Queen Victoria to inspect restoration of her statue

Royal visitor for city centre development work.

On Friday 11th May, ‘Queen Victoria’ will be visiting Victoria Square to inspect the restoration work currently underway on her statue.

The special royal visit has been organised by Birmingham Civic Society, who have part-funded the conservation work commissioned by Birmingham Museums Trust. Thanks to support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, a Queen Victoria look-a-like and other visitors, will have the chance to meet with the conservation team, discover some of the techniques experts are using to clean the statue, and find out how the immediate area around the statue has changed over the past 117 years.

The statue, situated in Victoria Square, is cared for by Birmingham Museums Trust on behalf of Birmingham City Council, and has stood in the city centre since 1901 when it was unveiled just 12 days before Queen Victoria’s death. The conservation of the statue has been supported thanks to The Heritage Lottery Fund who awarded a National Lottery grant towards the The City Beautiful project, celebrating and commemorating the centenary of the Birmingham Civic Society. This project has also been supported by the Limoges Charitable Trust.

Photographs of the conservation work have been captured by Birmingham photographer Philip Singleton. Philip is currently developing a body of work entitled The Pause Project which explores places that are subject to change or demolition. He is currently making cast concrete versions of his images and an exhibition featuring a selection of his work will be held at Argentea Gallery in the Jewellery Quarter in June this year. Download all images here.

Originally created in marble by Thomas Brock, the famous statue was recast in bronze by William Bloye in 1951. The artwork now requires conservation work to clean and maintain the statue and its pedestal, so it can continue to stand in one of Birmingham’s most prominent locations for years to come. The work will not remove green patina which has formed on the statue over time. The conservation work will be completed next week.

Gavin Orton, Birmingham Civic Society Chairman said; “The Queen Victoria statue is an icon of our city’s heritage, and we are pleased to support this work, ensuring that the statue can be enjoyed for generations to come. We just hope Queen Victoria herself will approve of the work! As well as this conservation project, we’ve got lots of other special events and activities taking place across the across the city, throughout the year to celebrate 100 years of the society.”

The royal visit and conservation activities will take place around Victoria Square, from 1.00pm–3.00pm on Friday 11th May.