Despite the bitter cold, a large crowd gathered in the Museum Gardens around a figure enveloped in green velvet.
Once the poems, songs and speeches had concluded, local artist Peter Walker’s bronze statue of Erasmus Darwin was unveiled to applause.
Recently, I read a wonderful post by Susan Ward on her Staffordshire Bred blog which reminded me of the importance of the sense of touch, when connecting with something. I was so pleased to hear that the scallop shell Erasmus Darwin holds in his left hand is not only an important symbol of his beliefs and his work on evolution, but is also there to be touched. This is not a hands off statue and I hope that people will touch it, that it will be a well-loved part of the city and that stories will grow up around it.
Those days are still ahead of us – the sun has not even set on the statue’s first day in the Museum Gardens yet (although judging by the temperature in the park today, I’m not convinced it actually rose in the first place!).
The statue belongs to the people of Lichfield, but today belongs to Erasmus Darwin and Peter Walker.