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Statue of Winston Churchill (and plinth)

List Entry Summary

This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

Name: Statue of Winston Churchill (and plinth)

List entry Number: 1430402

Location

Junction of Woodford Green High Road and Broomhill Walk, Woodford, London, IG8

The building may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Greater London Authority

District: Redbridge

District Type: London Borough

Parish: Non Civil Parish

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: II

Date first listed: 19-Jan-2016

Date of most recent amendment: Not applicable to this List entry.

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Building

Bronze statue of Sir Winston Churchill and its granite plinth. Sculpted in 1958-9 by David McFall RA.

Reasons for Designation

The statue of Winston Churchill, Woodford Green, London Borough of Redbridge, 1958-9 by David McFall, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons: * Artistic interest: as a highly regarded, purposeful, yet sympathetic sculptural representation of Britain’s iconic war-time Prime Minister in his later years; * Historic interest: as one of the earliest public statues of Churchill in Britain, sited in his constituency and unveiled in his presence shortly before his death.

History

The period after 1945 saw a shift from commemorative sculpture and architectural enrichment to the idea of public sculpture as a primarily aesthetic contribution to the public realm. Sculpture was commissioned for new housing, schools, universities and civic set pieces, with London and the counties of Hertfordshire and Leicestershire leading the way in public patronage. Thus public sculpture could be an emblem of civic renewal and social progress. By the late C20 however, patronage was more diverse and included corporate commissions and Arts Council-funded community art. The ideology of enhancing the public realm through art continued, but with divergent means and motivation.

Visual language ranged from the abstraction of Victor Pasmore and Phillip King to the figurative approach of Elisabeth Frink and Peter Laszlo Peri, via those such as Lynn Chadwick and Barbara Hepworth who bridged the abstract/representational divide. The post-war decades are characterised by the exploitation of new, often industrial, materials and techniques including new welding and casting techniques, plastics and concrete, while kinetic sculpture and ‘ready mades’ (using found objects) demonstrate an interest in composite forms.

In 1958 David McFall was commissioned by the Sir Winston Churchill Commemoration Fund to produce a bronze statue of Churchill for the Woodford constituency which he served as MP from 1945 until his death in 1965. After some initial sittings whilst Churchill was on holiday at Cap Martin in the south of France, the main studies were carried out by McFall at Churchill’s home at Chartwell, Kent in May and June 1958, the final sittings by any artist before Churchill's death. A number of heads and busts were also produced from these sessions. During production of the finished statue there was criticism of Churchill’s angry expression from various quarters, including Lady Churchill, and it was amended before casting was completed, by the Art Bronze foundry, on 2 September 1959. The statue was unveiled on 31 October 1959 at its site on Woodford Green by Field Marshall Viscount Bernard Montgomery. Among the 5,000 strong crowd was Churchill himself who gave a speech and complimented the sculptor.

Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965) had a remarkable career as a parliamentarian, statesman, writer and most memorably as Britain's war-time Prime Minister (1940-5). During the war years his was an immediately recognisable figure - the epitome of the bulldog spirit he fostered - stocky, bald-headed and somewhat hunched, his public image being amplified with carefully selected props such as siren suits and cigars. However, at the end of the war his stock with the electorate was low, and memories of pre-war unemployment queues and a desire for change swept him out of office in 1945. He returned as Prime Minister in 1951 but by then he was clearly too old to effectively undertake such high office and gave way to Anthony Eden in 1955. He remained in the Commons, however, until 1964 when he was finally persuaded not to stand again. He died a few months later, aged 90. His state funeral was the first to be accorded to a commoner since that of Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington, in 1852.

David McFall RA (1919-1988) was born in Glasgow and studied at the Junior School of Arts and Crafts in Birmingham, then at the Birmingham College of Art before moving to London and attending the Royal College of Art and the City and Guilds School. From 1944 to 1958 he worked as an assistant to Jacob Epstein, having already worked for Eric Gill. In 1950 he produced a pair of gilt bronze unicorns for Bristol Council House (Listed at Grade II*) and in 1951 he exhibited ‘Boy and Horse’ at the Dome of Discovery at the Festival of Britain. McFall became one of the most popular traditionalist portrait sculptors of the period, modelling a number of other prominent figures including Clement Attlee, Ralph Vaughan Williams and HRH Prince Charles, and was also noted for his nude female figures. In 1968-9 he produced three stone friezes for the new extension of the Chartered Accountants' Hall by William Whitfield (Listed at Grade II*). Other examples of his public art include ‘The Shying Horse’ at Blackhorse Road Underground Station (1968), ‘Oedipus and Jocasta’ at West Norwood Library (1972) and his final work, ‘Son of Man’ at Canterbury Cathedral (1988).

Details

Statue of Sir Winston Churchill (and its plinth). 1958-9 by David McFall RA. The statue is located on Woodford Green at the junction of Woodford Green High Street and Broomhill Walk.

MATERIALS: cast bronze sculpture set on a rough Cornish granite plinth.

DESCRIPTION: the larger-than-life size sculpture is 2.6m in height and stands on a tall square plinth. It depicts a be-suited Churchill crossing the lawn at Chartwell. The plinth is inscribed 'WINSTON S. CHURCHILL' on the face and the rear of the base of the bronze is inscribed 'McFALL 1959.'

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Ward-Jackson, P, Public Sculpture in the City of London, (2003), 469-470
Websites
David McFall Website, accessed 25 September 2015 from http://www.davidmcfall.co.uk/index.html

National Grid Reference: TQ3992991396

Map

Map
© Crown Copyright and database right 2017. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2017. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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End of official listing