its history and heritage, thanks to artists who have given a new lease of life to six redundant shipping buoys. The four-metre-high steel buoys, which once aided navigation in the North Sea, come in all shapes and styles, creating unusual canvases.

Three artists – Jo Chapman, Carrie Reichardt and Bex Simon – have worked on two buoys each, designing the sculptures with cradles of steel seaweed, mosaic mermaids, and forged metal flowers, respectively.

The decorated buoys are dotted around the town centre, including one, ‘By Sea’ which overlooks the Boston Stump, and another, ‘By Land’, in Central Park, is surrounded by a new spiral garden.  An extra buoy will also be displayed at the nearby Frampton Marsh RSPB reserve, near Boston, fittingly adorned with birdlife.

The new trail complements Lincolnshire’s existing ‘Structures on the Edge’ project, a series of coastal art installations, including the ‘Reflector’ sculpture at Frampton Marsh.  Among the other artworks are the ‘Cloud Bar’, the UK’s first cloud observation platform, and the ‘Round and Round House’ bird-watching hide, both at Anderby Creek further along the coast.

For more on the Boston Buoys trail, see https://bit.ly/2T5A4bR

For details about visiting Lincolnshire, see www.visitlincolnshire.com