Luke Hughes and Company, recent news

Wales & Wales designed ‘Chico’ benches for City of London

December 2003

Luke Hughes & Co have supplied Wales & Wales Chico benches and chairs to the City of London, as part of their Street Scene Strategy and ongoing refurbishment of the areas surrounding Guildhall and St Paul’s Cathedral, since early 2003.

Apart from the standard benches and chairs, a number of three-seaters have been specially modified at the request of the City to provide a four-armed bench to assist the elderly and discourage sleepers and skateboarders.

The Chico can be seen in the St Paul’s environs, outside St James Garlickhythe, in West Smithfield, Guildhall Yard East, Monument Street and most recently, Old Bailey.

Cedars of Lebanon at BP’s headquarters at Sunbury

January 2002

British Petroleum was obliged, in the interests of safety, to fell a large mature Lebanon Cedar at its Sunbury site. Honey fungus was rampant and rendered the tree not only dangerous but without commercial value.

As part of their general policy towards sustainability, a replacement tree had already been planted a few yards away. Although this sapling was already well established, BP was left with the conundrum of what to do with the massive, 150 year-old felled butt of its predecessor.

No one could countenance just chopping this up for firewood. In discussion with Luke Hughes & Co Ltd, a plan evolved for converting what remained of the sound timber into planks that could be made both into furniture for the circulation areas at the new Sunbury extensions and also for some local community use.

It was also decided, to deliver a large section of the butt to sculptor Anthony Denning, to explore through the rings of the tree a time line that reflected the history of the oil industry. Before design proposals could evolve, it was imperative to examine just what timber could be extracted from the savaged butt and limbs. Luke Hughes arranged for Nick Hilton of Woodwise Forestry, Sussex to bring a portable sawmill to site and select expedient sections for planking. The whole operation was completed within a day and revealed some interesting and useful figured boards. Indeed, a large 3m x 70cm x 70cm was delivered to the sculptor, while the other planks were dried out at the LHCL furniture workshops.

Some lasting legacy of the tree will thus be represented in the new building works.

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