John Harrison StatueThe project to raise a statue to Barrow's famous son
Although there is a plaque in Westminster Abbey, there is no statue to celebrate the achievements of Harrison anywhere in the country or, as far as we know, anywhere else. This will therefore not only be a first for Barrow but for the world and we are approaching donors, both nationally and internationally, for help in raising the balance of the money for the project to go ahead. This page will give regular updates on the progress of the project. If you wish to donate please go to the Donate page or get in touch with Better Barrow. Thank You.
The statue will be life size, made of bronze standing on a stone plinth. Harrison is depicted cradling H4, the watch which was the basis for all subsequent marine chronometers, in his hands. He is winding up the timepiece which would allow mariners to tell the time accurately at sea and enable them to work out their position. Harrison is shown in working clothes balancing on a section of the globe: symbolising not only his struggle to find the mechanical solution but also in dealing with the vested interests and bureaucracy of the Longitude Board. Just behind the standing figure is a shipís bollard and mooring rope, making the crucial nautical connection between the sea and Harrisonís work. The longitude of Barrow-upon-Humber, where he lived while developing the worldís first marine chronometer, is marked on the globe by lines representing the bi-metallic strip, another important invention of Harrison’s.
The commission will be carried out by Marcus Cornish, a nationally renowned sculptor who has created works ranging from Paddington Bear at the station to sculptures for HRH the Prince of Wales.
SITING OF JOHN HARRISON STATUE
As you are aware, Better Barrow have launched an appeal for funds to commission a statue of John Harrison to be erected within the village. We would like to canvas residents’ views as to where the statue should be located.
As discussed below (see Statue Siting 31st October 2017), we have narrowed the prospective sites to the Market Place and on the Church Bank – as depicted in the two photo-shopped views. However, it is not as easy as saying “we want it here”; we will have to gain the permission of the land owner and then go through a full planning application with North Lincs Council. The residents’ views will be very helpful in progressing this project.
If you have a preference for one site over the other, or if you’d just like to comment – please fill in the form below.
Statue Siting – 31st Oct 2017
Marcus Cornish, the sculptor who has been selected to create the statue of John Harrison, visited Barrow on the 31st October 2017. The aim of the visit was two-fold:
- For the BBCP to see a developed maquette of the statue;
- To look at possible locations for the statue’s eventual siting.
Marcus has developed the maquette into a more finished version than was available at the selection day, incorporating a number of suggestions that the BBCP had given him. As well as a cleaner finish, the clothing had been developed based on original garments that had been loaned to Marcus and a ship’s bollard with rope entwined around it had been added to emphasise the marine connection (this also acts as added security – making it more difficult for the statue to be stolen for scrap metal). The images below show three views of the maquette as well as Marcus making some on-site modifications to the rope (please click on the images to see them properly).
The BBCP are considering two possible locations within the village’s conservation area for the statue:
- The Market Place;
- The area around the Holy Trinity Church.
To get a better idea of how the statue would look in these two locations Marcus had brought a cardboard mock-up of the statue together with a plywood base. Below are a few pictures of the mock-up in both locations – again please click on the images to see them properly. We hope to add some later where we photoshop the maquette into the locations
While we now have an idea of what the statue would look like in both locations there are a number of other factors to take into account before making any decision. While the BBCP are commissioning the statue we do not own the land on either of the two locations. The Market Place is owned by the Parish Council and the land around the Church is owned by the CofE. We therefore need to agree with both parties on matters such as final ownership of the statue, the necessary ground work to be carried out on both locations, installation of additional lighting, etc. In addition, since both sites are within the Conservation Area there will be various planning procedures we need to follow – as a starter we need to discuss with the North Lincs Conservation Officer what steps he thinks will be necessary to achieve permission at both locations.
Once we have a clearer understanding of the factors and procedures associated with both locations we will come back to the village with more details on the two options.
Statue Selection – 3rd July 2017
The desire for a statue of Harrison arose from the original questionnaire and consultation in the village about what people would like to see in Barrow, especially in the Market Place. A statue celebrating John Harrison was high on people’s wish lists. Having researched possible artists and consulted widely – including discussions with the Larkin Society which was responsible for the statue of Philip Larkin in Hull Station – three sculptors were short-listed.
Each submitted a maquette – a small version of the final piece – and gave a presentation to an invited panel (see below for a list) as well as being interviewed by the Better Barrow trustees. Following this, a public consultation was held and Marcus Cornish’s design was chosen. Feedback indicated that people were impressed by the depiction of Harrison as a working man, always active and focused on finding a solution to the problem of longitude. He is portrayed in his working clothes, carefully winding H4. They also liked the representation of the globe beneath his feet, referring both to his work and to his worldwide importance.
There will now be much more detailed discussions with Marcus about his work and the siting of the statue, whether in the Market Place or near the church. In addition, of course, we will be preparing publicity and fund-raising information for the next stage of the project.
Attendees at John Harrison Sculpture Presentation Day
Mayor Cllr Peter Clark
Cllr David Wells
Lisa Moran, Arts Manager, North Lincolnshire Council
Denise Berry, Tourism Manager, North Lincolnshire Council
Cllr Peter Swann, Chair, Barrow-upon-Humber Parish Council
Cllr Robert Lyden, Parish Council Representative to BBCP
Jacqueline Setterfield, President, Barrow Meridian Rotary
Christine Mitchell, Holy Trinity Church Warden
Jackie Poustie, Headteacher, John Harrison School
Ruby Bell & Thomas Keates, Head Girl and Boy, J H School
Andrew King, Clockmaker and Biographer of John Harrison
Mr Toby Dennis, Lord Lieutenant of Lincolnshire
Sir Reginald Tyrwhitt, Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Lincolnshire
Dr Veronica Pettifer, Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Lincolnshire
Michael Stewart, Deputy Master of the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers
Carol Collinson, Chair of the Larkin Statue Committee, Hull
Harold Gosney, Sculptor
The Trustees of Better Barrow Community Project