Controversy over ‘fruit’ artwork demolition

Chairman of the Friends of Storey Gardens, Annie Watson.
Chairman of the Friends of Storey Gardens, Annie Watson.

Opinion is divided over the future of a piece of artwork in one of Lancaster’s most 
tranquil green spaces.

‘The Tasting Gardens’ outside the Storey Centre has been earmarked for removal after suffering vandalism and falling into disrepair.

But members of voluntary group the Friends of the Storey Gardens are split on whether to back plans to remove the dilapidated piece of art.

The Tasting Gardens, inside the Storey Gardens, was originally four paths forming branches of a tree, each leading to a bronze sculpture of a fruit on a plinth. But the metal fruits – an apple, cherry, plum and a pear – were stolen several years ago. About 90% of the artwork, including trees, most of the plinths and memorial stones, remains in place.

Annie Watson, chairman of the Friends, said: “The group is divided on this, and the decision will cause controversy either way.”

Lancaster City Council, owners of the Storey, estimates the cost of refurbishing the artwork at between £30,000 and £50,000, plus an extra £250 per year to maintain it.The council cabinet will meet on September 2 for talks on the issue. The Tasting Gardens, by artist Mark Dion, was commissioned in 1998 as part of ArtTransPennine 98, a collaboration between Tate Liverpool and the Henry Moore Trust to exhibit 40 artworks at sites from Liverpool to Hull. The artwork was open to the public from 1998 until the Storey shut temporarily in 2006.