National Recording Project

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Detail from: Memorial to 158 Squadron by Peter W. Naylor, 2009

Sir Rowland Hill (1795-1879)

Summary

Type Statue

     A larger than life size statue of Rowland Hill standing with his right hand tucked into his waistcoat armhole. He is dressed in a Victorian frock coat and bow tie and his academic gown is on a pillar behind him.
     The idea of a commemorative statue was first accepted at a public meeting at the Vine Inn on 10th November 1876 when it was mooted by the proprietor Mr Phipps. Sir Rowland was 80 years old and living in the town. A committee of nine was appointed with Mr A W Beale as Honorary Secretary. This committee met 124 times in the next five years raising a total of £1,710 19s 0d. Seven sculptors submitted models to the open competition and Brock was chosen. The statue was unveiled on Wednesday 22nd June 1881, the Prince of Wales was invited but declined to attend. A time capsule was buried beneath the statue and was found to contain : 'a document recording the circumstances under which the statue was erected, copies of the Kidderminster Shuttle, Times and Sun, copies of Birmingham Post and Birmingham Gazette, copies of the London Times, Daily Mail, Standard and Telegraph, a set of coins of the realm, including a mitre, a number of American coins and stamps, a full set of English stamps, a postcard of each quality and a postal wrapper' (1)
     Sir Rowland Hill (1795-1879) was responsible for the Post-Office Reform in 1937, bringing in pre-paid stamps with the Penny Black in 1840. He received many awards, including the Gold Medal of the Society of Arts and the Freedom of the City of London. He was made secretary to the Post Office in 1854 and was knighted in 1860. On his death he was buried in Westminster Abbey.

Inscriptions

SIR ROWLAND HILL K.C.B./ Born at Kidderminster 1795./ Buried in Westminster Abbey 1879. / TO HIS CREATIVE MIND AND PATIENT ENERGY/ THE WORLD IS INDEBTED/ FOR THE/ PENNY POSTAGE/ INTRODUCED 1840. (on the front) Erected by/ 200,000/ subscribers/ throughout/ the three kingdoms, / the colonies/and the continents/ of Europe and America/ 1881. (obverse side) There are three brass plaques attached to the plinth. (1) refers to a civic ceremony held in 1995 to commemorate the bicentennial of his birth. (2) refers to a ceremony held 1 May 1990 to mark the 150th anniversary of the introduction of uniform postage (3) refers to a ceremony held 22 June 1881 to record the resiting of the statue

Contributor details

Contributor Role
Brock, Thomas Sculptor

Element details

Part of work Material Dimensions
Statue Sicilian marble 2.45m high x 1.1m wide x 1.1m deep
Pedestal Cornish grey granite 3.3m high x 1.9m x1.5m

PMSA recording information

Reference Region
WOwfKIxx002 BM
General condition Good
Surface condition
  • Biological growth
Structural condition
  • Broken, missing parts
Vandalism
  • Graffiti
Road Vicar Street
Precise location Junction of Vicar Street and Exchange Street
A-Z ref 141 E3
OS ref SO832766
Date of design 1879-1881
Year of unveiling 1881
Unveiling details 26 June 1881
Commissioned by Rowland Hill Committee
Duty of care unknown - work is monitored by District Council
Listing status II
At risk? No known risk

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