Statue in Noel-Baker Peace Garden replaced in Islington after 35 years

The statue has been in the basement of Islington Town Hall for years

The statue has been in the basement of Islington Town Hall for years - Credit: Greg Foxsmith

A statue removed from an Islington park more than 30 years ago has been officially reinstated. 

Upon Reflection is a self-portrait of artist Kevin Atherton, first unveiled in the Philip Noel-Baker Peace Garden, in Elthorne Park, in 1985.

The garden was developed in memory of the Nobel Peace Prize winner, peace campaigner and Labour MP, who died in 1982. Jeremy Corbyn attended its opening at the time - having become Islington North MP in 1983. 

Greg Foxsmith spotted the statue of Philip Noel-Baker, which is set to be officially unveiled today. 

Greg Foxsmith spotted the statue of Philip Noel-Baker, which is set to be officially unveiled today. - Credit: Greg Foxsmith

But the statue, which depicts the artist gazing at his reflection in a pond, was vandalised and eventually removed after less than two years. The plinth has remained empty since. 

The sculpture was thought to be lost, until the council’s heritage team found it in the basement of Islington Town Hall last year. 


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Since then, Jeremy Corbyn and councillors David Poyser and Asima Shaikh have been involved in discussions to have it reinstated.

A ceremony was held to mark its return last week.  

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Greg Foxsmith, a lawyer who lives nearby, welcomed the statue’s return. 

“I walk through [Elthorne Park] regularly and on Monday, there he was.”

He described the peace garden as a “lovely oasis of calm where, like the statue, people can go for ‘quiet reflection’.” 

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