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Humphry Davy statue committee 1861

Discussion in 'Public Property' started by Halfhidden, Nov 10, 2016.

By Halfhidden on Nov 10, 2016 at 8:00 PM
  1. Halfhidden

    Halfhidden Untouchable Staff Member Administrator

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    Monument to Sir Humphry Davy 1862.
    A public meeting for promoting this truly Cornish object was held at the Guildhall, Penzance, on Friday evening 14th March 1862. The meeting was convened by the Committee appointed to promote this object, and was presided over by the Mayor, W. J. Matthews, Esq., who was supported by the ex-mayor with many of the Town Council and other gentlemen of the town and neighbourhood. The body of the hall was crowded.

    The Mayor said, their object in meeting that evening was to hear the report of the Committee, and to confer on the best means of carrying forward and completing their object. Eighty-four years ago the great man whom they had met to honour was born in this town, and within a very few yards of the spot on which they were now assembled he made his first experiment in that science which had brought him immortal renown. It will not be necessary to follow him through the years of successful study which he pursued with such indomitable energy and unflagging zeal, and which caused his fellow countrymen, and indeed the whole world, to acknowledge him as one of the greatest geniuses and brightest ornaments our own or any other nation bad produced. He had been instrumental, through the blessings of an all-wise Providence, in discovering that wonderful lamp which had saved the lives of thousands of Colliers, and would have saved the lives of many more had they followed the advice which he had bequeathed to them; and here he might say that the invention of the safety lamp was not the result of mere accident, but of definite and persistent study of the laws of nature in reference to flame and combustion.
    In this respect he was an example to working men, and his career was a guarantee of unfailing reward to every resolute and persevering man. Some thirty years bad now passed since Davy had been removed by death, and as yet no suitable memorial had been erected to his memory. This he felt to be a reflection on his fellow townsmen. But he was happy to say that the working men of this town had now taken it up with a heartiness and a determination which did them credit, and indeed he might say that it was the very fact of working men having taken it up which afforded to his mind the strongest hope of its ultimate success. Some had foolishly objected to it on this very ground, but the weakness of such objections must be evident to all, for nearly every leading man in this town had risen from among the working men, and owed everything to the fact that they had been laborious, honest, and successful working men. He was glad to see so many of the working classes present on that occasion. The class to which they belonged formed the sinews and strength of our nation, and those who had attached themselves to this movement were only faithful to each other, and worked as they could and would when they had fixed their heart on any object worthy of their efforts, the Davy monument would very soon be raised. He then called upon the secretaries to read the report.

    Mr. R. Cater read a long and elaborate Report, which commenced with a sketch of monumental edifices in ancient and modern nations, thence noticing the chief English monuments, and, finally, those in Cornwall. Special attention was called to the monument at Carn Brea to the memory of Lord de Dunstanville, to the obelisk at Bodmin in honour of General Gilbert, to the Lander monument at Truro, and to the memorials of Mr. Grylls and Mr. Darke at Helston and Penzance.
    It is now proposed to raise a memorial to Humphry Davy, and the report detailed all the circumstances of the present movement.

    It originated early in last November (1861), when members of the Committee for erecting a monument to Mr. Dark. felt the higher claims of Sir Humphry Davy. A committee was accordingly appointed for this object, to which Lord Brougham, Sir C. Lemon, J. St. Aubyn, MP., J. J. Rogers, M.P., R. Davey, M.P., and many local gentlemen gave their names.

    Lescudjack Hill was fixed on as the most appropriate site in the neighbourhood of the town, and Mr. Rogers the proprietor kindly acceded to the request of the Committee. From this point the monument will be seen for many miles round, and from all parts of the Bay.

