Return of the King

By on 21/07/2009 in News

140px-Edward_VII_HighgateBirmingham sculptor Albert Toft's statue of King Edward VII is returning to Birmingham City Centre after an absence of almost 60 years.

The Grade II listed statue, which was commissioned by the Birmingham Mail in 1910 to commemorate the death of the monarch, was unveiled in Victoria Square in April 1913.

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

That prompted the city centre switch and, following talks with the Birmingham Civic Society, the statue will now sit outside Baskerville House in Centenary Square. This site is particularly appropriate given that Toft produced the figures on the nearby Hall of Memory.

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

Once the repairs are completed early next year, the statue and its plinth will be moved to its new home in time for the Centenary of King Edward VII's death.

The £114,000 renovation and relocation project has been funded by the City Council, s106 planning gain contributions together with a £10,000 contribution from Targetfollow, the owners of Baskerville House.

Cllr Martin Mullaney, Cabinet Member for Leisure, Sport & Culture, said: “I'm delighted we're now in a position to move this superb piece of sculpture back to Birmingham city centre.

 “Toft's statue of Kind Edward VII deserves to be seen and enjoyed by the maximum number of people and I'm particularly pleased that the move has gained unanimous support from a whole host of organisations and individuals.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors

The statue will be removed from Highgate Park on Wednesday July 22.

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.

For further information contact Geoff Coleman on 0121 303 3501

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