John Gilbert - Worsley, UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member dtrebilc
N 53° 29.821 W 002° 23.638
30U E 540202 N 5927732
Quick Description: This sculpture was erected as part of a £5.5 million face lift for Salford’s Bridgewater Canal and depicts John Gilbert.
Location: North West England, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 2/15/2020 9:44:14 AM
Waymark Code: WM1238A
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Outspoken1
Views: 0

Long Description:

The Bridgewater Canal is considered to be the UK's first true canal because it didn't simply follow or improve on existing rivers.

It was built be the Duke of Bridgewater in 1761 to connect his coal mine at Worsley with Manchester.

The canal was later extended and although no longer used commercially is popular with leisure boaters, walkers and cyclists.

For many years it has not been possible to access the original wharves at Worsley where the canal met the coal mine, but the renovation work has included the building of viewing platforms and information boards at that location.

A number of information boards, "You Are Here" maps, benches and sculptures have also been installed between Worsley and Barton.

This artwork was created by a design company called Scartworks. There are three sculptures people associated with the early days of the Bridgewater Canal, Francis Egerton (the Duke of Bridgewater), James Brindley and John Gilbert.
This sculpture is of John Gilbert.

"Commissioned by Salford City Council as part of a £3.6 million Heritage Lottery funded project, these pieces were installed Autumn 2017. The new canal side features were created from water-jet cut 20 mm thick Cor-Ten Steel. Also known as ‘Weathering Steel’, this metal is designed to have a long lasting rusty patina and was selected for this project for its colour. The Bridgewater Canal is permanently stained an orange colour due to oxide residues seeping into the water from the redundant mine workings it once serviced." link

John Gilbert
"John Gilbert was born in 1724, the son of Thomas and Elizabeth Gilbert of Cotton Hall in Staffordshire. He became the estate manager for the Duke of Bridgewater in the Worsley area. At Worsley he oversaw the construction of the vast underground and surface canal system which enabled coal from the mines to be transported to the growing centres of Salford and Manchester.

James Brindley was engaged on Gilbert’s recommendation and became well known for his contribution while Gilbert himself has often received less credit. Gilbert went on to work on many canal projects with the Duke and James Brindley, including the Trent and Mersey Canal.

John Gilbert was held in high esteem by Francis Egerton, 3rd Duke of Bridgewater and for a time even lived with his wife and family at Worsley Old Hall, as part of the Duke’s household. He eventually moved to the Brick Hall which the Duke always referred to as "my stewards house". Gilbert died in 1795 and his wife Lydia died just two years later.

In 1994 Rector Norman Jones was clearing out the small Bridgewater chapel at St Mary’s parish church in Eccles when he discovered the access to a vault. Greater Manchester Archaeological Unit were called in to investigate. The vault dated back to the 17th century and belonged to the Egerton family. Amongst the Egerton commemorations was a coffin with a metal plate on an elaborate wooden lid. The inscription showed the sealed lead coffin as that of John Gilbert who died on August 3rd 1795 aged 70. Nearby was the coffin of Lydia Gilbert, John’s wife who died on November 22nd 1797 aged 75. After recording all the finds the ornate coffin plates were removed and were put on permanent display within the church, leaving the sealed coffins undisturbed. The vault was closed.

In 1996 the only known portrait of John Gilbert came home to the area where he made his biggest impression on the world.

A group of local historians traced the painting to the home of a descendant in the Isle of Wight. The group managed to raise the funds needed to purchase the painting and have it restored. The search for the painting was started by Frank Mullineux, a well known local historian who for many years was curator of the Monk’s Hall Museum in Eccles. Following Franks death his widow Elsie, an equally well respected historian, continued the quest with the assistance of Andrew Cross, Evelyn Vigeon, Ann Monaghan, Ken Kilburn and the Rev Norman Jones. This group of local historians encouraged individuals and organisations to donate to the project and in a little over two months the £5,000 was raised. A significant £2,000 was donated by the owners of the Ellesmere shopping centre in Walkden.

After restoration the painting was placed in the safe hands of the Salford Museum and Art Gallery. It can still be viewed in the Victorian Gallery where it is displayed alongside portraits of Francis Egerton, the Third Duke of Bridgewater and James Brindley. The three men credited with the creation of the Bridgewater Canal." link
Title of Piece: John Gilbert

Artist: Scartworks

Material/Media: Corten Steel

Web link(s) for additional information: [Web Link]

Location (specific park, transit center, library, etc.): Not listed

Visit Instructions:

Enjoy taking your photos from varying angles to really show off the beauty of the piece. Please include your impressions of the piece.

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