    The advertisement for designs was responded to by ten architects, and eleven designs were received. Four of the number were selected from which the final choice was to be made. Of these, two were by Mr. Ezard, of Bath, one by Mr. Brown, of London, and one by Messrs. Salter and Perrow, of London. The votes were taken by ballot, when nine votes were given for Salter and Perrow, three for Ezard, and two for Brown; two members of the committee declined to vote, and three members had left before the voting took place. A deputation was now appointed to wait on Mr. Rogers with the design selected; this took place on the 6th of January, 1862. Mr. Rogers carefully and minutely inspected both column and tower, and expressed his high admiration of the efforts of Messrs. Salter and Perrow. He thought the column a chaste and beautiful production, and said if the committee had decided on the column he would not offer the least objection to it; but if his opinion was asked be should prefer the tower.

    With the plan of Lescudjack-hill before him, and after a kind and agreeable consultation as to the best possible site on which to erect the monument, Mr. Rogers marked down the exact spot in which the committee had already thought the best the spot, in fact, which will shew the monument to the greatest advantage from every point of view.

    Mr. Rogers said he would request his architect (Mr - St. Aubyn) to visit the site to see that the base of the monument might look form a harmonious line with the villas laid out in his plans. Mr St Aubyn had visited the site and inspected the design, and had informed Mr Rogers that the site was well selected, and that a better build not be adopted, subject to one alteration, which he thought would be an improvement, and that was, to have an arched canopy at the base of the tower, and to place the statue that it might be seen to a greater advantage by all, whether they ascend to the tower or feast their eyes on the statue and the picturesque scenery around them and at the base of the base.

    On the return of the deputation from Penrose (the seat of Mr Rogers), a committee meeting was held; and after a discussion on the advantages of the tower over a column, it was unanimously that the tower be adopted as it would be a great attraction to visitors and tourists, and the public generally, who would like to climb its granite steps, and from its apex take a full survey of the unrivalled and varied scenery around, not excluding St. Michael's Mount, " the gem of the ocean."

    The report proceeded to detail the steps taken for obtaining subscriptions. The Committee looked for support from the proprietors of collieries, and Fellows of the Royal Society. It is a matter of congratulation that a London committee is now in course of organization, and that a distinguished member of the Royal Society has consented to be one of its patrons, and several natives of Penzance now resident in London will also place their names on this committee. Nor will the Cornish mines and their adventurers be forgotten. Already several gentlemen of influence have kindly engaged to co-operate with the movement.

    All the literary and mechanics' institutions, and also the various scientific bodies, will be applied to for help in this desirable enterprise; and if each only subscribes a small amount, the aggregate will be important. A general appeal will also be made to the inhabitants of Penzance, and the committee will be happiest to receive contributions from the gentleman, the tradesman, and the working man, however small the amount may be. Up to this time but few calls have been made, but they have been satisfactory, and the sum of £122 has been promised or paid over. The expenses incurred up to the present have all been paid out of the subscriptions of the committee, and they feel pleasure in stating that they have used the greatest economy, and intend to do so on all their future proceedings. Subscription lists will be taken by a number of respectable tradesmen of the town, and exhibited in their shop windows.

    The Mayor had accepted the appointment of Chairman of the Committee, and promised to attend their deliberations as frequently as possible. The Mayor expressed his satisfaction at the report, and they ought to thank those who had taken so much trouble to prepare it. He read a letter from T. S. Bolitho, Esq. subscribing £10 10s. 6d Mr. Higgs had come from St. Just to be present at the meeting. The cause had his warmest sympathies and he would promote it in every possible way. He was sorry the inhabitants had waited for a generation before they had heartily taken up the matter, but Grantham had delayed very much longer to provide a monument to Sir Isaac Newton. He alluded to the recent colliery accidents as illustrating the value of Davy's labours to lessen the dangers of the occupation, to the great improvement which blasting had received from his discoveries, and to his rare disinterested character. He hoped every inhabitant of Penzance would contribute, and they should be happy to receive the smallest contributions from working men. Mr. Colliver also addressed the meeting, and complimented the Secretaries and the Committee on the value of their labours. The proceedings closed with thanks to the Officers and the Mayor.
     
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Discussion in 'Public Property' started by Halfhidden, Nov 10, 2016.

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