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Title SAMUEL TAYLOR CHADWICK
Collection Public Monuments and Sculpture Association
Sculptor Birch, C. B.
Date Completion 1873
Date Design 1869-70
Description Larger than life-size bronze portrait statue of Chadwick surmounting pedestal of Cornish grey granite. On the pedestal is bronze relief showing Chadwick's wife, seated, surrounded by children. Her right arm is raised towards the Orphanage which her husband established and endowed.
Additional Information Samuel Taylor Chadwick (1809-1876), doctor and philanthropist, was born in Urmston, Lancashire, into a relatively wealthy farming family. He trained as a doctor and after a period practising medicine in Wigan, he moved, in 1837, to Bolton. Chadwick soon developed a reputation as an able doctor with a willingness to help the poor. He was concerned to improve the public health of the town, a subject he pursued when serving as a Conservative councillor from 1858-61. Throughout these years Chadwick gave generously in time and money to a wide range of schemes to improve the lives of the local working classes. His personal life was marked by tragedy, having married Anne Hall of Bolton in 1831, their two children died in childhood. Ill health forced Chadwick to retire from his medical practice in 1863, moving to Southport; an occasion marked by numerous tributes including a full-length portrait paid for by some 7,000 working-class subscribers. His interest in Bolton continued and in 1868 he gave 17,000, later increased to 22,000, to establish an orphanage and model dwellings in the town; the rent from the houses being used to provide revenue for the orphanage. He declined a request to stand as Conservative parliamentary candidate for the borough in 1868. By the time of his death in 1876 Chadwick had seen his orphanage opened. Among his bequests was 5,000 to establish a natural history museum in the town's main park.
Id Number Current Accession MR/BOL17
Id Number Current Repository MRBOL171
Inscription Inscription on front of pedestal reads: CHADWICK
Location Bolton, Greater Manchester
Measurements Dimensions Figure(305 cm high), Pedestal(400cm high x 290cm wide)
Material Bronze, Granite
Notes The idea of raising a statue to Chadwick began to be discussed in January 1868, immediately after the announcement of his liberal gift to the town. The initial discussions originated among the working classes, the first meeting taking place in the Robin Hood public house, Ashburner Street, but the memorial movement was soon widened, a public meeting, chaired by the mayor, being held at the end of January. The collecting of funds was put in motion with subscription books being sent to the town's mills and workplaces. Reflecting the desire that the scheme should not be dominated by the wealthy, subscriptions were not to exceed one guinea. By June almost 7,000 people had promised a total of 600. Other elements of the scheme also began to be settled. Having debated the merits of a number of locations, Nelson Square was decided upon as the most suitable site for the statue. Some designers and sculptors had already declared an interest in the project. William Calder Marshall, whose statue of Crompton already stood in Nelson Square, informed the memorial committee of his interest whilst Mr. W. Bonnar, one-time manager of a local terracotta works, submitted an extravagant Gothic memorial with a statue of Chadwick beneath a canopy, with figures at the corners of the base, 'emblematic of the staple trades of Bolton.' The committee, having taken advice from George Godwin, editor of The Builder, invited a number of sculptors to submit designs. Models were sent by William Calder Marshall, H. G. Geflowski, Charles B. Birch, Edgar G. Papworth, Joseph Durham and John Birnie Phillip. Thomas Woolner, John Bell and Matthew Noble did not submit designs. The designs were put on public exhibition at the Mechanics' Institution. It was Birch's design, at 850 by far the cheapest of those submitted, and one of the few below the 'about 1,000' suggested cost, that the committee selected though they did stipulate that the final statue should also include a memorial plaque representing Mrs Chadwick. Geflowski's design, the only other design below 1,000, was the runner up. There followed a noticeable lack of urgency in completing the scheme which in part may have been due to the slow speed at which the promised funds and other funds were collected. Meanwhile Birch went ahead with preparing the sculpture, the full model receiving the committee's approval in November 1870. By the time, in October 1871, the sculpture had been cast at Prince's Phoenix Foundry, Southwark, fresh energies were evident. The committee, responding to the fact that the fund had still not raised sufficient to meet the necessary costs, agreed to remove the one-guinea ceiling on subscriptions. It also decided to reopen the question of location; an issue which appears to have been prompted by correspondence in the local press suggesting that if Chadwick were placed in Nelson Square, then this would require the removal of the Crompton statue, possibly to a position outside of the new town hall. The Memorial Committee were persuaded but instead of disturbing the Crompton statue agreed to approach the council for permission to place Chadwick in the public space being created in front of the new town hall. There followed another period of inactivity until the spring of 1873 when the committee approached the Town Hall Committee with what it considered to be a non-controversial request to site the statue in front of the town hall, then nearing completion. The refusal of the Town Hall Committee both surprised and galvanised the Memorial Committee. Speakers at a public meeting on 12 May 1873 were suitably indignant about those councillors who had refused the statue a place in front of the town hall, especially when it was reported that the opinion had been expressed that such a civic space should be 'reserved for public men of national importance.' The public indignation was sufficient for the council to rescind the decision of the Town Hall Committee though in agreeing to allow the statue in the square, it did add the barbed rider that if the statue, once installed, was considered by the council as unsuitable then the Memorial Committee would be responsible for moving it to another site. Anxieties over the preparations for the forthcoming royal opening of the town hall were in part behind this decision, but there were also council members who had other views on how the new town hall square ought to develop. When the Prince of Wales opened the town hall in June 1873 there was no sign of the Chadwick statue. In the following month a meeting of the Town Hall Committee, Chadwick Memorial Committee, the town hall architects and the stoical Birch did settle on a site though the meeting again revealed the tensions surrounding the siting the Chadwick statue in what was clearly recognised as the town's principal public space. If the final site was not as near the town hall as Birch had wanted, satisfaction was found in the fact that the location was close to that of Chadwick's surgery on first settling in Bolton.

As the day of the unveiling approached, the larger subscriptions had brought in sufficient funds to cover the final instalment of the 930 owed to Birch. Larger subscriptions had removed any possible shortfall though it was still revealing that 17,683 subscribers had given less than sixpence. The Chadwick statue was finally unveiled in August 1873. The ceremonies included a procession of the town's trades carrying banners and displaying models of their crafts. Such was the crush in front of the town hall that it was decided to advance the time of the unveiling. This was carried out by James Barlow MP, who had been mayor when the first public meeting had been organised in January 1868. The ceremonies included children from the recently opened orphanage placing flowers around the statue. The festivities carried on with a meal inside the town hall. Samuel and Anne Chadwick did not attend any part of the ceremonies.
Rights Owner Public Monuments and Sculpture Association
Source MR
Work Type Statue
 

 

 

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