George Grey Barnard Statue of Abraham Lincoln – Manchester, UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member dtrebilc
N 53° 28.782 W 002° 14.827
30U E 549963 N 5925899
Quick Description: This statue in Lincoln Square in Manchester is a replica of a statue of Lincoln in Lytle Park in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Location: North West England, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 1/25/2012 2:33:42 PM
Waymark Code: WMDKDT
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member uccacher
Views: 7

Long Description:

The Original Statue
The original statue was a gift of Mr. And Mrs. Charles P. Taft to the City of Cincinnati, to mark the centenary of Lincoln’s birth. The Taft’s gave a commission of $100,000 dollars for the statue to George Grey Barnard a pre-eminent sculptor of his time.

Barnard was adamant that the statue should show a true likeness of Lincoln the man before he became famous. He spent a long time searching for a real person to use as a model for Lincoln’s body and eventually found a farmer whom he thought was the right build.

He also represented Lincoln wearing normal clothes rather than what he wore as President.

After displaying the statue in The Union Theological Seminary, New York it was moved to Cincinnati and unveiled on 31st March 1917.

Charles P. Taft was a half brother of the former President of the United States, William Howard Taft. The ex President gave a speech at the unveiling of the statue.

Details of the Cincinnati statue can be found here.

The Manchester Copy
Charles Taft wanted to donate a copy of the statue to the United Kingdom to celebrate the hundred years of peace between the UK and USA after the signing of the Ghent Peace Treaty.

It was to stand outside the Houses of Parliament in London. However there was controversy over the statue and many people thought that the naturalistic statue was not statesman-like enough.

In the end a different statue sculpted by Saint-Gudens was sent to London and erected in July 1920.

The Tafts still wanted to send a copy of their statue to the UK and in the end Manchester said that they would like to take the statue.

Manchester and surrounding towns had been a centre of cotton production. During the American Civil War many factories had to close because they could not get any supplies of cotton from the States. This caused great hardship with large numbers of people losing their homes. A large number of people homeless and without work emigrated to Australia, or moved to towns with other industries. Many people were forced to apply for poor relief.

Despite all this the cotton workers of Manchester still supported Lincoln’s stand against slavery and wrote a letter of support to him, to which he sent a letter of thanks in reply. Because of this relationship it was felt that Manchester was an eminently suitable location for the statue.

The statue has had various controversies ever since. A number of people still felt it was a very unflattering statue and for a while it was simply stored in the City Fire Station.

At the same time Manchester was planning to build a new art gallery and thought that the statue should be placed outside it. In the meantime they decided to place the statue in Platt Fields, a public park, but in the suburbs rather than in the centre of Manchester.

They erected the statue on a small low plinth as Barnard had originally designed in Cincinnati.

The art gallery never got built and the statue remained in Platt Fields until 1986. After an area was redeveloped near the town hall, a new small public square was made, and named Lincoln Square. The developers then paid the cost of moving the statue to its new site in the square.

This movement of the statue caused even more controversy.

Firstly in order to avoid vandalism the statue was placed on a new tall polished granite plinth rather than the original low, ground level plinth.

Secondly the council decide to make great play of the friendship between Manchester and Lincoln and the plinth contains extracts from the letters to and from the people of Manchester. However the council at the time was unpopular and often accused of political correctness. This view seemed to be reinforced when the council changed the text of Lincoln’s letter slightly and changed a reference to the ‘working men of Lancashire’ to the ‘working people of Lancashire’.

Personally I’m not always in favour of changing language just for political correctness. However this change is actually much more accurate because at the time of the writing of the letter, 56% of the work force in the cotton mills was female.

So Lincoln now proudly stands in a square in Manchester thousands of miles from the United States. It is an English Heritage Grade II listed building, reference number 1293302.

At 4 metres high the statue is approximately twice life size.

The text on the front of the plinth reads

This statue commemorates the support
that the working people of Manchester
gave in their fight for the abolition
of slavery during the American Civil War.
By supporting the union under president Lincoln
at a time when there was an economic
blockade of the southern states the
Lancashire cotton workers were denied
access to raw cotton which caused
considerable unemployment
throughout the cotton industry.

Where is original located?: Lytle Park in Cincinnati, Ohio, United States

Where is this replica located?: Lincoln Square, Manchester, United Kingdom

Who created the original?: George Grey Barnard

Internet Link about Original:

Year Original was Created (approx. ok): 1917

Visit Instructions:
Post at least one photo of the replica.
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