Northampton's history makers cast in bronze for new £44,000 borough council art installation

Five new statues of historical figures with a strong connection to Northampton will appear in the town tomorrow (July 10).

Monday, 3rd July 2017, 5:23 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th September 2017, 11:10 am
The five new statues will line the Guildhall courtyard.

They will join the statue of poet John Clare, which was installed last year on a bench in the Northampton Guildhall courtyard, in St Giles' Street.

The bespoke cast-bronze installations were commissioned from sculptor Richard Austin by Northampton Borough Council for £44,000.

Councillor Tim Hadland, cabinet member for regeneration, enterprise and planning, said: “The Guildhall is at the heart of the town and is itself steeped in history, so it seems a fitting home for these figures who have each added to our rich heritage in their own way.”

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The new statues follow the installation of poet John Clare last year.

“We received such a positive response to John Clare that we wanted to extend the project to include other talented and inspirational former Northampton residents.

The statues celebrate the achievements of five former Northampton residents who left their mark on history.

They include Nobel Prize winner and co-discoverer of DNA Francis Crick, "Bridge Over the River Kwai" composer Malcolm Arnold, and philanthropist Lady Wantage, who gave the land for Abington Park to Northampton.

There will also be a statue of local legend Edgar Mobbs, who raised his own company of sportsmen for the Northamptonshire Regiment, and Walter Tull, who joined Northampton Town Football Club in 1911 before becoming the first black officer to lead white British soldiers in battle during WWI.

The new statues follow the installation of poet John Clare last year.

Councillor Hadland said: “With this installation, we’re celebrating a composer, a scientist, a great philanthropist, sportsmen and soldiers, as well as a renowned poet; so it really showcases the great range of talent and potential that we are able to nurture right here in Northampton."

Artist Richard Austin said: "It's always so uplifting to work on a sculpture that represents the best of humanity. To work on six such figures for public display is therefore particularly exciting. I hope that this legacy from Northampton Borough Council will be as inspiring to those who see these statues, as it has been to create them."

The statues will be installed tomorrow (July 4). During this time, the courtyard at the Guildhall will be closed to the public. However, the One Stop Shop shall remain open as usual.

Lady Wantage will spend the summer at Abington Park Museum while the rest of the life-size figures will join John Clare to line the Courtyard of the Guildhall.