On this day … 14 December 1850

The Preston Guardian reported the award of a contract to Thomas Duckett, the sculptor, of Preston, for a monument to honour the former Prime Minister, Sir Robert Peel.

Anthony Hewitson described the resulting statue in his History of Preston. He was generally happy with Mr Duckett’s work, except for the way the sculptor had treated Sir Robert’s nether regions:

On the eastern side of Winckley-square, facing Cross-street, there is the “Peel Monument” … The figure is erect in attitude, has a commanding, conspicuous aspect, and embraces some good artistic work; but the closeness of the nether garments—the trousers look skin-tight, and seem to merge into rather than rest over or upon the shoes gives the supporting half of it a peculiar, if not quite whimsical, appearance..

Also, while Hewitson recorded that the statue was unveiled in Winckley Square by the mayor, Alderman Thomas Monk, in 1852, with the inscription ‘THOMAS MONK ESQ., MAYOR’ carved on the base, he omitted to mention that six years later Alderman Monk, a doctor in the town, was jailed for life for forging the will of one of his patients. Shortly afterwards the Preston Corporation chiselled out the incised name of the disgraced alderman.

The Peel Statue, Winckley Square, Preston.
Preston photographer Robert Pateson’s 1865 image. Source: Preston Digital Archive

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