Cheltenham pigeon art project

It is said that Cheltenham’s spa water was discovered in 1716 when pigeons were found gathering and pecking around a spring near present day Bayshill Road. Ever since, the pigeon has been a symbol of Cheltenham’s spa water heritage, featuring as a motif on the Cheltenham Coat of Arms and as cast-iron finials atop the town’s fingerpost signs.

The finials atop the fingerpost signs, installed in 1995, were modelled on the Grade II listed gates at the entrance to Crippets Lane, which have been reputed to have once been at the entrance to the Old Well in Cheltenham. Following a recent upgrade in Cheltenham’s fingerpost signage, the old signs and finials were taken down. In 2014, some of the pigeon finials were auctioned for charity. Five years later, and with the new town signage now complete, the remaining finials became part of the Cheltenham Pigeon Art Project. Local artists were commissioned to embellish the finials as a way of celebrating Cheltenham's spa water heritage. Following a successful exhibition at The Wilson Art Gallery & Museum, the pigeons below are now taking flight to various locations along the High Street and Promenade (see map below).

Use the links below to learn more about each pigeon and the artist behind them.

For further information on Cheltenham’s local history, please visit The Wilson’s Cheltenham History Collection.