Yorkshire Sculpture Park: David Barry Edwards 1952-2014

This handsome bench remembers David Barry Edwards, (or Dave Edwards) who was the Head Gardener at Yorkshire Sculpture Park when he died.  His obituary on the Yorkshire Sculpture Park website tells a story of a man who gave his life to gardening.  He started work on the Bretton Estate in 1971 and worked his way up to be Head Gardener for the Yorkshire Sculpture Park and it is fitting that he has a memorial bench with an attractive view and set in the gardens he worked on for over 40 years.

As Head Gardener Dave Edwards would have been a familiar sight to the staff at the park and his early death while still working there would have deeply affected many of the staff members.  The Guardian article about an Ai Weiwei exhibition in the newly restored chapel in the park a few weeks after Dave Edward’s sudden death  tells how much he was mourned.

According to Saskia Warren’s 2011 theses at the University of Sheffield, Dave Edwards not only worked on the land but also lived in a house on the Bretton Estate for many years.  She quotes him describing the family’s small farm ‘… with chickens, goats, we even had a bull.’  Saskia Warren explores a different place to the slick visitor’s attraction that the Yorkshire Sculpture Park is today, describing a time when the line between work, home, family and social life were less distinct for some of the people who worked there.

 

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The Yorkshire Sculpture Park is well worth a visit and, although it has some indoor exhibits, a trip there is worth saving for a fine day so that you can enjoy the walks through the park and feel as if you are the first person to discover some of the sculptures as you wind through woodland and parkland paths.  When we visit we always walk around the lake to see the geese, as well as the sculptures, and after our exercise we like to make time to enjoy tea and cake in the light and airy café.

The Yorkshire Sculpture Park grew out of Bretton Hall College which provided courses in the arts and education until 2007.  In 1977 the college exhibited sculptures in the grounds of the hall and opened this to the public and so the Yorkshire Sculpture Park was born.  David Barry Edwards worked on the site through these changes.

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