Work has started to remove a mosaic representing Wellingborough’s history and heritage after it was damaged ‘beyond repair’.
Installed in the late 1990s, the ‘twin town’ mosaic symbolises the twinning of Wellingborough with Niort in France and Wittlich in Germany.
A council spokesman has since confirmed that the mosaic tiles will be disposed of and none of them can be reused because of the damage.
Although the artwork located outside the Market Street entrance to the Swansgate Shopping Centre will go, the larger ‘five wells’ mosaic, at the bottom of Market Street, can be repaired.
Work will be carried out in the autumn and removable bollards put in place to stop delivery vehicles driving over the mosaics and help prevent future damage.
In recent years the two landmarks have been significantly damaged due to weather and traffic movement.
A staff member of nearby fashion accessories store, Claire’s, said: “Work has been going on for over a week now and the little tiles are being removed slowly and carefully.
“Only half of the mosaic is left, the rest has been replaced with small paving stones but still in the ring pattern.”
Both mosaics were restored by the Wellingborough Council at a cost of £26,790, in September 2015, however the mosaics have since experienced further damage.
Councillors met in December 2018 to discuss the future of the two mosaics, and agreed that the Twin Towns mosaic was beyond repair and would need to be removed and the pavement reinstated.
Leader of Wellingborough Council, Cllr Martin Griffiths, said: “The mosaics represent a significant part of our borough’s history.
“Councillors have agreed that the damage to the Twin Towns mosaic was too extensive, however, we are dedicated to ensuring that the mosaic is commemorated in the borough - we are in the process of discussing how this can be achieved.
“We will work with contractors to carry out essential repair works to the five wells mosaic, in the hope to extend their life span for our residents and visitors to enjoy.”
The five wells mosaic depicts the spring waters that were first captured by medieval settlers and helped the town to prosper.
Although the town had many wells, the five featured on the mosaic are Red Well, Whyte Well, Burymoor Well, Stan Well and Rising Sun Well.
Red Well, the most well-known, received royal approval when King Charles brought his new Queen to visit in 1626.
His young bride, Queen Henrietta, spent her first full summer in England in Wellingborough and resided here for nine weeks on hearing that the waters had fertility properties.
Queen Henrietta visited two further times in 1627 and 1628, camping close to the source of the pure spring water.
The Queen went on to have her first child in May the following year.