“One of the great things about public art is that you get the opportunity to make things that local people can identify with,” says Luke Perry, the man behind a series of metal sculptures commissioned by Watford Borough Council to celebrate our town’s rich cultural heritage.

“And if the artwork is relevant to the area, it stops history being forgotten. It stops people thinking we’re just passing, we’re here for a long while and there are lots of stories you can tell.”

To that end, Luke has created a series of five sculptures that run along the Colne River corridor, from Knutsford Playing Field to Water Lane.

Two of the pieces are inspired by the area’s natural history, while for the remaining three, Luke looked a little deeper, drawing inspiration from Watford’s social and cultural history (see below) and from extensive interaction with the people of Watford.

“The council wanted to try and draw people back into parks,” continues Luke, from Stourbridge, “and they did a really good job of choosing the sites for the sculptures, to draw attention to the fact that there was something going on there historically.”

  • The Sculpture Trail will be unveiled at Waterfields Recreation Ground, Watford on Monday, June 9 at 2pm. Details: 01923 232297, watfordmuseum.org.uk


“We found out through the community engagement that people thought that flooding was one of the main characteristics of Water Lane,” Luke laughs.

“So I thought, rather than looking at the financial loss of being flooded out, as we would tend to do nowdays, I’d look further back in history.

“In Edwardian and Victorian times, there were loads of stories about people sitting on top of their houses with their chickens and livestock, and about going through their upstairs windows into boats.

“So, to put an amusing sort of spin on the stories, I created a sculpture of a fisherman hanging out of a window.”


“The diver is my favourite,” says Luke, of the sculpture located in the curve in the middle of Waterfields Recreational Ground.

“There used to be a big freshwater lido, in about the 1930, that was home to Watford Swimming Club. The iconic image of a traditional Victorian gent in his stripey costume and a knotted hanky on his head jogged a memory in me, and a lot of people in Watford I spoke to said I had to do a diver rather than someone swimming. There used to be a diving board there. Maybe the readers remember the lido?”


“There’s a huge allotment culture connected with Watford,” says Luke, “one that kind of ties in with the current thinking on growing your own greens and the Green Gym, which has contributed to the transformation of the Colne River area.

“I built on the fact that a lot of people here said that during the Second World War there was a lot of Dig for Victory stuff going on, and the Land Girls were really prominent in Watford.”

The result is a dramatic sculpture located on land that was reserved for farming and agriculture during the war, near the railway bridge on Radlett Road.