Guardian helps solve Lancaster park dragon mystery

The 'Raku' mosaic sculpture at Williamson Park.
The 'Raku' mosaic sculpture at Williamson Park.

The Friends of Williamson Park have thanked the Lancaster Guardian for helping to solve the mystery of the park’s mosaic dragon.

After the Guardian publicised their hunt for information on the ‘Raku sculpture’, the Friends pieced together its history.

They heard from three former members of staff from the Royal Albert Hospital in Lancaster who were closely involved in the project.

Working with creative art groups, the staff and residents of the Royal Albert set out to design and make a sculpture which included all their favourite places around Lancaster.

The hospital was about to close and many of the residents were to be moved out of the area.

The group visited Glasson Dock, Morecambe and Williamson Park and drew pictures illustrating those places. The seashore theme is evident in the metal boat, blue colours and small tiles with boats and birds on them. The tall structure is a tree complete with leaves and a squirrel and the flower was created to allow a wheelchair user to be able to sit on it.

The project was completed in a hectic six weeks, and opened by the deputy mayor Derrick Stanley in 1991.

We appealed for help in finding out the origins of the sculpture back in June of this year. At the time we were contacted by June Baker, who told us a group called RAKU from Rawtenstall were commissioned to help create the sculpture.

June’s role was to aid and support the patients and artists. She said her manager at the time, Bill Hockey, was also a driving force behind the project.

The flower which was intended as a seat was drawn by Rene Hudson and the boat, which represents Glasson Dock, was designed by a man called Ivor.

The project group, which now includes the people who were involved, is now researching how best to repair and preserve the sculpture, and more importantly to tell the story of the Royal Albert residents and their role in the sculpture’s creation. They would also like to gather any photographs or stories about the sculpture from visitors to the park who have played or sat on it since 1991,

These would be used as part of the information or displays that will be produced.

If you can help please contact the Friends of Williamson Park by emailing info@parkfriends.co.uk or visit ‘Friends of Williamson Park’ on Facebook.