Artist gets to work on designing Kelso cross

KELSO Square could soon have its own modern market cross, writes Sally Gillespie.

Morebattle artist Paul Grime is coming up with ideas for the £40,000 Sainsbury’s gave to the town when the supermarket got the go-ahead for its store on the outskirts.

He said: “Kelso being the special place it is needs something very well considered. The market cross is a good symbol for trade and commerce. Many Scottish towns have a market cross, Kelso doesn’t.”

The artwork will tie in with the Kelso town heritage initiative improvements (THI) which include the one-way system and changes, and possible vehicle-free areas in the Square.

Earlier this week, the artist, who specialises in site specific art, was sifting through the 100 responses from a survey put out through Kelso library.

“It was trying to take a more creative approach to engaging with the community rather than just asking people what they would like. There’s been a broad spectrum of responses.” People’s favourite buildings included the town’s abbey and the town house he said, adding that the horse is the animal people most associate with Kelso, and also salmon.

Other consultations have included meetings with the community council, THI stakeholder group, chamber of trade and local schools over the last three months. And the 56-year-old artist has considered the history, landscape, cultural and religious developments in the area in drawing up his design ideas.

Mr Grime said: “It has been very useful to receive so much feedback from Kelso residents. My main ideas have focused on a contemporary market cross which seems a very appropriate object to bring to Kelso town square, the centre of commerce and provision of services for the people of the town and surrounding countryside.

“It is a structure with rich historical associations, and great potential for contemporary interpretation. I am developing ideas for the other elements of the design and how I can work these into a final proposal.”

He expects to suggest a symbolic form on top of the cross which he currently estimates could be four metres high (13 feet) depending on its position in the Square but he has not decided on what materials to propose yet.

Mr Grime and SBC officials will attend a Kelso Roads User Group meeting next month to propose the next stage of the design.