Bronze ‘handshake’ statue to celebrate Spalding’s 19th century hiring fairs

A photo montage shows how the statue might look on its Hall Place site.
A photo montage shows how the statue might look on its Hall Place site.
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A bronze statue of a farmer and shepherd could soon appear in Spalding’s Hall Place to commemorate the annual hiring fair held on the spot in the 19th century.

The statue has been created by sculptor Laury Dizengremel and is the second commission in Spalding Civic Society’s Martket Art Project, carried out in partnership with Transported Arts.

The figures stand 1.8m tall (around 5ft 9ins) on a limestone plinth of the same height, and are based on Laury’s nephew and his mate acting out a handshake to denote the farmer hiring the shepherd.

Transported has applied to South Holland District Council for planning consent for the bronze figures to be put where the finger post sign is, outside Gibbs shoe shop, a site already approved by council portfolio holder Gary Taylor, who has agreed the street sign can be switched to a nearby planter.

John Charlesworth, from the civic society, isn’t revealing the cost of the sculpture but says it is being met by public donations and by Transported “or, in other words, the Arts Council”.

Mr Charlesworth said the Arts Council spends its money on projects like art or theatre, so the funds could not be used for other projects.

The Market Arts project is designed to celebrate Spalding’s in its livestock market heyday when the town had a strong smell of the farm with sheep sold in Sheepmarket, cattle in New Road and pigs in Red Lion Street.

The annual hiring fair was held in May and Mr Charlesworth hopes the bronze figures will be in place by May but says everything hinges on planning consent being given.

He says the third commission is likely to be a farm animal – perhaps a sheep for Sheepmarket or a cow for New Road.

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Previously ...

Walk of art as Spalding is now a sculpture trail

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