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History springs to life in Spalding's Hall Place

A superb sculpture commemorating the historic May Hiring Fair in Spalding will be unveiled to the public on Bank Holiday Monday (May 6).

The cast bronze artwork, which will be revealed in Hall Place at 11am, depicts a farmer taking on a young shepherd for the next year, as would happen in that location each May until about 100 years ago.

Carters, dairymaids, cooks, thatchers and ploughboys would also pour into the town to offer themselves for hire for 12 months.

Author and farmer Rex Sly is immortalised in miniature on the exterior of Bookmark, in The Crescent Spalding.
Author and farmer Rex Sly is immortalised in miniature on the exterior of Bookmark, in The Crescent Spalding.

The Hiring Fair sculpture is the latest commission in the town centre's Market Art Project, organised by Spalding and District Civic Society in partnership with Transported, the arts programme for Boston and South Holland.

It follows the installation of 14 small bronze statues – all depicting local people linked to the heritage and culture of Spalding and its immediate surroundings.

The sculpture is by Laury Dizengremel, whose life-size statue of landscaper Capability Brown is on the Thames Walk in London.

The Hiring is about one metre high and its cost was met by Transported, which is funded by the Arts Council, and donations via the civic society.

Local farmer Rex Sly – one of the people who features in the Market Art Sculpture Trail – will unveil The Hiring and there will be some music to accompany the occasion.

Civic society president John Charlesworth said: "We're delighted with the sculpture and excited to be able to reveal it to the public on Monday.

"We believe it really adds something special to Hall Place and perfectly complements the Market Art Sculpture Trail.

"We're very grateful to Laury for her work and to Transported for their support.

"Please do come along and support the event and get a first look at a wonderful piece of artwork. Afterwards people might then like to do the trail."

Transported programme director Nick Jones said: "The Hiring is another example of public art enriching the place, which is what we are all about."

To find out more about the civic society visit www.spaldingcivicsociety.org.uk and for Transported see www.transportedart.com

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