Illustrated London News (14/Jun/1873) - Peel Statue at Huddersfield

The following is a transcription of a historic newspaper article and may contain occasional errors. If the article was published prior to 1 June 1957, then the text is likely in the Public Domain.


It was mentioned last week that Lord Houghton, on the Tuesday, unveiled a statue of the late Sir Robert Peel in St. George's Square, Huddersfield. The subscription for this monument was opened so long ago as July, 1850, immediately after the death of the great statesman. In April, 1851, the committee resolved that Mr. Bramley, of Leeds, should be the sculptor. This choice was opposed by some of the subscribers, and the controversy which arose stopped all proceedings for eighteen years. In 1869 the committee again invited competition for the work, but it was finally entrusted to Mr. Theed, and has been executed at the cost of £950 for the statue and £50 for the pedestal. The statue is 9 ft. high, and is cut out of Sicilian marble of a single block. The likeness is considered a good one both by Mr. Cardwell and the present Sir Robert Peel. The deceased is arrayed in the robes of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and he is pointing with the right to a scroll which he holds in his left hand, in allusion to his Parliamentary labours in the repeal of the corn laws. The height, including the pedestal, which is of Aberdeen granite, is 20 ft. On the front of the pedestal is a fine bronze relief of "Feeding the Hungry ;" behind is a sentence from one of Sir Robert Peel's speeches. The streets of Huddersfield were, on Tuesday week, enlivened by a procession, in which the Mayor and Corporation, the Yeomanry and Rifle Volunteers, the Friendly Societies, and the Band of Hope children appeared in their due order. There was a crowd of several thousand persons in the square. When Lord Houghton and the gentlemen who were to take part in the proceedings arrived, Mr. Laycock, president of the Peel Statue committee, requested Lord Houghton to perform the ceremony of unveiling the statue. The noble Lord made a speech, in which he referred to the death of Peel and to the great changes in the world since his decease ; and dwelt on his abilities as a statesman, and on the work he accomplished by putting in practice the principles of free trade, which had been thought out by others who preceded him, thus giving cheap bread to the people. Mr. Skilbeck handed over the statue to the Mayor and Corporation, and the Mayor promised that every care should be taken of it. Mr. Leatham, M.P. for Huddersfield, proposed, and Mr. Beaumont, M.P., seconded, a vote of thanks to Lord Houghton, who replied. Cheers were given for the Queen, and the proceedings terminated. In the evening a banquet was held in the George Hotel, presided over by Lord Houghton, who spoke at some length. Our Illustration of the ceremony is from a photograph by Mr. H. Lord, of Huddersfield.

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