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Plan for 1.5m high railings to be put up around Samuel Johnson statue in Lichfield city centre

Lichfield City Council has applied for planning permission to put up new railings around Samuel Johnson statue in Market Square.

The Samuel Johnson statue in Lichfield
The Samuel Johnson statue in Lichfield. Pic: Elliot Brown

The proposal would see the introduction of replica railings to those that originally stood around the monument before they were removed during World War Two and melted down.

The council said that the railings would provide additional protection for the Grade 2* listed statue.

An 1859 photograph showing the original railings around the statue of Dr Johnson
An 1859 photograph showing the original railings around the statue of Dr Johnson

A heritage statement supporting the application said: “The railings are to be fixed to the existing bollard positions so no extra damage will be done to the statue plinth and there is no change to the amount of usable space around the statue.

“A gate has been included to the south of the statue to allow for the commemorative ceremony and laying of the wreath on Dr Johnson’s birthday every year.

“The railings still allow for the easy viewing of the illustrated reliefs at the base of the statue but will prevent the public touching and potentially damaging the reliefs.”

The new railings will stand 1.5m high.

The statement added: “The proposed railings will match in style and material the original railings that look to be of the same period of the statue which was built in 1838.

“The bottom string of the railings will lay upon the floor to resemble the original fixings to the floor though the railings will only be fixed to the floor at the points where the existing bollards are to prevent any excess damage.

“The decorative finials and corner posts will be as close as possible match to the original railings.”

Full details are available on the Lichfield District Council planning website.

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17 Comments

  1. Nodge

    16th July, 2019 at 2:58 pm

    Can’t have the riff-raff eating their street food at the base of our city hero’s statue now, can we?

  2. Steve

    16th July, 2019 at 5:01 pm

    Surely we could build a couple of houses in this space. We could then safeguard the statue by keeping it in one of the back gardens.

    Visitors could then jump if they wish to see it.

    The old library building was safeguarded in this way.

  3. Jake

    16th July, 2019 at 8:54 pm

    Why??? This is a monumental waste of money. How is it that project like the Friarsgate development or just keeping the only public swimming bath open are scraped due to “funding troubles” yet somehow the council magically find 1.5m to add a railing to a great statue in Lichfield. No one asked for it, no one wants it, no one needs it. Surely this is a huge waste of money once again! If we’re going all out why not remake the railing that goes along the side of mister pool, or how about the Georgian one that was in front of the Cathedral, ill tell you why…because we don’t need to. If you want to waste time and money and just let a grate piece of heritage go into obscurity then please, carry on.

  4. Ross

    16th July, 2019 at 9:43 pm

    Hi Jake – for info, the railings are a Lichfield City Council project and not a Lichfield District Council one. LDC is only involved as the planning authority.

  5. Roy Appleby

    16th July, 2019 at 9:53 pm

    Jake its the height of the railings 1.5metre Not 1.5 million pounds.

  6. Jake

    16th July, 2019 at 10:02 pm

    Hay Ross – Aaaaaa ok that makes more sense now, a smaller project for the City Council is understandable and would not change funding for the district council. I still think it may obscure the view and info on the statue itself but in this case. Also as iv unknowingly brought up the subject perhaps the money could go on something else? Maby on some new up to date market stulls (cough cough) but with that new information, bring on the gates.

  7. Peter young

    16th July, 2019 at 10:02 pm

    Couldn’t agree with jake more.
    Waste of money and worst of all, ruin the appearance of the square. Rubbish will collect behind it.
    The city council have removed the artwork that was part of the repacking scheme from around the base of the statue, they have then swapped the lovely stone paviars with concrete pink blocks and now this.
    More money than sense.

  8. Darryl Godden

    16th July, 2019 at 10:03 pm

    I think there’s another issue with Jake’s comment, the 1.5m surely refers to the height not the cost?

  9. Edge

    16th July, 2019 at 10:15 pm

    Surely there’s no need for the railings. The momnment seems to have survived so far. Even when I scaled it on my eighteenth birthday to put a traffic cone on Sam’s head.

  10. Jake

    16th July, 2019 at 10:29 pm

    Hi Darryl and Roy – Sorry my miss-spelling. Should be “to add a 1.5m”. No, the statue rail will not cost 1.5 Million pounds but will be 1.5 meters high, thank heaven. I don’t even think the city council has 1.5 million pounds to spare. There’s actually nothing in the planning documents to say how much it will cost.

  11. Jake

    16th July, 2019 at 10:34 pm

    Edge – Maby we can test the theory out. Would a 1.5m high rail have stopped you when you were 18?

  12. Ian

    16th July, 2019 at 11:42 pm

    Peter knows better than anyone else that this is a ridiculous and pointless waste of OUR money.

  13. Darryl Godden

    17th July, 2019 at 8:09 am

    This is a good use of our money? Bonkers.

  14. AgitatorofPeople

    17th July, 2019 at 8:57 pm

    There is going to be some amount of money replicating the cast iron parts, not many foundries nowadays, doing custom street furniture work. If that comes in at less than £20,000 finished I would be very surprised.
    Its going to look great with an old rusty mountain bike chained to it.

    Actually add that amount to the £75,000 put to one side to offset the effect of the leisure centre closing (Doug Pullen quote) and they are quarter of the way to repairing the leisure centre.

    Come on SCC/LDC pull your heads out of each others bottoms and start working for the community.

  15. Adam

    17th July, 2019 at 9:39 pm

    Do the lights around the base of the statue still work?

  16. Peter Young

    18th July, 2019 at 8:53 am

    To avoid any confusion I just want to say that the Peter Young who posted 16 July is not the Peter Young who used to be Clerk of the City Council.

  17. AnnS

    23rd July, 2019 at 10:02 am

    I’d be interested to know how much tax payers money is being spent on this as the article doesn’t state? Whatever, it is, I think it’s needless and an absolute waste of money.

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