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Keith Bowler

Categories: Sculpture

Keith Bowler

We cannot find any information about Bowler himself, only that in c.1990-2010, at least, he lived in Wilkes Street Spitalfields and created these unusual pavement plaques. We understand they were created by making moulds from the actual items (scissors, apples, etc.).

Sponsored by the Bethnal Green City Challenge Company, Bowler designed and modeled 21 cast-iron roundels (with 20 different designs) for specific sites in Spitalfields. He had them cast at Hoyle & Sons Foundry in Cambridge Heath Road. Tower Hamlets council installed them in 1995 and produced an interpretative leaflet. We have not seen that but see lower down for Bowler's own booklet.

Over the years some plaques have gone missing and, before December 2016, at least one more plaque was installed: Freedom Press.

PMSA gives the background to the project and Spitalfields Life has interviewed Bowler. He has in his keeping some of the plaques which were removed and intends to re-place these and also remake the other lost ones. He may have a job for life.

As at January 2017 we had searched for and found 14 of the 22 plaques we know about. If you know where the others are, or have photos of them, please let us know. Are there any others we don't have listed?

August 2017: Prompted by Deborah Hart Stock we visited the London Metropolitan University's Special Collections and read the booklet held there: “The Spitalfields Roundels” by Keith Bowler, 2011, Wood Street Publishing. 50 pages. That lists 21 plaques, with 20 different designs, “Scissors and Buttons” being used twice. Two share the name “Silk Design” but they show different designs. Six are given as “missing”, in 2011. In the winter 2016/17 we failed to find one other: “Purse and Coins”. But also, we found one that the booklet does not mention: “Angel Anarchists” so that must have been laid post-2011. The booklet is well laid out and produced but is not always explicit about precisely what is being commemorated by the plaque. We have taken the names of the plaques from the booklet. Thanks to Lucy and Jeff at Special Collections for their assistance.

This section lists the memorials created by the subject on this page:
Keith Bowler

Creations i

Bowler plaque - Apples and Pears

This cast-iron roundel is one of 22 - see Bowler's page for more details.

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Bowler plaque - Arrows and Target

We failed to find this in 2014 and again Dec-Jan 2017. This cast-iron roundel...

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Bowler plaque - Book, Children and Eight Pencils

The two figures are inspired by the figures shown on the wall relief. These d...

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Bowler plaque - Decorated Hand

Mehndi is the use of henna to decorate hands etc. in India and neighbouring c...

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Bowler plaque - Four Tankards

This cast-iron roundel, showing 4 tankards around an eagle motif, is one of 2...

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