A lot of monuments and statues have, arguably quite rightly, been pulled down of late. Many of them concerning dusty, murky figures from the past whose public service and philanthropy has been overshadowed by the sins of their accumulated wealth.
However, I was delighted to see two of Birmingham’s most famous statues make a comeback recently.
Brummies took the ‘Floozie in the Jacuzzi’ to their hearts when she was unveiled in 1993, all 1.75 tonnes of her. The fountain, with a flow of 3,000 gallons per minute, is one of the largest in Europe. And I for one was disgruntled when she was given a garden glade to repose in rather than the sparkling water we had all enjoyed on a warm city day. After all, it did not make sense of T S Eliot’s words inscribed around the pool:
“And the pool was filled with water out of sunlight,
And the lotos rose, quietly, quietly,
The surface glittered out of heart of light,
And they were behind us, reflected in the pool.
Then a cloud passed, and the pool was empty.”
I was dismayed further when our floozie disappeared completely for remedial works. I missed her.
But now she’s back, and in all her glory, ready for the Commonwealth Games and Birmingham’s moment in the spotlight.
The other statue making a welcome comeback is one affectionately dubbed ‘The Carpet Salesmen’, a glittering golden portrayal of the city’s founding fathers Matthew Boulton, James Watt and William Murdoch, which takes pride of place outside Symphony Hall in Broad Street.
And of course, they are not holding a carpet but studying steam engine plans that would drive the industrial revolution that Birmingham was founded upon. I wonder what they would make of our present-day New Street Station?
But perhaps the most interesting question when it comes to statues is “Who will be the next?” Have you got what it takes to be immortalised in stone? Now there is a thought but just beware. Brummies are bound to come up with a nickname that will bring you back down to earth…
Photo: Killoran Wills