Skyscraper City Forum banner
1 - 20 of 26 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
209 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I had a conversation with my father a few months ago in regards the prominence of statues within the West Midlands and he told me that the councils within the region have traditionally not been too keen on investing large sums of money into them.

I'm not sure how accurate this statement is but there is one thing that I have noticed from being within the West Midlands and that is that some of the most important figures within its history do not have their own respective statues whilst others who have made little contribution to the region do. One clear, although possibly controversial, example of this is Tony Hancock's memorial (admittedly not statue) at Old Square, Birmingham City Centre. The man left Birmingham at the age of three and yet he carries pride of place in one of Birmingham's most historical squares.

I'm sure there are many varying views on the value of statues. Personally I find them very valuable: certainly in the creation of civic pride and an understanding of a city's roots and how those roots affected the existence of the city we have today.

What are your thoughts? Do you think statues add value to a city/region? Do you think there are major omissions that need to be looked at?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,150 Posts
I'm sure there are many varying views on the value of statues. Personally I find them very valuable: certainly in the creation of civic pride and an understanding of a city's roots and how those roots affected the existence of the city we have today.

What are your thoughts? Do you think statues add value to a city/region? Do you think there are major omissions that need to be looked at?
I think Birmingham did a pretty good job of memorialising its distinguished citizens (mostly politicians) at least up to the First World War.

Personally I've always thought it has been remiss in not acknowledging Elgar's connections with the city in some public form. These connections are remarkable, including (1) as a young man, he travelled from Worcester to play the violin in orchestras (on one occasion he took part in a performance of Dvorak's Sixth Symphony conducted by the composer) (2) William Stockley's orchestra gave the first-ever performance of an orchestral work by Elgar (the Intermezzo: Serenade Mauresque) in the Town Hall in 1883 (3) He wrote four major choral works for the Birmingham Festival (The Dream of Gerontius, The Apostles, The Kingdom and The Music Makers) (4) He was the first professor of music at Birmingham University (5) He conducted the official first concert by the CBSO in 1920.

He once said of Birmingham: "There, if nowhere else, I had hoped to be recognised."
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,263 Posts
I work on the European continent a lot, I also walk the length of central Birmingham most work days. I definitely notice our lack of statues/memorials/dedications here.

I'm certain any other city on the planet would have a statue of Ozzy Osbourne if he was theirs, I also think the Pub Bombings memorial should be more prominent.

There are obviously loads of other ommissions that should be recognised, but those two stand out for me.

I think visitors for the Commonwealth Games will be shocked and possibly disappointed by this, they'll be an expectation to see our icons recognised. It's amazing how much of an attraction to tourists a relatively cheap memorial or dedication can be.

The 'Imagine' paving in Central Park, for example.

I expect visitors will be wandering around bemused and annoyed that they cant see a statue of the prince of darkness. Similarly to when me and a mate went on a Leo Sayer in Chesterfield and I lost a bet because amazingly there wasn't a boozer called the crooked spire. Someone missing a trick there as well!
 

·
flickr ell brown
Joined
·
21,719 Posts
Many have gone into storage and will return when the Midland Metro extension to Centenary Square is finished.


Here's one I spotted in Stratford-upon-Avon yesterday.

Figure with Shield ('Everyman')

 
Joined
·
750 Posts
There should certainly be a statue of Tolkien in the Five Ways/Edgbaston area with all its links: I've never been particularly convinced of the Two Towers connection but there's also 25 Stirling Road and 4 Highfield Road where he lived (Highfield Road has a blue plaque as does a modern office on the site of 37 Duchess Road); The Plough and Harrow hotel where he stayed before he went to WWI; The Oratory where he prayed and the Ivy Bush which is also the name of an inn in the Shire. It would be fantastic if a statue was erected in the New Garden Square development if not before then.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,150 Posts
When I went to Nuneaton about a year ago I was impressed to find that there was a fairly recent statue of Mary Anne Evans (better known as George Eliot, author of Middlemarch, sometimes touted as the greatest English novel) in the town centre. It was the only thing, apart from the railway station, which did impress me about Nuneaton.

Eliot has even closer associations with Coventry, where she lived and which has been cited as the model for Middlemarch. I'm not sure if there is a statue or some other form of memorial to her there, but if not maybe this could be addressed as part of the City of Culture year.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
209 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks for the feedback.
Here's a list of my possible statues in no order of priority.

1) Edward Burne Jones 2) Matthew Boulton 3) Joseph Chamberlain 4) Sampson Lloyd 5) Richard Ketley 6) George Ramsay 7) Tolkien 8) Elgar 9) David Cox 10) Ozzy Osbourne 11) Robert Plant 12) Josiah Mason 13) George Cadbury 14) James Brindley 15) Barry Jackson 16) Abraham Darby I 17) Lenny Henry 18) Ann Jones
19) William Sands Cox 20) Enoch Powell 21) Denise Lewis 22) Charles Geach
23) Cardinal Newman 24) William Ashley 25) Francis William Aston 26) Herbert Austin 27) William Murdoch

This list isn't exhaustive and one or two may cause controversy. However, most at the very least have drawn inspiration from the West Midlands and ended up becoming very successful, whilst others have had a real impact upon the fortunes of the region.
 

·
Concerto Grosso
Joined
·
7,875 Posts
When I went to Nuneaton about a year ago I was impressed to find that there was a fairly recent statue of Mary Anne Evans (better known as George Eliot, author of Middlemarch, sometimes touted as the greatest English novel) in the town centre. It was the only thing, apart from the railway station, which did impress me about Nuneaton.

Eliot has even closer associations with Coventry, where she lived and which has been cited as the model for Middlemarch. I'm not sure if there is a statue or some other form of memorial to her there, but if not maybe this could be addressed as part of the City of Culture year.
The places she lived in Coventry still exist (Including the school she went to.)

http://www.georgeeliot.org/about-george-eliot/the-coventry-years.aspx

http://www.georgeeliot.org/blog/concern-for-bird-grove-in-coventry.aspx

Her piano is in the Herbert Art Gallery, along with a portrait.

http://www.theherbert.org/collections/social_and_industrial_history/13/george_eliot_collection

It seems she got quite involved in Coventry society.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,301 Posts
Look how the forward statue was treated
 
1 - 20 of 26 Posts
Top