Sculpture at Surrey Heath House

Into Our First World By Ken Ford

The sculpture on the lawn outside Surrey Heath House (the Civic Offices of Surrey Heath Borough Council) is entitled "Into Our First World" and was created by the Leicestershire sculptor Ken Ford.

It was produced in response to a competition to find a suitable centrepiece for the circular enclosure. The initiative was spearheaded by Cllr Jeanne Read, Mayor of Surrey Heath 1992-3, and sponsored by the BOC group, always an active supporter of the visual arts.
Further advice was given the Chairman of Surrey Heath Arts Council, artist James Winterbottom and a panel of experts. The local public were offered the opportunity to comment.

The title is taken from Burnt Norton, the first poem of TS Eliot's Four Quartets.

At the time of the sculpture's unveiling in Spring 1993, the artist explained that his initial thoughts had been to use elements of the varied local landscape around Camberley, but that this had proved too ambitious in the time-scale. His second approach derived from an article in the Borough's "Heathscene", magazine outlining various activities for young people which were connected with the environment and wildlife. From this, he found his thoughts were turned from the landscape to what he termed "inscape": - our relationship with the natural world, a sense of place and the way in which the past illuminates the future. These concepts seemed appropriate for the context outside Surrey Heath House. He also felt that the sculpture also needed to relate to the ancient sweet chestnut tree behind it while remaining independent of it. The two horizontal lines connected by a diagonal are a visual reference to this.

The sculpture is cast in high-grade silicon bronze with a 4% silica content which helps it to resist impact and corrosion. It is seven feet long and eight feet high including the base.

The local public were also offered the opportunity to comment before the selection was made. The selection panel comprised Jeanne Read, Mayor of the Borough of Surrey Heath; James Winterbottom, Chairman of Surrey Heath Arts Council; Nigel Rowe, Chief Executive, Corporate Relations, the BOC group; Caroline Collier, Head of Visual Arts, South East Arts; Isabel Vasseur, an independent advisor, and John Silvester, Chief Planning Officer, Surrey Heath Borough Council.