Sunday, 17 April 2016

One stone statue ........ late of Park Brow Farm and the Assize Courts ............ looking for a new home

Now I have a soft spot for this chap.

He once resided in the garden of Park Brow Farm down on St Werburgh’s Road but originally had sat high up on the old Assize Courts in Manchester.

How it got from one to the other involved one of Mr Hitler’s bombs which did for the courts and led eventually from  a stone mason’s yard to the farm.

He wasn’t a small thing and I have every bit of respect for the men who got him from the ground up to the top of the courts and equally to Oliver Bailey who along with his dad and brother wrestled with the object in the garden of the farm.

Oliver remembers that “when we off loaded the beastie using the front loader on an old grey Ferguson tractor, despite having a one ton counterweight on the back we had to sit people on it to keep the back wheels on the ground but fortunately it was only a short distance.”

By the time it had arrived in Chorlton it had lost two small horns “where the lighter patches are on its head but they were broken off, possibly during removal so there were two small square plugs to show where they had been.”

And then with the sale of the farm in the 1980s the statue was on off on another adventure.

All of which may seem trivial stuff but I think not.  Its journey from the grand law courts to a garden is fascinating in itself and points to that simple observation that there are stories everywhere and in this case part of the fun has been tracking down the history.

I grant you it doesn’t involve some great event of a deep State secret but it offers up a close up of mid 19th century public sculpture mixed with the dram of the Blitz and that wonderful almost eccentric wish of the part of someone to preserve it.

All of which just leaves me to reveal where it went next.

But like all good detective stories that will have to wait.

Location the Assize Courts, Park Brow Farm and another place

Picture; stone statue, circa 1980s,  from the collection of Tony Walker

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