National Recording Project

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

Richard Green

Summary

Type Statue

     Seated figure of Green shown in relaxed pose with his Newfoundland dog sitting at his feet, the dog's head resting on its master's left knee. The dog's right ear is missing. On the bow-fronted, granite pedestal are two bronze bas-relief panels, the east-facing one showing a shipyard scene, the west-facing one showing a single ship.
     Richard Green was a local ship owner and philanthropist, and this statue was proposed by friends and admirers within days of his death in 1863, being erected in its present location in 1866. 'A big impressive monument showing the shipowner seated at ease, his foolishly adoring Newfoundland dog, Hector, resting its head on his knee: this impression of domesticity and power recalls Green's philanthropy and concern for the individual which won him the affection of East Londoners. The Poplar Hospital which he assisted, and the Sailors' Home which he founded, stood near the site of his statue outside the Poplar Baths and Laundries. His death was noted in the Illustrated London News as "little less than a calamity". On the west face of his pedestal, in strong relief, is an ugly-looking frigate under production for the Spanish government at the time of Green's death. On the east face is shown the first ship dispatched by Green's Blackwall shipyard on the China run . . . Green . . . found time to improve his men's conditions and, more broadly, the Merchant Service, as well as for local good works. His major role in founding the Merchant Service training ship, HMS Worcester, later secured him its first Chairmanship; he was also involved in forming the Royal Naval Reserve at the time of his death. Green's statue, proposed within days, was subscribed by admirers both local and from the far continents plied by his ships'.(1) More recently, the statue suffered the loss of the right ear of Hector, the faithful Newfoundland dog seated at its master's feet. A contemporary newspaper account comments: 'In 1967 [10 year old Patrick Heneghan] hit the headlines when a trip to the swimming baths ended with him being trapped by a dog. Patrick's friends had thrown his swimming trunks onto the statue. He climbed up to rescue them and his leg became trapped between the stone dog and the ship owner. Firemen were called to the scene but they couldn't budge Patrick, then of Huddart Street, Bow. He was finally freed after firemen cut an ear off the dog'.(2) In the Survey of London series, volume XLIII, the statue is referred to as being 'executed in 1865-6 by the sculptor Edward W. Wyon (1811-85), who had already produced a bust of Green. The bronze casting, thought "very fine" was carried out at the Southwark foundry of Henry Prince and Company. The well composed figure shows Green, whose features were modelled from a death mask, seated with his Newfoundland dog at his knee . . . The statue was unveiled in May 1866 and it is that year-date, not the year of Green's death, that is on the pedestal'.(3)
     Richard Green 1830-63.

Inscriptions

On the bronze base of the sculpture, incised, east-facing: EDWARD W. WYON / Sculptor. 1865 [1865 in italics] On the bronze base of the sculpture, incised, west-facing: HENRY PRINCE & COMPY / Statue Foundry. Southwark On the front of the granite pedestal, north-facing, in embossed lettering: RICHARD GREEN / 1866

Related works : A bust of Richard Green which is now at Kenswick Manor, Worcestershire

Contributor details

Contributor Role
Wyon, Edward William Sculptor
Henry Prince and Co, None Foundry

Element details

Part of work Material Dimensions
Statue Bronze 150cm high approx x 90cm wide approx x 155cm deep approx
Two bas relief panels Bronze 53cm high x 122cm wide
Pedestal Granite 232cm high x 120cm wide x 190cm deep

PMSA recording information

Reference Region
TH062 UEL
General condition Good
Surface condition
Structural condition
  • Broken, missing parts
Vandalism
  • Graffiti
Road East India Dock Road
Precise location Outside Poplar swimming baths
A-Z ref 84 Dc 45
OS ref TQ379810
Date of design 1865-66
Year of unveiling 1866
Unveiling details 11 May 1866
Commissioned by Admirers of Richard Green, both local and overseas
Duty of care London Borough of Tower Hamlets
Listing status II
At risk? No known risk

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