Birmingham City Council has scooped Gold at the Chelsea Flower Show for the sixth year running, in the floral category, with a display that celebrates the work of Birmingham artist, cartoonist and inventor Rowland Emett OBE – famous for his Chitty Chitty Bang Bang inventions.
Darren Share MBE, who led the team for Birmingham City Council, said: “I’m delighted that we have achieved our sixth Chelsea Gold for Birmingham but it was with mixed feelings that I received it this morning as everyone was waking up to hear about the Manchester attack. The mood here is reflective and sombre today.
“I would like to thank the Rowland Emett Society for helping us to celebrate the achievements of another wonderfully creative artist taught in Birmingham.
“I would also like to thank my team who have worked so hard to bring Emett’s work to life with the power of plants. And of course our sponsors who have paid for the display and all the plants and moving features within it.”
The 10m x 10m island display in the Floral Marquee – GPG214 – is called A Quiet Afternoon in the Cloud Cuckoo Valley. It has been sponsored by Greenspace Leisure, Rowland Emett Society, Veolia, Akamba Heritage Centre, Pentland Plants, Certis, and individuals who have bought panels.
Rowland Emett OBE, was born in North London, 22 October 1906 and moved to Small Heath, Birmingham at the start of WW1. He went to Waverley Grammar School in Small Heath and studied at Birmingham School of Art, then known as Central School of Arts and Crafts.
He later worked at Siviter Smith as a process engraver in Birmingham before becoming a cartoonist and inventor. Emett created mechanical machines to amuse and excite the people who saw them. The display incorporates elements of Emett’s work into a floral display and depicts a quiet afternoon in Cloud Cuckoo Valley.
Two pieces of work have been allocated to the display – the first is a bather taking a dive into a pool from a bathing hut and the second is the locomotive ‘Wild Goose’. This is a working train and carriages.