Type Sculpture , Street Furniture
Two large stone scrolls, one on either side of the entrance to Hawne Park, feature text from one of Attwood's political speeches in favour of the Great Reform Bill of 1832. They frame an 'accelarated perspective' avenue as described by the eighteenth century poet William Shenstone, whose landscaped garden at The Leasowes is nearby.
The original plan appears to have been to include a statue of Thomas Attwood as part of the gateway feature.(1) However, the funds were instead used for a less conventional entrance: the carpark is disguised by an 'accelerated perspective' avenue created in consultation with the landscape architects. The text on the scroll was researched by David Patten.(2) The scheme was not universally popular: the chairman of Halesowen History Society claimed that it would have been better to move a statue of Thomas Attwood threatened by vandalism in Sparkbrook over to Hawne Park.(3)
Thomas Attwood (1783-1856), was born in Halesowen. He entered his father's banking firm in Birmingham in 1800. After his election in 1811 as high bailiff of the city, he showned increasing concern with the question of more equitable representation for the middle and lower classes in the House of Commons. He achieved renown in Birmingham by agitating for the repeal of Parliamentary Orders restricting trade. In January 1830, he founded the Birmingham Political Union. This was regarded as the most effective political organization exerting pressure on the government for passage of the Great Reform Bill of 1832. After passage of the Reform Bill, Attwood was elected one of the two members of Parliament for Birmingham, and sat in the House of Commons until ill health forced him to retire in 1839.
On left hand scroll: Peace, Law, Order,/God is our guide!/No sword we draw;/We kindle not war's fatal fires.
On right hand scroll: By union, justice, reason, law,/We claim the birthright of our sires,/And this we raise from sea to sea,/Our sacred watchword ~ Liberty!/(in smaller italic script) Thomas Attwood . [R]efor[m]er. b. Halesowen[,] 1783.
PMSA recording information