Campaign to bring Pearl statue back home to Hatfield

PUBLISHED: 16:00 30 October 2017 | UPDATED: 16:00 30 October 2017

Photographer Ken Wright's picture of Hatfield from the seventies when Pearl was situated in the fountain in White Lion Square.

Photographer Ken Wright's picture of Hatfield from the seventies when Pearl was situated in the fountain in White Lion Square.

Archant

Hatfield residents are calling for an iconic statue to be moved back to the town centre after the council announced its latest £1.2million plans to revitalise the area.

Mark Lampert has been fighting to get Pearl back home for over five years.Mark Lampert has been fighting to get Pearl back home for over five years.

For the last five years, Mark Lampert, of Bishops Rise, has been fighting to get the statue, known locally as ‘Pearl’, put back in the town centre and is seizing the opportunity of the council’s latest plans to try again.

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.

The sculpture sat in the middle of a fountain in White Lion Square until the water piece was decommissioned and the statue was moved to Hatfield School in 1986.

The school closed and the site became New Barnfield Library and Resource Centre, which then also closed.

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

In early 2013 the sculpture was removed from the former school site following a request by Mr Lampert and underwent minor restoration with a view to it being relocated in Hatfield, before being put in a storage yard where it now resides.

Mr Lampert said: “Pearl was commissioned and created specifically for White Lion Square and that is where she rightfully belongs.”

“Welwyn Hatfield Council have an ideal opportunity to return part of the town’s cultural heritage, as part of the area’s rejuvenation.

“Pearl is an iconic sculpture that to many people represents the birth of Hatfield’s new town as they know it, something that forms part of local people’s collective memories and history.

“She is something that Hatfield folk do actually want to see in White Lion Square, something which to many people should never have been taken away in the first place.”

Pearl was originally commissioned by Hatfield Town Council but Hertfordshire County Council now holds it in storage.

Hatfield South West councillor Kieran Thorpe said: “The council are well aware of the public desire to see this happen as it has been asked for many times over recent years.

“The long since removed fountains and artistic sculptures were a testament to the optimism and spirit around the creation of our new town, and I see no better time to try and bring some of that back to Hatfield.

“If it were down to me, a councillor who grew up next door to the town centre, I would bring Pearl home and commission a new sculpture celebrating our aviation heritage too.”

Hatfield mayor councillor James Broach said: “I fully support the Pearl campaign and hope that her return will rejuvenate the spirit that came when she was first put in the town centre.”

A spokesman for Herts County Council said: “Hertfordshire County Council and Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council are working in partnership to establish if the sculpture can be returned to a public location in Hatfield.

“A site has not yet been identified and funding would have to be found to complete the restoration and cleaning of the sculpture, and its ongoing maintenance.”

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