In July, I wrote a post about the various artworks located in the Washlands near the River Trent in Burton on Trent. However, there are many more pieces of public art and statues in the town, and I will be looking closely at some of them in this post.
Michael Arthur Bass Statue, King Edward Place
A man who gave so much to the town, including the Ferry Bridge and the Town Hall, Michael Arthur Bass, 1st Baron Burton, was born in Burton in 1837. His father was Michael Thomas Bass, and his great-grandfather was William Bass, who founded the famous Bass Brewery in 1777.
Not only was Michael Arthur Bass a director of the brewery, but he also served as a Liberal member of parliament for more than twenty years; in the constituencies of Stafford, East Staffordshire and Burton. He died in 1909, and his statue was cast in bronze and erected at King Edward Place, outside the Town Hall, in 1911. The statue was once the centrepiece of a large public square outside the town hall, but the area has now become a through road for buses, and his statue is now surrounded by car parking spaces.
Burton upon Trent War Memorial, College grounds
Burton’s main war memorial stands on Lichfield Street, near to Burton and South Derbyshire College. It depicts an angel figure atop a plinth with a sword in one hand and a laurel wreath in the other. Next to the inscribed bronze plaques are two further statues; one of St George and one of “Victory”, with a dove in its hand.
It was unveiled by the Earl of Dartmouth in August 1922 and was built to honour the local people who died in the First World War. An additional plaque honouring those who died in the Second World War was later added. The memorial serves as the focal point for the town’s annual remembrance services.
Anchor, Burton College Grounds
I accidentally found this sculpture one morning while I was out taking some photos in Burton. I have not been able to find anything about it, other than what it says on the inscription:
ON OCTOBER 19th 1996, THIS ANCHOR WAS PRESENTED BY MEMBERS OF THE CREW OF H.M.S. RESOLUTION TO MARK THEIR CLOSE LINKS WITH THE PEOPLE OF BURTON UPON TRENTinscription on the plaque
The only possible HMS Resolution that I could find out about was a nuclear submarine bearing the name which was decommissioned in 1994.
“Reel Ale”, Worthington Way
Located near the Burton Mail offices and Nando’s, “Reel Ale” is a metal and wood sculpture depicting beer barrels and a film reel, created to commemorate the opening of Middleway Park, a retail and leisure park built on the site of Bass’ Middle Yard, a former brewery premises. The film reel is a nod to the nearby Cineworld cinema.
The sculpture was unveiled in 2000 and the inscription on the plaque reads:
THIS ORIGINAL WORK OF PUBLIC ART HAS BEEN DESIGNED BY STUDENTS OF BURTON COLLEGE AND SPONSORED BY BASS DEVELOPMENTS LTD. NOVEMBER 2000.Inscription on the plaque
Unfortunately, as you can see on the photo, the weather hasn’t been kind to Reel Ale, and it is rusting very badly.
Faces in the Stones, Worthington Way
Located just a short distance from Reel Ale, these half-buried stone carvings surround a tree. They are a homage to Burton’s ancient industry of stone carving. The craftsmen, known as “peyntours” or alabaster men, used local stone from Fauld, near Tutbury. They carved and painted effigies and images which were dispatched all around the country. This was Burton’s main industry before brewing.
“Growing Form”, Burton Library
Apologies for the photo, it was as close as I could get to it at the time. The area is fenced off for work on Burton’s flood defences at the moment.
“Growing Form” represents nature’s struggle for life, and was described by the artist, Moelwyn Merchant, as ‘like a tulip bud with the front leaf pulled out’, thereby suggesting the fragility of nature. It was commissioned by Burton Arts Council, and was unveiled on 11th September 1982 just outside Burton Library. It stands 2 metres high and is made of aluminium.