The concrete cows were made in 1978 as a leaving present to Milton Keynes Development Corporation by artist in residence, Liz Leyh, who was returning to America.
Lesley, one of a group of artists who helped build the cows with Liz started looking after them when they were installed in a field in Bancroft. She had enjoyed building the cows and being part of the group of artists at that time as there was a lot of energy and enthusiasm, resulting in many community projects. Amongst these were the bonfire night celebrations where huge models of the houses of parliament and large moving political figures were made and burnt!
As time went on Lesley got fed up with having to drop her own projects she was working on and rush over to Bancroft to repair the cows. It got to the point where even the mention of the cows would drive her to despair.

Over the years a number of unfortunate things have happened to the cows, they have been stolen, had 'pyjamas' painted on them, BSE graffiti and Lesley has even had to rebuild them after they were beheaded.

Lesley feels that the cows had their day a long time ago and that they should have been allowed to gradually fall into disrepair and be gracefully moved away.

That is what happened to some of the other projects that were built around the same time, these included numerous underpass murals, the Griffin on Eaglestone, The Tin Man and Mushrooms on Beanhill some of which still remain. None of them have enjoyed the same notoriety as the Cows.

Lesley worked on many projects with schools and youth groups throughout the city which she enjoyed. Lesley finished working as an artist in residence in Oct 1983, this is when her responsibility for the cows ended.

Lesley now works as part of the Silbury Group of artists based in Milton Keynes at Westbury Farm (link no longer active). There is a list of all the other artists within the group.

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