Type Sculpture , Statue
The statue of the king shows him in military uniform, robed, with the orb in his left hand and the sceptre cradled in his right arm. Gaze shown to left of centre. The statue is mounted on a pedestal with four fluted angular pilasters enclosing four inscribed panels. These latter are very worn and illegible. Above these are smaller square decorative panels, each with identical scrolling motifs. The pedestal sits on four hexagonal steps, in a darker grey granite.
On 4th March 1902 the MP for Bootle, Col. T. Myles Sandys wrote to the Borough Council, offering to supply a copy of the statue of King Edward VII by George Wade, currently under completion.(1) Wade was apparently a personnel friend of Sandys and thus willing to produce a copy of his work. The Council accepted this offer, setting in motion a very drawn out process which took several years to resolve. The major issue was where the statue was to be sited, and a position in one of the Stanley Road Gardens was suggested to Col. Sandys by letter in June.(2) Sandys made a written reply, but the contents are not noted.(3) No further business concerning the statue took place until January 1903 when it was reported that the stone for the base had been delivered.(4) It was ordered that this should be positioned in Stanley Road Gardens, together with a model of the statue for inspection. It is not clear whether this referred to Morton Gardens, Stanley Road or to the area further north known as the Recreation Grounds, which were later developed into the present day Stanley Gardens. One week later the model had been inspected and the Borough Engineer was ordered to draw up plans for the laying out of the land.(5) Again, the precise area referred to here remains unclear.
In the following month a letter was submitted by Col. Sandys stating that he favoured the Morton Gardens site to any in Derby Park.(6) This resulted in the acceptance of Morton Gardens as the site for the statue, although official adoption only came later.(7) A flurry of activity followed, the borough Engineer being ordered to begin preparing foundations immediately with a grant of £60.(8) A model of the statue was again inspected in Morton Gardens on 21st February.(9)
The first signs that there was a major disagreement over the final site of the statue appeared in March 1903 when the whole issue was referred back to the Parks and Baths Committee for further consideration.(10) At the same meeting an amendment was tabled to adopt Derby Park as the site, this being defeated by 26 votes to 8. Two weeks later the issue was again raised with Derby Park being vetoed, whilst Morton Gardens was again adopted.(11) This latter site was finally approved on 1 April 1903.(12) A resolution was proposed to this effect, supported by a petition from the Bootle Reform Group with 51 signatories. Two amendments were tabled, the first being the Derby Park should be adopted was defeated by 17 votes to 13. The second that the land given by Lord Derby on Stanley Road (Stanley Gardens) should be used, was also defeated by 18 votes to 11. This latter amendment referred to the land formerly known as the Recreation Ground.
The actual site under consideration becomes unclear again immediately, since from the 22nd April minutes, it appears that a plan for the positioning of the statue was submitted to Lord Derby for approval. The entry reads: 'Sketch plan submitted showing the laying out of the piece of land in Stanley Road given by Lord Derby, and position of the statue'.(13) This appears in contradiction to the vote of 1/4/1903 when the amendment that the land given by Lord Derby should be used was defeated. The Committee had clearly changed its mind, since early in May the resolution of 1/4/1903 was rescinded and the Stanley Gardens site adopted.(14) It emerges that this final site in Stanley Road was on land which had not actually been officially ceded to the Council, since on 20th May the Draft Deed of Gift was reported to be ready.(15) The Borough Engineer was also authorised to begin work on preparing the ground forthwith.
Thus to summarise the somewhat complex proceedings to date, there were three possible sites for the statue. Originally a position in Morton Gardens, Stanley Road was favoured, although some members preferred Derby Park. The former was eventually adopted, but the decision altered in favour of an area of land further north on Stanley Road. This area was not actually developed as a garden at the time and was part of the property of Lord Derby. It is possible that the change came about through pressure from Lord Derby, since the donor clearly favoured the Morton Gardens Site.
Lord Derby approved the proposed layout of the statue and gardens in early June, when the cost of the whole operation, including the statue, was estimated at £2,500.(16) On 17th July, the Committee reported that the statue was ready for delivery. Unfortunately the name of the company who cast it presents problems, the first reference being to J. W. Singer and Co., whilst the second is to Stringer.(17) This latter reference concerns the company' office to assist with erection, which was accepted. Also on the 22nd July the Committee provisionally accepted the tender of G. Woods and Son of Bootle to supply the granite steps and base (£135). This suggests that a second base was required, since the material for such a base was reported to have arrived on the 21st January 1903. By 22nd July, work had begun on preparing the Stanley Gardens site, which presumably entailed laying out the gardens according to the accepted plans. In the following month Col. Sandys wrote to the Committee regarding the unveiling of the statue, with the result that a Commission was set up to organise it.(18) The Woods tender was accepted subject to contract,(19) with the same company winning the contract for carriage of the stone.(20) In September 1903, the Committee had to inform Col. Sandys that the unveiling could not be undertaken until the following spring, since the surrounding gardens were not finished.(21)
No further business regarding the statue took place until January 1904 when the Fire Brigade Committee resolved that the unveiling of the statue should coincide with the opening of the new Fire Station.(22) A sub-committee was set up to make the necessary arrangements. The following month the Fire Brigade Committee reported that arrangements had been made for a joint ceremony, but no further mention is made of this idea, which certainly did not take place.(23) Clearly the project was some way off completion since four months later the Parks and Baths Committee was arranging payment (£10.15s) to John Geraghty for the cutting of the inscription in the base(24) and it would seem likely that the opening of the Fire Station went ahead by itself.
The Council became rather impatient with the delay in the opening of the Gardens and the unveiling of the statue, since at a joint meeting of the Finance, Health, Parks and Baths Committee, it was resolved to open the garden informally to the public on the 13th July 1904, unless Lord Derby put forward a date for an official opening.(25) Lord Derby may therefore have been slow to agree on a date or the opening; the Committee's tactics worked however, since a week later an official opening was set for 18th July. The Council was to meet Lord and Lady Derby at Derby Park and proceed from there to Stanley Gardens for the unveiling carried out by Lady Derby.(26) The final event in this protracted episode was the agreement by the Committee to present an album of views of the statue and gardens to the King.(27)
Edward VII (1841 - 1910). Edward Albert proved a hugely popular figure in England although he was excluded from many official roles as Prince of Wales since his mother, Queen Victoria held him responsible for the demise of Prince Albert, a loss from which she never recovered. On his succession to the throne in 1902, he brought the crown back into the public eye after the reclusive later years of Victoria's reign.
EDWARD VII R I
PMSA recording information