Statue (lost): Henry Fawcett statue - lost
Erection date: 7/6/1893
HENRY FAWCETT BORN 26 AUGUST 1833 DIED 6 NOVEMBER 1884. After losing his sight by an accident at the age of 24, he became PROFESSOR of POLITICAL ECONOMY in the UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE, MEMBER OF FOUR PARLIAMENTS and from 1880 to 1884 H.M.POSTMASTER GENERAL. His inexorable fidelity to his convictions commanded the respect of Statesmen. His chivalrous self devotion to the cause of the poor and helpless won the affections of his Countrymen and of his Indian fellow subjects. His heroic acceptance of the calamity of blindness has left a memorable example of the power of a brave man to transmute loss into gain and wrest victory from misfortune.
Donated by Henry Doulton and created in terracotta by Tinworth, who worked at Doulton’s nearby Lambeth factory where it was made. The base contained eight separate bas-relief sculptures, honouring Fawcett's attributes and his achievements. It was erected on the site of Fawcett’s house and unveiled by the Archbishop of Canterbury. The plaque that was attached to the front of the base carried the same inscription as that on his memorial in Westminster Abbey from where we copied it.
February 1959 the Council, in both their minutes and a local newspaper article, expressed their intention to remove or ‘knock down’ the statue to improve the Park. And the statue disappeared never to reappear again so the assumption has to be that the Council just demolished this, at the time, 66-year old work of art which commemorated an honourable man. There is a suggestion that the head from the statue survived and is kept by the Henry Fawcett Junior School.
This statue lives on in the 1959 film ‘Look Back in Anger’. We’ve not seen the film for many years but the invaluable ReelStreets has a screen shot showing the statue.
All our information comes from Vauxhall History which has two photos of the monument: showing it installed in the Park; and this one, showing Tinworth working on a preparatory model. The final monument was 16 foot high with life-size figures.
Site: Fawcett house and lost statue - Vauxhall (2 memorials)
SW8, Vauxhall Park