The Handelbar Café – a SPUD Youth Community programme and the brainchild of and driven to fruition by Mark Drury.
When I first met Mark in Coffee lab, Winchester back in 2017 he handed me a gift of wonderful coffee beans in an organic box. He proceeded to tell me about the incredible work he champions with the SPUD Youth Community Programme. I was fascinated. His vision to create a café at the very origin of the South Downs Way to congregate cyclists, walkers, runners, dog walkers, horse riders alike and to encourage outdoor activity for all is inspirational. When he told me that the construction would all be cited on top of a Victorian railway bridge at the foot of St Catherine’s Hill, my mind started to whir.
Those who use South Downs Way are all individuals, each with their own skills, ambitions and stories to tell. They enjoy the beautiful pathways, people of all ages and from all walks of life, able bodied and otherwise. But when the human race is otherwise occupied, Hampshire’s natural inhabitants take advantage of the natural habitat – a whole host of wildlife who inhabit this land. Occasionally we are blessed with the glimpse of a deer – a special moment to cherish and remember. Their presence is just as important to the heritage as is our own history.
For this sculpture, I gathered elements from all of these characters and gave them a Steampunk flavour, transcending time and amalgamating modern technology with classical machinery, instruments and pastimes.
‘Handlebar People’ represents a family with their friends; father, mother, teenage biker/punk and ballet dancing daughter. All enjoying each other’s company and leaping as if they were deer, happy, carefree and enjoying the outdoor air.
To really appreciate the South Downs Way you can transport yourself to another time, turn off your phone (if you dare) and imagine you exist 100 years ago. What would Winchester have looked like then? What would you be wearing? What would your kitchen look like at home? But I expect the view of the path in front of you wouldn’t be much different to how you see the majority of it today.
The South Downs Way – escape, exercise or just amble/cycle with a friend – it is all there to be enjoyed.
Photographs by SWN PhotographyCONTACT US