Mad Hatter and Alice

Hotham Park Heritage Trust (HPHT), currently a registered charity, is in the process of being closed with the intention of becoming a charitable organisation to be known as Friends of Hotham Park (FoHP).
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Mad Hatter’s Copse and Alice in Wonderland sculpture trail

As well as protecting the heritage of Sir Richard Hotham, founder of the town, and the Park’s status as a conservation area, as created by William Fletcher, Hotham Park Heritage Trust was dedicated to improving the facilities within the Park for everyone. This was achieved, in the main, by raising funds at our events. We were then able to fund either entirely, or make a contribution towards, various attractions.

A recent addition to the Park was a magnificent hand-carved wooden sculpture which is situated in the ‘Mad Hatter’s Copse’ to the east of the Mary Macfie pavilion. It was crafted by Simon Groves and depicts the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party from the story of Alice in Wonderland. The design is an 8ft x 2.5ft table with clocks in each corner, playing cards down the centre and 8 mushrooms as seating, with the Mad Hatter as a separate figure. It will be a permanent feature in the Park and we hope it will be enjoyed by everyone for many years to come.

Mad Hatter
Mad Hatter

The theme of Alice in Wonderland was chosen by children from local schools and the full cost of the sculpture was met from funds raised at the Hotham Park Heritage Trust Country Fair which was held over the first weekend of August 2016. We were also delighted that income from the 2017 Country Fair allowed us to unveil even more sculptures.  These are of Alice, the White Rabbit and Queen of Hearts and the unveiling was on 27 May 2018. Make sure you follow the trail next time you are in the Park!

As our main motivation was to protect the Park and improve the facilities for everyone we were delighted to see families enjoy this new sculpture, as seen in the pictures below. Long may this continue!

Mad Hatter's Party
Mad Hatter's Party

It took Simon 15 days to carve the Mad Hatter figure and picnic table.  All the pieces weigh just over a ton in total and were carved using a chainsaw with sanding by Simon’s assistant, Harrison, to take the roughness off. It is Simon’s seventh year as a sculptor and this is one of the largest things he has made. Here are some pictures of the carving in progress.

Mad Hatter
Mad Hatter
Mad Hatter

Mad Hatter
Mad HatterMad Hatter

For a slideshow of the Flora and Fauna in the Park, click here.

© Hotham Park Heritage Trust – Registered Charity Number 1117011