King Edward VII Memorial
Statue in Highgate Park, Birmingham
|Location||Centenary Square, Birmingham, England|
|Owner||Birmingham City Council|
In 1910, the Birmingham Mail launched an appeal to erect a statue to Edward VII, in order to commemorate his reign. Over £5,000 was quickly raised and an area was allocated within Birmingham Children's Hospital for its location.
Albert Toft was commissioned to craft the statue but the project immediately ran into problems. The statue was to be over six feet tall, making it difficult to find a large enough piece of Carrera marble for its construction. Fortunately, this problem was overcome and the project was well underway through 1912.
The statue was unveiled in Victoria Square on 23 April 1913 by Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll. It stood next to a statue of Queen Victoria. However, soon afterwards these statues were criticised as being of "ill matched designs". The statue of Edward VII was eventually moved to Highgate Park (at ) when Victoria Square was remodelled in 1951.
The statue was the subject of theft in the 1970s and 1980s, beginning with the theft of Saint George's lance and then the three bronze groups in 1985 and 1986, none of which have been recovered.
Following successful lobbying by The Victorian Society, Birmingham City Council agreed to restore the statue and resite it back in the city centre. On June 12, 2007, The Victorian Society launched an appeal fund to contribute towards the programme of works which raised almost £12,000, more than 10% of the final cost of restoration. After restoration by Cliveden Conservation in Bath, starting in 2009, a new sceptre and orb capital (Cross pattée) were made and the three bronzes (one representing Peace, one representing Education and Progress and the other of St George slaying the dragon beneath a large stylised crown) were also re-made and the whole assembly reunited and erected on the original plinth, outside Baskerville House in Centenary Square (Coordinates: ).
- Public Sculpture of Birmingham: Including Sutton Coldfield, George Thomas Noszlopy, 1998, Liverpool University Press (ISBN 0853236925)
- The Builder: Art beneath the rule of commerce, May 1, 1914, vol. 106
- Victorian Society: Statue appeal
- Details from listed building database (217285) - Grade II statue. Images of England. English Heritage.
- Birmingham City Council press release with video of statue's arrival and erection.