Permanent Memorial to mark Plot Z1, commonly known as Baby Public

Closes 30 Jun 2017

Opened 5 Jun 2017

Overview

Plot Z1 in City Cemetery is the resting place of almost 8,000 people, the vast majority of them babies. There are multiple burials in each grave, mainly from the period 1945–96.

While records show that the plot was also used for adult burials, it was primarily used for the burial of babies who were stillborn, died after birth in hospital, at home and for infants who only survived for a short time.

The protocol for hospitals or health trusts to take responsibility for the burials meant that families would not have been present, or even aware of the time or place of burial – the opportunity of reaching closure of any kind was therefore prevented.

Council has agreed to provide up to £50,000 funding to commission and install a permanent memorial on the site of these burials. 

Consultation to date

We undertook an initial public consultation between December 2015 and March 2016.  This initial consultation was facilitated by Community Arts Partnership and more than 300 people took part at this stage.

The following findings came out of this phase of the consultation:

  • There is a need for acknowledgement
  • There should be a permanent memorial
  • There was a desire for baby names to be seen
  • There was a desire to make it happen soon

Strong themes in relation to the memorial itself included:

  • Granite
  • A piece that is discrete, pragmatic, tasteful, attractive and of moderate scale
  • A design that is contemporary but classical

You can download a document with further findings from this initial consultation at the bottom of this page.

Artist appointment

A procurement exercise took place to appoint an artist for this project.  The findings from the initial consultation were used to guide those who chose to tender for the work and again, when scoring the submitted proposals.

Chris Wilson was appointed as the chosen artist on May 2017.  Below is his winning design concept:

Design concept explained

Tree

The tree will be cast in bronze and finished with polished edges.  It would be approximately 40-50 cm in height.

Bonsai trees are cultivated primarily for contemplation, to create miniature landscapes. The proposal responds to the sensitivity of the location by using the form of a bonsai tree to represent ‘miniature perfection’.

There would be no sharp edges and the smooth surfaces of the sculpture would enable people to rub or touch the surface and this would over time create further polished elements.

Stone

The tree would be anchored to a large bedrock of Mourne granite, representing landscape in its natural form.

Plinth

The granite rock would sit on a large plinth A poem, or form of words, would be engraved onto the four sides of this plinth.  Small baby footprints would be etched into the granite surface:

You can download PDFs of the design concept and of some possible wording that could be engraved around the plinth at the bottom of this page.

 

 

Why We Are Consulting

On Tuesday 30 May we held a public workshop with the appointed artist where he spoke about his design concept.

At this workshop, council officers and attendees identified the aims for the memorial project as:

  • A permanent memorial
  • Robust – not easily destroyed
  • Self-explanatory – for generations to come
  • For everyone – babies and adults, people of all religions and none
  • A space where families can contemplate and reflect
  • Conducting a further stage of consultation to enable interested parties to have their say on the winning design concept.

We also got some initial responses on the concept design and you can download a document which details these at the bottom of this page.

We now want to hear your views on:

  • The proposed design concept
  • The wording that should be etched around the plinth

You can download PDFs of the design concept and of some possible wording that could be engraved around the plinth at the bottom of this page.

You can share your views by using the link below before Friday 30 June 2017 (closes at 23.59hrs).  Findings from this stage in the consultation will then be discussed at the next public workshop – details of which can be found below.

Give Us Your Views

Events

Areas

  • All Areas

Audiences

  • Anyone from any background

Interests

  • People and Communities