Project Outputs

The ‘Underpasses’ project was an ambitious project with many project outputs. They all aimed to connect audiences to MK’s local heritage. Several of the project outputs are available as free download.
‘Underpasses’ Exhibition
The exhibition panels of the research information commissioned by On the Verge traced the history of Milton Keynes and the development of Fishermead, Oldbrook, Conniburrow and Downs Barn estates.

It was displayed at Central Library MK August-September 2016 and was an opportunity to discover the culture and heritage of these four central grid squares alongside the initiatives and communities that helped shape Milton Keynes.

Heritage Trail Leaflets
Two heritage trail leaflets were developed to focus on two different audiences: adults and families. This was to make better use of all the heritage information and to target audiences who have different requirements.

The first leaflet was ‘The Story of Housing in Milton Keynes’ and was launched at OTV’s heritage open weekend event September 2016, a heritage walk led by Tim Skelton from the MK Forum.
The walk around the estates of Fishermead and Oldbrook was an opportunity to walk around two grid squares and learn the story of early housing design in Milton Keynes. The walk plotted the effects of changing Government policies as well as evolving architectural styles and the use of MKDC and non-MKDC architects.  Rent, sale, self-build, flat roofs, pitched roofs, sheltered housing and much more – were all covered.

The Children’s Activity Trail leaflet was launched at OTV’s MK50 celebration event along with the children’s publications and interpretation panel for Secklow Mound and CMK underpass.

The Trail leaflets were immensely popular and have been issued for a reprint and are now available from the Central Library and distributed to local school children and residents.

Additional heritage walks have been scheduled by OTV for June 2017 conjunction with MK Forum, this time looking at the housing and architecture on Conniburrow and Downs Barn. For more information see our social media pages.

The two publications that were produced as part of the ‘Underpasses’ project were written by Rachel Barnett, designed by Daniel Chehade and illustrated by Sian Sharp. They were written to engage young audiences with their new towns 50 year and beyond history, and introduce the younger generation to the history of the design and development of Milton Keynes.

Both publications ‘Travelling in Time’ for 5-11 year olds about two children who travel back in time and witness the history of their New Town unravel before their eyes, and ‘My MK’ for 11-16 year olds, about an archaeologist who is in a race against time to dig and discover MK’s ancient history before the New town is built up around him, were incredibly popular and a reprint has been done in order to distribute them more widely.

Copies of both publications can be downloaded for free here.

On the Verge’s Heritage App- My MK
The App that was developed by Go Forth Film was designed to showcase the urban heritage of MK and the 4 estates and make use of information from the research document that was commissioned. It was linked to the publication ‘My MK’ to engage a younger generation and increase exposure to the heritage content in the publication in a format that is of interest to them.

The App is a walking tour of the history of Milton Keynes told through the eyes of a 14 year old boy living in Milton Keynes today. It delves into his family's past, looking at how his family history is intertwined with the history of Milton Keynes creation. It explores how MK as built, influences on the creation of the new town, the ancient history that was here before the new town was built, the urban design of MK and the future of MK.

The App is available as a free download here.

Underpass Artwork and Interpretation panels
RARA have produced the final artwork for the Conniburrow/DownsBarn underpass and Fishermead/ OldBrook underpass after a period of community consulation.

‘New Griffin’
The final design selected for Conniburrow/ Downs Barn underpass was ‘New Griffin’ an invention of a new mythical figure for the underpass combining symbols of the two estates (Rabbit and Horse), celebrating the strength that comes through connecting people and places.

The creature was designed to address the fears people felt towards the underpasses, offering protection and bringing light to the space through the golden paint. It demonstrates harmony of the two communities as well as the cultural diversity within them through filling the corrugated structure with aluminium textile patterns representing the different cultures within the estates.

The artwork was a backdrop to the ritual performance that was also developed with RARA to deliver a message of friendship, connection and harmony.

‘Tree Colonnade’
The final design chosen for Fishermead / Oldbrook was ‘Tree Colonnade’ featuring 2D graphics of trees inspired by Helmut Jacoby’s drawings of Milton Keynes. Jacoby collaborated with the Milton Keynes Development Corporation in the 1970’s and produced a series of beautiful renderings of how the new city would look.

His idiosyncratic drawings, including his best known, an imagined aerial view of central Milton Keynes twenty years in the future, were produced between 1971 and 1977 and played a key role in marketing the vision of Milton Keynes.

The design draws attention to the heritage of the New Town through emphasising what the original design and master plan for Milton Keynes was 50 years ago through the distinctive Jacoby drawing style. It questions the reality of that master plan vision by placing it onto a physical structure of the master plan (the underpass) 50 years later thus questioning the reality of the original vision compared with people’s life experience of living in the New Town.

The trees also create a dialogue with the real trees planted along the alleyway offering an experience between culture and nature. It also highlights one of the strongest positive feelings to come from the communities on the project towards the New Town, which is the greenery of Milton Keynes.

The ‘Tree Colonnade’ features 8 panels fabricated with di-bond /metallic vinyl and is installed onto the walls of the underpass. The drawings use black lines onto white, with areas filled with gold, bringing light and diversity into the space.

The Unveiling event featured the launch of the Heritage app, which features both underpass artworks as well as an object handling session for school children on the estates with Keeper of Archaeology Brett Thorn, to highlight their connection to MK’s past and demonstrate that history is about what has come before, and therefore the 50 year history of MK is the history of tomorrow.

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