A famous Todmorden landmark could soon be on the move, bringing its story full circle and linking the past and the future.
The John Fielden statue has resided in Centre Vale Park since the 1960s and was previously in Fielden Square since sometime in the 1920s - but Todmorden Town Councillors have decided to bring it back home to its original spot outside Todmorden Town Hall.
A majority of the council voted to relocate the statue, which honours the famous MP and head of the Fielden cotton dynasty, who piloted through Parliament the Ten Hours Act which in the mid-19th century limited the hours women and children could be forced to work. But moving “Honest John” will come at a cost - Calderdale Council has estimated it will cost £20,000 to resite the landmark. Town councillor David Tattersall, who proposed the move, believes it would be half that and putting the statue back would bring several benefits including financially, ultimately paying for itself.
“We have sent a letter to Calderdale Council with a quote which would be for £3,000 to relocate it, £5,000 for a new foundation and £2,000 for contingencies, half the estimate, and we have money in reserves to cover it,” he said.
The move would have future tourism benefits, enhancing the Town Hall which ran tours, it would be more secure under CCTV surveillance from vandalism or potential theft and it would be educational in terms of bringing Fielden and his achievements centre stage. Coun Tattersall’s presentation suggested an increase in visitors spending money in the town after coming to see it could cover the relocation costs in a year.
The aim is to re-unveil it on May 1, 2018, the 170th anniversary of the final enactment of the Ten Hours Act. If you have any views on the move, write to Todmorden Town Council, Todmorden Community College, Burnley Road, Todmorden, OL14 7BX.