Sunday, 24 October 2010

The Building Worker

I have no idea how many statues there are in London; hundreds I’m sure, perhaps thousands. A quick Google to find the answer and I discover that there are also hundreds of websites about London statues and works of art; too many for me to wade through to answer my own question. It is quickly clear that the vast majority are of males, white, with a background in the military, parliament, and the aristocracy. Most of them we pass without a glance.

This one caught my eye recently, just north of the Tower. It is a male, but reflects a trade, not an individual. It is called The Building Worker, and the inscription reads:

For the thousands of building workers who have lost their lives at work, we commemorate you. For the thousands of building workers who are today building and rebuilding towns and cities across the United Kingdom, we celebrate you.

The statue was commissioned by UCATT - Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians, Britain's trade union for construction workers, which has 120000 members. It was designed by Alan Wilson, and unveiled by Ken Livingstone, mayor of London, and Alan Ritchie, UCATT General Secretary,in October 2005. I particularly like it because of the detailing Wilson has achieved (it's a carpenter), with claw hammer hanging from his belt, other tools in the pouch, level over his shoulder, and of course a hard hat and reflective jacket.

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