Statue of Queen Victoria
The statue of Queen Victoria which stands at the seaward end of Warrior Square was unveiled by the Marquis of Abergavenny, together with the Mayor and other local dignitaries on the 31st of December 1902 in front of a reported crowd of several thousand spectators. As part of the spectacular, flag poles along the seafront flew the Union Jack alternating with the White Ensign and the Corporation Band was playing on the lower gardens immediately behind the statue. Following the unveiling, the assembled dignitaries retired for lunch to the nearby Eversfield Hotel. Other than a slight hitch in getting the covering cloth to fall at the appropriate moment, there was also a humorous interruption caused by a dog leaping at the platform.
Design and Commissioning
Immediately after the Queen's death, a committee was formed to decide on the most appropriate form of tribute to be placed in the town. Thought was given to perhaps the construction or dedication of perhaps a hospital building to the late Queen, but this would involve considerable expenditure to maintain and it was believed that in any case, the sentiment of the dedication would be lost after a number of years.
As a result, the only really fitting monument was felt to be a statue. A design by the sculptor F. J. Williamson (the late Queen's private sculptor) was chosen and the statue was to wear the gowns that Victoria had worn at the time of her Jubilee. The owners of the land (at the time, much of Warrior Square gardens was in private ownership of the Eversfield Estate) had granted a strip of land to the Borough for the purposes of erecting the statue.
Funding for the work was raised by means of public subscription and the statue was cast in bronze, measuring six feet nine inches in height and mounted on a granite pedestal standing seven feet eight inches high. Every detail, even down to the jewels worn (which the sculptor had been lent by The Queen) in the statue were correct as at the time of the Jubilee in 1887. Other than the sceptre which was added to this statue, the sculptor had based the statue on the one he had previously realised in marble which was in the College of Surgeons in London.
Grade II Listed (Historic England listing 1192217)
References & Notes
- Hastings & St Leonards Observer 3 January 1903 pg. 2
- Public Sculptures of Sussex Database: Object Details | Public Sculptures of Sussex Database, accessdate: 28 January 2020