Bill Billings and the Secret Garden sculpture

The community artist's last creation

Bill Billings was an extraordinary character – lorry driver, poet, painter and community artist. He created one of Milton Keynes’ most famous icons, the Dinosaur at Peartree Bridge, having earlier helped Liz Leyh make the Concrete Cows. He was a master at creating concerte sculptures that were not only wonderful to look at but were also robust enough to withstand the roughest treatment. For this reason in 2007 he was asked to pass on those skills to artist Paul Smith and pupils at the Radcliffe School engaged in the creation of a new concrete sculpture in the Secret Garden in Wolverton. Bill was supposed to be a consultant, but being Bill he got fully involved, passing on his knowledge and enthusiasm to all, and exhausted himself in the process. Asked whether he regretted getting so involved when he was just asked to pop in and out as an adviser,he said he wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. It was the last community arts job he did, sadly dying later that year.

A film was made about the creation of the sculpture that features Bill. It can be seen below.

Comments about this page

  • I worked with Bill at FJ Morris I was a digger driver ,one morning bill said to me Bern I have made this Dinosaur and i want you to lift it up and we will take it to a roundabout and set it down in the middle,he said his vision was to have all different Dinosaur on every roundabout,so i asked why and he said it would better to direct people by turn left at the plesiosaur right at the T Rex and so on haha, sadly the weight of T Rex head and tail built out of scaffold mesh and concrete broke as we lifted it ,he was such a fantastic mind and a great history in the armed forces.

    By Bernie Bassington (21/11/2017)

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