Monument to Queen Victoria
Depicting the Queen as an old woman in the midst of voluminous robes, this statue shows her in the twilight years of her reign. The work now lacks the Queen's crown and the second of two figures on each of the bosses of her throne. The remaining figure (about 25cms tall) is of a mother and child.
Proving that the people of Tynemouth were 'second to none in their patrotism', this was only the second memorial to the late Queen unveiled in the north of England. The £1000 cost of the statue was collected despite it being a time of financial strictures imposed by the Boer War. Difficulties arose in agreeing a site, but eventually the village green was decided upon. The statue was a second cast from the mould used for Turner's monument to the Queen in Delhi, resulting in a significant saving of cost.
The day of the unveiling was marred by heavy rain, but a large crowd was in attendance nonetheless. The Mayor gave a valedictory speech and the Mayoress - who had been much involved in the statue's fundraising - performed the unveiling. She was presented with a pendant as a souvenir of the day. The ceremony was followed by an exhibition drill by the Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade, a 'sumptuous tea' in Tynemouth Palace and then a torchlight procession through the rain to the park, followed by fireworks.(1)
In 1909 a meeting of the Town Improvement Committee reported the unsatisfactory appearance of the memorial due to staining of the pedestal from the bronze above. Letters to the sculptor had not been answered and it was resolved that the surveyor 'do what is necessary', though it is not clear what this resulted in.
The memorial was renovated in 1994, when the statue was given a protective coating and the railings around it replaced. This work was funded by the Council and European regional development money.(2)
Incised on ribbon round top of pedestal, front: VICTORIA DEL GRATIA; right: BRITANNIA UMBREGINA; left: INDIA EIMPERATRIX.
Incised on dado front of pedestal: ERECTED BY PUBLIC SUBSCRIPTION / TO THE MEMORY OF OUR LATE BELOVED QUEEN / VICTORIA / BY THE INHABITANTS OF THE / BOROUGH OF TYNEMOUTH / DURING THE MAYORALTY OF / ALDERMAN DAGLISH J.P. / 1901-02 AND UNVEILED BY THE MAYORESS OCTOBER 25TH 1902 / A BENEFICENT WISE AND GLORIOUS REIGN / ANNO DOMINI 1837 TO 1901.
Incised on rear of bronze throne: HONI SOIT QUI MAL Y PENSE
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