Could Dick Whittington be on his way back to Archway?
- Credit: Archant
Campaign launched to reinstate statue of famous Lord Mayor of London
A campaign has been launched to reinstate a statute of Dick Whittington to its original Archway home.
The carving of the four times Lord Mayor of London used to sit outside the Whittington Almshouses, at the foot of Highgate Hill, near the spot where Dick was said to have heard the Bow Bells ring out on his way home to Gloucester.
The Almshouses were demolished and relocated to East Grinstead in 1964 when the A1 was widened - it is thought the statue went with them.
But with Archway undergoing huge redevelopment, some think the time is right to bring the statue back.
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Walter Roberts, who lives in the Brecknock Road Estate, said the loss of the “beautifully sculpted” statue could have led to a decline in tourism revenue for the area.
He said: “Dick Whittington has been famous for centuries.
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“In longevity alone his universal popularity surpasses that of any other famous figure since the Middle Ages. His real life romance with Alice Fitzwarren was the earliest documented historical romance of a famous Englishman in the record books.”
He added: “Perhaps the Council could make a formal request to the Whittington Charity in the public cause for return of the statue or alternatively have an exact replica of it sculpted for the proposed public square in Archway as Highgate Hill is where the legend had its genesis.”
Kate Calvert, from the Better Archway Foundation said: “I’ve heard this mentioned - people have been saying we should get the old one back.
“If we could do that, it wouldn’t be all that expensive and it would be a nice gesture.
“I suppose you could put it in the new pedestranised area. Why not?”
Richard Whittington was a medieval merchant and a politician and the real-life inspiration for the English folk tale Dick Whittington and His Cat.
In his lifetime he financed a number of public projects, such as drainage systems in poor areas of medieval London, and a hospital ward for unmarried mothers.
Islington Council were unable to comment due to purdah restrictions in the run up to the general election.