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Cedars of Lebanon at BP’s headquarters at Sunbury

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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