The Milton Keynes Rose, the public space designed for commemoration, celebration and contemplation in Campbell Park, is celebrating its Fifth birthday.
Since its installation, the MK Rose has been the location for many of the city’s important events, with the visit of the Duke of Cambridge in September 2017 a particular highlight.
A series of annual ceremonies have developed since the MK Rose was installed, including International Women’s Day (8th March), Albert French Day (15th June), Disability Awareness Day (14th July) and Armistice Day (11th November), which have been attended and enjoyed by people from all over Milton Keynes.
The MK Rose has also been home to many one-off, special events, such as Bicycle Bell-ero, part of the city’s 2018 International Festival. This unique project saw cyclists using bicycle bells for an unusual musical experience.
Julie Dawes, Events & Community Engagement Manager for The Parks Trust, commented: “The MK Rose is an important part of the city’s cultural landscape and we are so pleased with how it is being used by community groups and organisations.
“Before the MK Rose was installed, there was nowhere for the people of Milton Keynes to go to mark occasions and events in a contemplative yet secular setting. Now it is being used for scheduled ceremonies, but also spontaneously for vigils, such as after the murder of MP Jo Cox, or the Manchester terrorist attack. It provides a vital space for communities to come together and reflect on the world around us.”
Created by internationally renowned artist Gordon Young in 2013, the MK Rose is an open-air circle with markings based on the mathematical beauty of a flower. It was developed in partnership by The Parks Trust and the Cenotaph Trust, with support from Milton Keynes Council.
Upon installation 106 granite pillars of varying height were mounted in positions to create the art piece. 64 pillars have been engraved with dedications, leaving 42 for future inscriptions.
Inscriptions so far include dedications for important dates in Milton Keynes’ history including 23 January 1967, when MK was designated as a New Town, 31 December 1958 when Aston Martin Lagonda based in Newport Pagnell first registered the first DB4 and 5 July 1953, the date when the first tea bag was produced in the UK at Tetley’s factory in Bletchley.
Julie added: “We are so pleased the pillars reflect the diverse history and people of Milton Keynes, but there is still plenty of space for new groups to get involved; do get in touch with the Cenotaph Trust if you are interested in adding your own special date or event to a pillar.”
New pillars are chosen every two years by a specially selected Pillar Picking Panel.
Visit miltonkeynesrose.org.uk for more information.