Sir Michael Griffiths ‘appalled’ Northampton’s Francis Crick statue is to be moved

The Francis Crick statue
The Francis Crick statue

The headteacher of Northampton School for Boys has said he is “appalled” the Francis Crick statue in Abington Street could be removed just seven years after it was installed.

Sir Michael Griffiths, who received his knighthood in the New Year’s Honours list, has written to the town’s two MPs Michael Ellis and Brian Binley and has called for the statue to be left in the heart of the town.

The Francis Crick statue was installed in Abington Street in December 2006 at a cost of £100,000 which was funded by the Lynn Wilson Foundation.

The 25ft structure was designed by Lucy Glendinning after her design was chosen by a panel which included Francis Crick’s relatives and Northampton councillors.

A prototype model of the design resides at Northampton School for Boys and Sir Michael has said the original brief for the statue design includes a pledge that it should be for the people of Northampton.

Sir Michael’s said: “I think the Lynn Wilson Foundation, Crick family and original artists should all be consulted on any removal of the statue as well as the people of Northampton.”

The letter to Mr Binley and Mr Ellis reads: “I hope you are both as appalled as I am that a mere handful of years after the fantastic donation to the town of a significant sum to commission a work of art to commemorate a true genius ‘son of Northampton’, there is now a proposal to remove it and place it - so I believe - on the campus of the new university.

“I am sure future students would be inspired by it, but Frances Crick had no links with the university of Northampton, nor as far as I am aware made any reference to it in his correspondences with me at the start of this century when we were discussing his legacy of a scientific prize awarded annually at the school.

“I cannot believe that the good people of Northampton, who should be exceptionally proud of this son of the town, would be happy at the removal of the memorial dedicated to his memory from their midst.

“The statue must be left in the heart of the town, not hidden from the town’s view on the new campus. I trust you will do all you can to prevent this from happening.”

Councillor David Mackintosh, Leader of Northampton Borough Council said no decision had been made on the future of the Francis Crick statue.

He said: “The changes to Abington Street will mean that the Francis Crick statue will have to be moved, and I think it is an opportunity to relocate it in an appropriate and fitting place. Discussions have taken place about the Francis Crick statue although no decision has yet been made.”