National Recording Project


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



Type Statue

     Stone portrait statue. The bearded Dorrian is shown in Victorian clothes ... his arms folded across middle. Holding book in rh.
     About a year after Dorrian's death a public meeting was called by the Deputy Mayor, Alderman Nicholson. It was resolved that Dorian's "self-sacrificing devotion and unfailing charity" be recognised by a statue to be placed on the north side of Victoria Square. A committee was established and a subscription list opened amongst the trade and other societies in the town the responses to which indicated "the esteem and veneration in which the benevolent doctor was held." Estimates for the statue were obtained, the commission going to Cassidy, whose stone statue was "of heroic proportions." There was some dispute over its siting, which touched on some sensitive subjects, and appeared to divide the council between Dorrian's Anglo-Irish champions and the other councillors. At a meeting of the General Purposes Committee in September 1897, Councillor Kearns sought to obtain a site for the statue in Victoria Square. Referring to the recently-erected statue of trade unionist John Fielding, he said that it would be better to site the Dorrian memorial outside the park because otherwise "some day or other they would have the Park filled with little piecers and all classes of statues, if it was allowed to be used for that purpose."(3) Councillor Maginnis seconded Kearns' amendment, arguing that Dorrian had just as much claim to space in the square as the statue of the Anglican Doctor and philanthropist Samuel Chadwick (erected 1873). Dorrian's charity was more than the equal of Chadwick's, Maginnis claimed, since the latter "was devoted to one section," meaning members of the Church of England. The Mayor concluded by saying that it would "be a mistake to open the door to filling the square with statuary" and that a stone statue would be out of place. The amendment was lost and Dorrian took up residence on the Park Terrace.(4)
     James Dorrian, (1828-1895), Bolton doctor. He was born in County Down, Ireland, and was educated in Dublin. He came to Bolton around 1850, becoming "one of the best known medical gentlemen in the town or district." Many of his patients were Irish or Catholic, and he gained a reputation for charity and philanthropy through ministering to the Irish poor.(1) Though rather brusque in manner, he was said to have "a heart as tender as a woman's" which was "ever responsive to the cry of charity."(2) He was less active in other areas of public life, restricting his participation to the local bench, which he joined as a J.P in 1880.


Inscription reads: JAMES DORRIAN.M.D./1826-1895/ERECTED BY/PUBLIC SUBSCRIPTION/TO COMMEMORATE/A LIFE OF/USEFULNESS Inscription is set in carving of xx branches

Contributor details

Contributor Role
Cassidy, John Sculptor

Element details

Part of work Material Dimensions
Statue Portland stone None
Pedestal Stone 206cm high x 213cm square

PMSA recording information

Reference Region
General condition Fair
Surface condition
  • Abrasions, cracks, splits
  • Corrosion, Deterioration
  • Biological growth
Structural condition
  • Other
  • None
Road None
Precise location Terrace
A-Z ref p.145 D7
OS ref SD706093
Date of design 1895-98
Year of unveiling 1898
Unveiling details 29 January 1898
Commissioned by Dorrian Memorial Committee
Duty of care Bolton MBC
Listing status Don't know
At risk? No known risk

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