Friday, 24 June 2016

One stone statue ........ late of Park Brow Farm and the Assize Courts .......... makes its way into Cheshire and on “down south”

Now some stories never quite fade away.

So I always knew that one day the story of this chap would come to a conclusion.

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.”

It took pride of place occupying the site of the cage that, in the 1950's, was occupied by Squashy the vulture.

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

That adventure is best explained by Francis Bailey who told me that “the 'Beast' stayed in the family.  

After my older brother Bob sold the Farm, the beast was then moved to his house in Wilmslow near Lindow Common.  

He and his wife Nan then moved to Wrenbury near Nantwich and the Beast was stored with some neighbours while they got their new house sorted.  

Once they were settled, the Beast was taken to Wrenbury and had a prominent place in their garden where it stayed for many years. 

Unfortunately, about 5 or 6 years ago there was a whole series of robberies in that part of Cheshire with the thieves targeting large decorative garden ornaments, statues and stone planters.  They took quite a bit from Cholmondeley Castle.  

It wasn't possible to move the Beast to the back garden and it was an easy target for a truck fitted with a crane so Bob decided that the best way to protect it was to sell it out of the area and it went somewhere down south.”

So another bit of the story and in the fullness of time the last bit involving “somewhere down south.” will be revealed.

Location Park Brow Farm, Cheshire and “somewhere down south”

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

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

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