Get creative inspiration from Basingstoke’s statues this summer
Into the arts? How many of the world’s most famous statues have you visited? The Statue of Liberty in New York City? Christ the Redeemer in Rio De Janeiro? The Great Sphinx of Giza in Egypt? Venus De Milo in Paris? Or perhaps The Löwenmensch figurine from the Swabian Alps in Germany, the oldest known statue in the world at 30,000-40,000 years of age.
But what about statues in Basingstoke? As a creative marketing agency in Basingstoke, we’re all about seeking inspiration and this often this comes from from our everyday environment. Did you know just how many beautiful statues adorn the streets of Basingstoke, each with their own special tale to tell?
So, next time you’re rushing to a meeting, catching the train, popping out to buy a coffee or doing some shopping in Festival Place, why not slow down for a moment and be mindful about what fascinating sights there are all around you…
Here are some of the statues in Basingstoke
The Triumphal Gateway, London Street (Peter Parkinson & Richard Quinnell, 1992). You can’t have missed this eyecatching gate at the top of the town but have you ever noticed the 16 decorative panels? From door knockers baked into pies, to the deeper symbolism of a shopping bag, to an eerie tale of a woman buried alive, each one tells stories about Basingstoke that you might not have heard before…
The Family, London Street (Mike Smith, 1993). A simple, abstract representation of the nuclear family unit cast in bronze, located near the United Reformed Church. It represents the strong family values of the local area, as does Father and Child, Innovation Court (Diana Thomson, 1981), commissioned during the European Year of the Family.
Jane Austen statue, Market Place (Adam Roud, 2017). Created to capture the legendary novelist’s poise and dynamism as if someone has just said “Good morning, Jane”, her figure now greets you as you pass through the market square outside The Willis Museum. The life-sized sculpture of Jane Austen is believed to be the first in the world.
Sitting with Jane, various locations (commisioned by Hampshire Cultural Trust, 2017). Look out for all those who are nuts about Northanger Abbey and have read Sense & Sensibility more times than they can count, perched upon the 24 individually-painted bookbenches placed around Basingstoke and Hampshire to commemorate the author’s 200th anniversary. Sitting With Jane is a unique public art trail open to all until 31st August. The Wild in Art event brought to you by Destination Basingstoke in association with Festival Place.
War Memorial Cenotaph, War Memorial Park (cast by L.F. Roslyn, stonework erected by Messrs Mussellwhite & Son of Basingstoke, 1923). Did you know that another famous Basingstoke resident, Thomas Burberry, founder of the multi-million selling fashion brand, donated £10k to create this local statue? Three of the four faces display bronze tablets with the names of 233 men who died serving their country in the First World War, though it is estimated that 600 is nearer to the total number of Basingstoke men lost. Did you know that Thomas Burberry is buried at The Holy Ghost ruins and he has a very unusual headstone? Go and and take a look…
The Church Stone, Wote Street (Michael Pegler, 1994). Almost three metres in height and weighing seven tonnes, it took two years to handcarve this silver grey granite sculpture, made specifically for the site to commemorate the Emmanuel Church, which stood nearby until 1969. Affectionately nicknamed ‘The Wote Street Willy’ for reasons we simply can’t comment on, it’s one of the town’s most familiar sculptures.
Sailing by Stars, Basingstoke train station approach (Sarah Tombs, 1990). Showing figures in a boat, this composition tells the story of the Basingstoke Canal, which once played an important role in the town. The canal was restored during the 1990s after a period of neglect.
Poppy, Churchill Way (Tom Merrifield, 1996). It’s impossible not to feel inpisred by this delicate figure of a ballet dancer, designed by an internationally acclaimed sculptor. As a classically trained dancer himself, he used technical knowledge of movement to create a solid sculpture that somehow still lets the fluidity and grace of dance shine through. The statue was cast at the local Morris Singer Foundry and is situated outside The Anvil.
L’arc’ Sculpture, Alençon Link (David A. Annand, 1999). Evoking the town’s industrial past, this piece consists of two figures, one on either side of the road, each holding a curved pole. If these were extended a, circle would be formed, thereby creating a gateway. The artist was inspired by Basingstoke’s close relationship with its European twin towns.
Blue Coat Boy, Cross Street (Phoenix Arts Foundry, 1994). Set here by Basingstoke Heritage Society in 1994, this statue commemorates the Blue Coat School that stood on the site until 1879 and was founded by Richard Aldworth. He left money to the town, his Mother’s birthplace, which is still used today to benefit those in need.
Sculptures have been created for thousands of years to represent people, concepts and ideas; surviving multiple generations to commemorate key events and tell important stories. By stopping to photograph them in new and unusual ways, we breathe new life into their history and their presence in our lives today.
Need inspiration this summer? We’re a creative marketing agency in Basingstoke that can help you find those light bulb moments and turn them into actions that benefit your business. Just give us a call on 01256 536 000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
…and if you’re taking a tour of Basingstoke’s statues, don’t forget to share your photos with us via Twitter @brevmarketing #BasingstokeStatues
Here’s a guide – created by Basingstoke & Deane Council all about Basingstoke’s statues