National Recording Project


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

Joseph Sturge (1793-1859)


Type Statue

     The sculptor died before completing the figure of Sturge. He is shown as if teaching, his right hand resting on a Bible. Set upon its original base, a rare example in Birmingham, the figure groups, carved in Portland stone, consist of Charity, shown here as a woman suckling a Afro-Carribean child (a reference to the struggle against slavery), and Peace, shown holding an olive branch, with a lamb symbolic of innocence. The basin inscribed 'Temperance' is a symbol of the act of charity, whilst the fountain dispenses a pure and harmless drink.
     Costing £1000,(2) this memorial was unveiled in front of 12,000 onlookers at the junction of the city and Edgbaston, the district where he had lived.(3) A newspaper article of 1885 tells how the right hand of the figure fell off around ten years earlier, but makes reference to Sturge being one of a number of men 'who are beyond the ephemeral praise of their age'.(4) The memorial was moved to its present position in 1925, still near the original site
     Joseph Sturge was born into a wealthy Quaker family in Gloucester and did not move to Birmingham until 1822 when he set up as a corn merchant. Elected an alderman in Birmingham's first Borough Council of 1838, it was his philanthropic work towards the abolition of the negro slave trade, his support of temperance, Sunday schools and the establishment and funding of the Midlands' first reformatory, which earned him public commemoration and the epithet 'Apostle of Peace'.(1)


Basin inscribed; 'Temperance'

Contributor details

Contributor Role
Thomas, John Sculptor

Element details

Part of work Material Dimensions
Portrait statue Portland stone 180cm high

PMSA recording information

Reference Region
WMbiBIxx224 BM
General condition Fair
Surface condition
  • Other
Structural condition
  • None
  • None
Road Hagley Road
Precise location Five Ways, in front of Swallow Hotel
A-Z ref None
OS ref None

Sorry, we have no precise geographical information for this item.

Date of design None
Year of unveiling 1862
Unveiling details Unveiled 4th June1862
Commissioned by None
Duty of care Birmingham City Council
Listing status II
At risk? Not at risk

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