Telford Square and Thomas Telford statue officially opened

Telford Square, the location of the iconic statue of Thomas Telford, was officially opened this afternoon.

Telford Square and Thomas Telford statue officially opened

Over the past few months, the square and statue have undergone a major restoration as part of Telford’s 50th birthday celebrations, thanks to investment from Telford & Wrekin Council’s £2m Telford50 Legacy Fund.

The restoration has been overseen by the Council with work carried out by local craftspeople and contractors, including Paul Kennedy Studios which re-patinated the figure of Thomas Telford.

The much-loved statue of Thomas Telford is synonymous with Telford.  The town was named after him, and wherever you see Telford mentioned, you are likely to see the sculpture. 

Cast in bronze and iron, the 3m high, 8m wide sculpture by sculptor Andre Wallace was unveiled in 1988.  It depicts the figure of the great Thomas Telford in waistcoat, shirt and trousers leaning over the letter ‘o’ in Telford, holding a top hat in his hands, with his coat hanging on the letter ‘d’.  The letters spelling out ‘Telford’ were originally painted in black and grey.

As well as restoring the statue to its former glory, the water features have been reinstated, clock tower revamped, benches and bins refurbished, railings and fences repainted, lighting replaced and block paving re-laid and repointed.

Cllr Richard Overton, Telford & Wrekin Council cabinet member for conservation and heritage, said: “2018 has been a fantastic year of celebrations for Telford.  I have loved every minute, but for me this has to be a highlight.  It really is wonderful to see the water features working and the statue looking so good. 

“Having staff from the former Telford Development Corporation attend the opening has helped to make today a special day.  Their vision and hard work created our New Town, including the square.  It was an honour to welcome them.”

Sculptor Andre Wallace was unable to be at the opening, but on hearing about the sculpture refurbishment said: “I do appreciate that people do like it and that it gives pleasure.  I am pleased that people feel ownership strong enough to want to retain and maintain it.”

The fountain, which has been out of commission for around 10 years, was switched on to officially open the square.  Allan Howard, principal architect at the former Telford Development Corporation flicked the switch. 

Here’s a link to a gallery of photos taken today.

Allan’s memories of working on Telford Square, from inception to completion in 1988, are captured here.

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