Cooper statue unveiled in Dorset

The unveiling of The Cooper statue at Bellway
The unveiling of The Cooper statue at Bellway's St Mary's Hill development in Blandford St Mary. Photo courtesy of Bellway

Bellway Wessex has unveiled a stunning wooden carving of a barrel-making artisan at its new development in Blandford St Mary.

The housebuilder commissioned the life-sized cooper statue to celebrate the village’s brewing heritage, as part of the planning conditions to incorporate public art at its St Mary’s Hill development. The area has been associated with beer-making since the Hall & Woodhouse brewery was set up in Blandford St Mary in 1777.

The solid oak work, created by Dorset sculptor and wood carver Lee Dickenson, was revealed in a public ceremony.

Mr Dickenson, who runs Squashedapple Woodcarving, and his wife Wendy, along with parish councillors and a number of local residents, attended the unveiling event hosted by Bellway.

Lucy Seakins, Head of Sales for Bellway Wessex, said: “The brewery is less than half a mile from our development so we thought it would be fitting for us to commission a work of art that would celebrate the village’s beer-making tradition.

“The reason for choosing a cooper to be represented in this public work of art was inspired by the happy coincidence that it is not only a tradesman associated with the brewing industry but also the name of one of the house types we are building at St Mary’s Hill. The Bellway Artisan Collection, which includes a two-bedroom Cooper design, has been created to celebrate the names of many traditional artisan crafts.

“This magnificent wooden carving, also called The Cooper, has been afforded pride of place in the public open space right at the entrance to the development. This means that it is the first thing that visitors will see when they come to the site.

“So far 77 homes at St Mary’s Hill have been handed over to their new residents and it is lovely to see a new neighbourhood beginning to form. We hope that these homeowners, and those that follow them, will enjoy the sight of this glorious sculpture which reminds people of the proud history of the village’s beer-making roots.”

Bellway Wessex is building 207 new homes at St Mary’s Hill, which is located at the southern edge of the village.

As part of the planning agreement for St Mary’s Hill, Bellway is to contribute a total of £2.4 million to help improve local infrastructure and services. More than £2 million of this funding will go towards education in the area.

For more information about the new homes at St Mary’s Hill, call the sales team on 01258 787550 or visit

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