sywell echo

22 and 28 October

The Sywell Reservoir was constructed in the early twentieth century to provide water for the Rusden and Higham Ferrers communities in Northamptonshire. Its construction, which included drowning an old mill, was controversial as was its demise as a reservoir in 1979. Local communities vigorously campaigned to prevent it becoming a rubbish tip leading to Northamptonshire Country Council adopting it as the centrepiece of the Sywell County Park.

Beneath the reservoir the beds of the old streams still define the confluence of three parishes. Sywell Echo explores the history of the valley by redrawing its hidden geography with 160 LEDs floating above the reservoir’s surface. Each light, precisely the height above the water that the stream is below, will re create, within its watery reflection, the old waterways and boundaries below.

The installation will be on show between Saturday 22 and Friday 28 October 2011.

Charles Monkhouse

Charles Monkhouse is an artist working in rural and public spaces. He produces temporary installations, often on a vast scale, and permanent sculptures, working with other artists and professionals, in the landscape. Engagement of local stakeholders and communities is essential in his practice and helps inform, develop and realise his projects. Charles has an interest in the history of the rural environment, particularly how art has helped create and define the landscape we live in today.

Typical of his projects are: Night Stations, a series of light installations across land, often of a vast scale, that redraw and redefine past and future landscape; Sites of Meaning, working with parishioners of Middleton and Smerrill to mark the seventeen entrances to their parish; and Companion Stones, devised and led for Arts in the Peak, working with poets and artists to pair twelve Derbyshire guide stoops with matching stones bearing directions for the future.

Charles was a founder member and current chair of Arts in the Peak which campaigns for and promotes the arts in rural settings. He teaches part time at Chesterfield College and for Sheffield Hallam University.

13 Responses to “sywell echo”

  1. Will this be every day between 22nd and 28th october? Also what times?

    • certainly will on the reservoir at sywell country park! currently planning from dusk to say 8pm each evening, but ideally i’d like it on at dawn as well

      will have more details soon

      in the meantime look to the skies over rothwel / desborough – 180 goes live this Friday 23rd Sept

  2. Thanks a lot, certainly gonna get over with the camera, sounds fascinating. Oh and the 180 switch on is already in the diary as a must see ;-)

  3. Any more information on times yet for Sywell?

  4. Please can you tell us what time the gates to Sywell will be closed at night during the Lights Display. Can people stay well after dark?

    The normal carpark times are 7am to 7pm. Will these times be extended so people can get there later?


  5. Brilliant installation. Took the kids and they loved it. Really captured the imagination and great to see something like this in Northampton. More please!!!

  6. I loved the idea behind this and loved the way it followed the course of 3 streams about which I knew nothing. I regret that I didn’t get the chance to walk the whole perimeter of the reservoir as I suspect the full majesty of the installation would be better appreciated from different angles.

    I’ve since seen numerous photographs logged to various sites and think the stillness of the early morning shows it off best. Just wish I could have seen it in person.

  7. I had a leaflet through my door but wish it had explained more about what was happening as having looked at these stunning photos I wish I had seen it.


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