French farm takes over Huddersfield town centre as Tour de France inspires Yorkshire

By Culture24 Reporter | 04 July 2014

The Tour de France has seen 26 French farmers surprise residents by setting up in a Huddersfield square

Click on the picture to launch the gallery

Among its many virtues, Huddersfield town centre has rarely been known for its agricultural productivity. Tending to St George’s Square, two teams of 13 French farmers have changed the space in front of the train station to one blooming with animals, seeds and pastoral pastures.

This is the work of Le Phun, a French company who call their event La Vengeance des Semis – Seedlings’ Revenge – and are using 1,500 sunflowers, 1,700 lettuces and 700kg of vegetables in only their second “performance” in Britain, setting up the plot of pigs, chickens, sheep and a cow for just four days.

A photo of a mast illuminated at night
Emley Moor mast will be illuminated for two nights© Courtesy Yorkshire Festival
“We’re looking at...well, I’m not sure. It looks like a farmyard, actually,” said one local resident. “So many people didn’t know it was coming,” boggled another, having seen the sprawl open on Wednesday, apparently appearing overnight.

“All over Facebook people have been going, ‘my God, there’s an allotment in St George’s Square.’

“I just think it’s absolutely lovely. I feel charmed by it – if only it was here all the time. It’s just kind of magical and I want to move in.”

Huddersfield’s most famous son, Harold Wilson, has had his statue in the Square wilfully decorated for the occasion, with the winner of four General Elections during the 1960s and 1970s now appearing to carry a baguette under his sculpted arm.

Part of the finale to the 100-day Yorkshire Festival which has fanfared the visit of the Tour de France to the region, the event is not the only surprise this weekend.

A food and drink festival in the square will be accompanied by a big screen, and street theatre, galleries and more will pop up around the town.

The 330-metre Emley Moor mast, meanwhile, will be lit up tonight and tomorrow, with locals invited to choose its colours via Twitter.

“When I heard about Le Phun coming to Huddersfield, I couldn’t wait to see how people would react as they came across the Square,” said Councillor David Sheard, the leader of Kirklees Council.

“We’ve been able to celebrate the Grand Départ coming through our area with this humorous and unusual nod to France.

“Kirklees is renowned for being a creative centre, full of brilliantly artistic people and businesses. Our very own Festival of Light attracts thousands of people each year, but this is something quite different to anything we’ve done before.”

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