Toft’s King Edward VII back in Birmingham

By on 04/11/2010 in Culture, News, Video News

Birmingham sculptor Albert Toft's statue of King Edward VII has returned to the city centre after an absence of almost 60 years.

Following the completion of a 15-month restoration project, the Grade II listed statue has been restored to its former glory.

And it was moved to a new home in Centenary Square on Wednesday November 3.

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 together with a £10,000 contribution from Targetfollow, the owners of Baskerville House.

Cllr Martin Mullaney, Cabinet Member for Leisure, Sport & Culture, said: “This is a welcome return to Birmingham city centre for a superb piece of sculpture.

“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.

“Now fully restored, I'm delighted that the statue can take pride of place in Centenary Square.”

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