Alice in Wonderland tree sculpture to be removed from Whinfield Rec
THE popular Alice in Wonderland tree sculpture at Whinfield Recreation Ground has to be removed due to decay.
A recent inspection of the tree sculpture revealed large cracks at the base of the trunk and a subsequent Resistograph test confirmed significant decay extended into the trunk's core.
As a result, the sculpture looks set to be removed from the recreation ground within weeks to protect the safety of the public.
However, the council has now started work on a project with Rugby Art Gallery and Museum to preserve the intricate carvings of characters from Lewis Carroll's children's classic with a view to presenting the sculpture in a new format at another location in the town.
The sculpture was commissioned by the council in 2007 to extend the life of a dead ash tree rather than remove it.
Created by wood sculptor Andrew Frost, the Alice in Wonderland theme was chosen to celebrate Lewis Carroll's connection with Rugby.
The author - real name Charles Lutwidge Dodgson - studied at Rugby School for three years from 1846.
Cllr Lisa Parker, Rugby Borough Council portfolio holder for the environment and public realm, said: "The Alice in Wonderland tree sculpture was an innovative way of extending the life of a dead tree, but it's life was always going to be limited.
"Nevertheless, it's with a heavy heart we have had to condemn the tree and arrange for it to be removed as we know it has become a much-loved attraction at Whinfield Recreation Ground.
"However, we have already started work with our team at Rugby Art Gallery and Museum to protect the carvings and hope to unveil the results of our preservation project in the near future."
Photo captions: The Alice in Wonderland tree sculpture when it was first unveiled and now. (Top photograph courtesy of Andrew Frost)