Monumental Task

I’ve used this database created by the Public Monuments & Sculptures Association a lot. It’s a national recording project that aims to collect information on all British public sculpture and monuments, whether historic or contemporary.

As well as including Lichfield’s usual suspects, the database also features some of our less obvious works such as the Calming Stone in Beacon Park, the etched glass in the Library foyer, the facade of Boots in Tamworth St and the Standing Stones I formed a bit of an attachment to back in November 2011.


Facade of Boots created 1908. Decorations include an owl, a beehive and a piper. There must have been a good reason for this motley crew!

They're outside!


Not everything on the list is still around – there’s an entry for Dean Denton’s Market Cross which was pulled down in 1849. There are also entries on the database that don’t seem to have made it as fully fledged pieces of Lichfield public sculpture.  Since Pat brought it to our attention back in November 2011 an entry has now appeared on the database about the Vision & Youth sculpture.

As the association says,  ‘The database is an excellent resource for students & researchers, conservators, local historians, art buffs, enthusiasts, genealogists and all who want to know more about public sculpture: statues; obelisks; columns; sculptures; installations; fountains; follies; commemorative clocks; wayside markers; and towers – from the Stuart era to the present day.’ I think it’s fantastic and you can read more about future plans & how you can get involved in contributing information here.

One to be added to the database in the future is the proposed statue of Erasmus Darwin at Cathedral Walk (I think there’s another one planned for Beacon Park too). I’ve just been reading a few of the comments about this on the S106 document. One person said that they were in favour of the statue, as Darwin is a local hero we should be proud of. However, the comment goes on to say that Lichfield should also celebrate more contemporary heroes relevant to young people and also more women ‘not just old blokes’.* I think this is potentially a whole new blog post but this is a really interesting point. Who or what should we be commemorating with our future public art & monuments?  

*I remember when I was a young person. A young person who used to go out on a Saturday night instead of sitting in reading the comments on S106 consultations 😉

23 thoughts on “Monumental Task

  1. May I say your dedication to your Blog is wonderful as the wind was gusting at
    about sixty mph on Saturday night when I went out at eight o-clock and got
    back at five minutes to eight you were in the right place come the Summer
    you will make up for your nights confined ,Keep up the fantastic work .


  2. I’d love to see more fountains in town. One smack bang in the middle of Bird Street would be great, to stop them ruddy speeding taxis making me and Doops leap out of the way!

    A giant brass duck just near Speaker’s Corner would do me, an’ all!


  3. Town centre fountains are a nice idea but don’t quite work out as planned
    I was part of a commitee in Walsall set up to celebrate the year 2000
    with street art ,The fountain was installed on the bridge fantastic until
    it was nobbled with washing up liquid and food colouring with bright
    red froth spilling from the mouth of the figure it was decided to turn
    it off eleven years later it is still not working so a statue would have
    been much better,Walsall bridge area is the site of Britains first non
    royal statue to a woman Sister Dora who has moved around the bridge
    from area to area that people in Walsall say she must be on castors !.


    • I like fountains, but I’m sure as you say they aren’t the easiest thing to maintain. I remember Sister Dora from my time living in Walsall. And no, I didn’t have anything to do with the food colouring.


  4. Do you very mind Pat! THIS is Lichfield! 😉 Comparing us to Walsall (where I spent many, many years) is like comparing a bottle of Crémant d’Alsace with a bottle of Asti. Pfft, Walsall indeed!


  5. You are quite Lichfield has a far more artistic yob element you would find multi
    coloured pigs in a fountain so a statue would be better but who David Garrick
    or Tony Christie only one way to find out…………………….fight!


  6. Ha ha! 🙂 I did indeed have the misfortune to live there for too long! I hold my hand up to numerous other misdemeanours in the Walsall vicinity but not that one!
    We should have an Amarillo dance footstep statue!


  7. I know it would cost a lot of money but it would be good to see the walkway from
    Bakers lane to the Garrick glazed with doors that could have St Chad’s Gospel
    on the glass over the doors,Like they done in Tamworth in the Ankerside centre
    also the Churchill centre Dudley with designs ,It would make for a more atractive entrance to the Three spires shopping centre.


    • Did you see the programme about the medieval kings the other night? How beautiful those books are. It even showed how Vellum is made & apparently there is still a demand for it today. I’ll have to have a look at Ankerside next time I’m over in Tamworth 🙂


  8. Hi All
    I did the research for the PMSA Lichfield and Tamworth entries , but this was vetted by George and Fiona. Another very interesting piece was on the GKN(Bound Brook ) building in Trent Valley, but I could never discover the Carver(not a Bridgeman mason, athough it was restored by Dennis Parsons).
    There is a new tree in the Monks Walk, and in front of the Library. the former is Walnut. SCC have done us proud!!
    Happy New Year


  9. Happy New Year to you too Lorna! You’ve done a great job. As I said I think it’s a fantastic source of information, so thank you very much 🙂 I’ve used it for Tamworth sculptures etc too – was this you too? Funnily enough, I’ve just been reading about a new sculpture for Burntwood – a miner.
    Great news about the trees. They’ll soon be in blossom if this mild weather continues! Best wishes, Kate


    • Lorna, Ian & I had a query about the plaque outside Bridgemans, the one to N Bradbury. Do you know the one & anything about it? I was talking to my friend Vickie today whose grandfather worked for Bridgemans. I’ve never heard of the GKN one. I really like the way you’ve included the lesser known pieces 🙂


  10. What an interesting post! Thanks for flagging up the database, I shall definitely be having a look at that. Well, I’d love a statue to David Garrick – and it is his Tercentenary in 2017. Poor Garrick, he deserves to be more celebrated in Lichfield (though that won’t please da kidz will it?)


    • Cheers Annette! It’s a great project as is the Openplaques one we’ve been discussing on Twitter. Would you have a statue near or even in the Garrick itself? I wonder if everyone knows who the Garrick is named after and why? That’s not meant to be patronising, I’m just curious how aware people are generally. I don’t know the current process but I would support anything that encourages people to get involved & make a contribution to their town or City.


    • If you go to their website you’ll see a ‘contribute’ section, where you click the ‘adding it’ link. This should then take you throught the process 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s