North Shields plasticene-style benches to go

A COUNCIL has bent to the will of public criticism and is to move plasticine-style seats from a town centre.

New moulded plasticine seats on Bedford Street North Shields with Dennis Gillen project manager at Marshalls Street Furniture
New moulded plasticine seats on Bedford Street North Shields with Dennis Gillen project manager at Marshalls Street Furniture

A COUNCIL has bent to the will of public criticism and is to move plasticine-style seats from a town centre.

The seats were installed two years ago in North Shields as a tribute to William Harbutt, the inventor of plasticine, who was born in the town in 1844. But the seats in Bedford Street proved unpopular and now they will be replaced by conventional metal seating.

The plasticine-style seats which will be relocated by their manufacturer at no cost to North Tyneside Council.

It follows a consultation last year, when local people and businesses said the current seats would be more appropriate elsewhere in North Tyneside. John Fleet, the council’s town centres manager, said: “We’ve listened to residents’ views regarding the existing seating in Bedford Street. We believe we have come up with a solution that meets the needs of all concerned.”

The current seating in Bedford Street consists of curved benches formed from cast coloured concrete. These seats will be relocated to TyneMet College, Wallsend, and possibly another site in North Tyneside.

Work begins in Bedford Street on November 14, and will take around two weeks.

North Shields-based Marshall Urban Structures, which constructed the seating, is removing and reinstalling them at no charge. A number of other plasticine-style seats, which were not installed as part of the original project, have been placed next to the TyneAnew sculpture at Royal Quays, North Shields, to create a new seating area.

William Harbutt grew up to be an art teacher and came up with the idea of plasticine after becoming frustrated by using the heavy modelling clay of the time.

He invented the material in the basement of his home and used a heavy garden roller to obtain the right consistency.

He set up a business to make and market his creation. William died aged 77 in 1921 while on a trip to New York.

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