Public Art Research Archive, Sheffield Hallam University

Alfred Drury
‘King Edward VII’, 1913
Fitzalan Square

Fitzalan Square, Sheffield, S1. (A-Z p 5 3F)

A figure in ceremonial dress standing on a stone plinth, decorated with four panels, the front panel having a crest above it. In the front panel a banner held by female figures contains the king's name. The other panels, also containing figures, depict 'Peacemaker', Philanthropy', and 'Unity'.

A scheme to commemorate the late King appeared in February 1911 in the Sheffield Daily Telegraph, proposed by a prominent local citizen. This consisted of two parts, the monument and a "crippled children’s home". Fitzalan Square was created on the site of the former Fitzalan Market, an area known as ‘The Shambles’ and the money raised by public subscription alone, the cost of the square and monument were estimated at bwtween £100,000 and £200,000 , plus £20 per annum maintenance. The bulk of the funds were raised from local businesses and prominent citizens.
The monument was unveiled by the Duke of Norfolk on the 27th of October, 1913.

After the death of Queen Victoria, the new monarch was considerably more visible than the reclusive widow queen. He made a number of visits to Sheffield and was a popular figure. In 1908 Lord Northcliffe, the newspaper proprietor, writing of royal news stories, remarked:
"The king has become such an immense personality in England that the space devoted to the movements of royalty has quintupled since his majesty came to the throne".
Fitzalan Square was designed to be an open space dominated by the statue of this popular figure. Nowadays the importance of King Edward has faded as has the statue itself, which is over-shadowed by trees and its base obscured by two stone cabins; one a fast food outlet and one a police cabin.

(from research by Lynda Leigh, 2nd year Fine Art student, 1996)

About the artist:
Alfred Drury (1857-1944) has other public work on display in London, including the four downstream figures on Vauxhall Bridge (1907).

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