Prince of Wales to unveil Birmingham statue

By on 15/12/2010 in Culture, News, Video News

The Prince of Wales is set for a festive trip to Birmingham next week when he will visit the Frankfurt Christmas Market and unveil the newly restored Edward VII statue in Centenary Square.

His Royal Highness visits the city on Wednesday December 22 to formally unveil Birmingham sculptor Albert Toft's statue of King Edward VII, which returned to the city centre last month after an absence of almost 60 years.

He will also meet traders from Birmingham’s world famous Frankfurt Christmas Market – the largest traditional German market in the world outside Germany and Austria.

Looking forward to the visit, Cllr Martin Mullaney, Cabinet Member for Leisure, Sport & Culture, said: “We’re delighted with the news that His Royal Highness will be visiting Birmingham next week. I’m sure he’ll be impressed by the way Toft’s superb sculpture has been restored to its former glory.

“This project has been a real team effort with the Victorian Society, Birmingham Civic Society and a range of other stakeholders all playing a part. To get the royal seal of approval represents a fitting end to this restoration project.”

Commissioned by the Birmingham Mail in 1910 to commemorate the death of the monarch, the statue was unveiled in Victoria Square in April 1913.

It was moved to Highgate Park when Victoria Square was remodelled in 1951 but repeatedly suffered at the hands of vandals.

That prompted the city centre switch and, following consultation with the Victorian Society, Birmingham Civic Society and a range of other stakeholders; a new location outside Baskerville House in Centenary Square was chosen. The site is particularly appropriate given that Toft produced the figures on the nearby Hall of Memory.

The statue was removed from Highgate Park in July 2009 for cleaning and repair and new bronzes cast to replace ones that were stolen in the 1980s.

The £114,000 renovation and relocation project was funded by the City Council, s106 planning gain contributions, a public appeal led by the Victorian Society and a £10,000 contribution from Targetfollow, the owners of Baskerville House.

ENDS

Notes to Editors

Clarence House will issue details of the visit and access/accreditation for the media.

The Statue

Albert Toft (1862-1949) designed a number of monuments, notably the Welsh National Memorial in Cardiff, the Royal London Fusiliers Monument in Holborn.

In Birmingham he designed the South Africa Memorial in Cannon Hill Park, the King Edward Memorial and four bronze statues at the Hall of Memory, representing the three armed services and the women’s services.

He produced three Queen Victoria memorials, in Nottingham, Leamington and South Shields.

Frankfurt Christmas Market

Birmingham's market is the largest authentic German market held anywhere in the world outside Germany and Austria.

Staged in Victoria Square and New Street, the Frankfurt Christmas Market features traditional stalls offering handmade toys, Christmas decorations, jewellery, clothing and craft goods.

Visitors can also enjoy the delights of German mulled wine (Glühwein), grilled sausages, pretzels, German beer, gingerbread, stollen, crepes and marzipan sweets.

The market, which last year attracted a staggering three million visitors and boosted the city's economy by £89.6million, is open for seven days a week (10am to 9pm) from November 18 to December 23.

Having grown from strength to strength since it was launched in 2001 the Frankfurt Christmas Market is now a major highlight in the city's calendar and the economic impact has steadily increased.

Photographs from last year's event are available via the following link: http://www.flickr.com/photos/birminghamnewsroom/sets/72157622643692619/

In addition to the Frankfurt Christmas Market, Birmingham hosts the Christmas Craft Fair on Chamberlain and Centenary Squares, featuring a selection of beautiful hand-crafted items created by local artisans, as well as ethnic goods imported from all over the world.

For further information contact Geoff Coleman on 0121 303 3501

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