Piece of Hatfield history set to return to town

PUBLISHED: 11:48 27 December 2017 | UPDATED: 15:19 27 December 2017

Hatfield's Pearl statue after undergoing minor restoration work. Picture: Mark Lampert.

Hatfield's Pearl statue after undergoing minor restoration work. Picture: Mark Lampert.

Mark Lampert

The well-known Pearl statue is returning to Hatfield after more than 1,000 residents took part in an online vote.

Over a thousand residents used the Welwyn Hatfield Times’ online poll to give their views on placing the statue back in White Lion Square during the £1.2m improvement works next year.

Welwyn Hatfield council promised to reinstate the iconic statue if the majority voted in favour of her return - 88 per cent voted for her to come back and 12 per cent voted against out of just over 1,000 voters.

The 50-year-old statue was made in the mid-60s by sculptor James Butler RA and was commissioned by Maxwell Fry, the architect who designed much of Hatfield town centre.

Pearl sat in the middle of a fountain in White Lion Square until its decommission and, after a number of temporary moves elsewhere around the town, was eventually placed in storage during 2013.

Cllr Roger Trigg, executive member for corporate property, said: “We’re really pleased with the level of response and would like to thank everyone for letting us know what they think.

“The community has helped to decide Pearl’s future and we’re revising the plans for White Lion Square to set her within one of the new design features.

“We’re hoping to submit a planning application for the £1.2m scheme early in the New Year and start work later in 2018.”

Mark Lampert, of Hatfield, who has been campaigning for Pearl to be reinstated for six years, said: “I’m over the moon with the outcome of the poll.

“It’s the best Christmas present ever.

“Although I’ve been at the forefront of the bid to get her brought home.

“I’ve not been alone in my efforts.

“I’d particularly like to thank the Welwyn Hatfield Times for covering this endeavour since its outset, Kieran Thorpe, Carrie Lloyd, Lynne Sparks, Tracy Crowley, Mick McCarthy, all of the local councillors past and present who have variously championed Pearl’s cause over the past six years and Philip Brimley at WHBC for listening to the good folk of Hatfield and taking the notion of her return forward.”

Mr Lampert added: “Most of all I’d like to thank everybody that made the effort to sign the petition, call into the consultation events and ultimately vote on the poll.

“It is purely as a result of their engagement that an iconic piece of Hatfield’s history is being returned and her future as a focal point of Hatfield town centre is secured.

“I’m looking forward to seeing her back home where she belongs.”

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