Monument to John Candlish
A larger than life statue of Candlish in contemporary dress standing on a plainly-dressed pedestal of polished porphyritic granite, situated in well-kept parkland.
There are reclining stone lions at the end of the railings on either side, which are also Listed Grade II.
Shortly after Candlish's death a memorial was proposed 'so as to perpetuate in some suitable form the memory of a man who had done so much for the benefit of the town'. Ideas for scholarships, a school or a convalescent home were abandoned in favour of a statue.(1) £1000 was raised quickly from public subscription. The life-size bronze was described as 'a contribution to modern art [and] an added ornament to [Sunderland's] noble parks . . . A grateful tribute, as lasting as it is appropriate, to the ablest man who ever filled her civic chair'.(2)
Upwards of 15,000 people were said to have attended the unveiling, which was extensively covered in the local newspaper. The town was decked out with flags and there was a festive mood as a procession set off to the park at 3 o'clock in the afternoon. The memorial was unveiled by Sir Henry Havelock, who made a long and detailed speech in praise of Candlish, followed by the usual formalities in handing it over to the Mayor.
John Candlish (1816-1874) was born near Bellingham in Northumberland and moved to Ayres Quay in Sunderland as a young lad. He was apprenticed to the drapery industry at 14, subsequently learning French and joining debating classes. After some false starts he went into partnership as editor of the Sunderland Beacon newspaper in 1842. He then started a bottle-making business at Seaham, eventually making his fortune from exports of bottled foods to the colonies. Conservative for the first half of his life, Candlish later converted to Radicalism and Free Trade principles. He was elected as Liberal councillor in 1848, Mayor in 1858, MP in 1866. He freely gave his own money to libraries, hospitals and schools. His funeral in March 1874 was a well attended occasion.
Incised on front (south) of dado: JOHN CANDLISH M.P. / BORN / 1815 / DIED / 1874
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