Pearl comes home to Hatfield

PUBLISHED: 17:33 17 June 2019 | UPDATED: 17:33 17 June 2019

Pearl being loaded of the lorry. Picture: Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council

Pearl being loaded of the lorry. Picture: Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council

Archant

The historic Pearl statue returned to Hatfield today - over 30 years since she was first removed from White Lion Square.

Mark Lampert - who has worked hard for Pearl's return - in front of the lorry that transported Pearl. Picture: Welwyn Hatfield Borough CouncilMark Lampert - who has worked hard for Pearl's return - in front of the lorry that transported Pearl. Picture: Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council

She will sit at the top of the square in a grass bed in front of Peacocks, as part of a range of new features being delivered through the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) funded transformation works.

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

Formally unveiled on April 18 1970, Pearl sat in the middle of a fountain in White Lion Square, until it was decommissioned in 1986 and the centrepiece sculpture, a reclining female nude in a shell carved from Portland and Derby stone, was moved to Hatfield School.

After a number of temporary moves elsewhere around the town, she was eventually placed in storage during 2013.

Pearl being removed in 1986. Picutre: Lenny BrandonPearl being removed in 1986. Picutre: Lenny Brandon

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Local resident Mark Lampert began his quest to rehome Pearl in 2012 and the community voted overwhelmingly in favour of bringing her back during the town centre improvement works.

Mark, who is currently salvaging tents for refugees on the Isle of Wight, said: "This is a really proud day for me - and for all the residents of Hatfield. Pearl is a part of our history and we should be rightly proud of making sure she's home where she belongs. I'm really looking forward to seeing her unveiled when the work finishes in autumn.

"I did shed a wee tear as she came off the back of the lorry."

Pearl being transported in 1970. Picture: Ken WrightPearl being transported in 1970. Picture: Ken Wright

Hatfield Town Council's leader Lenny Brandon managed to capture Pearl's removal in 1986, he said: "I don't remember taking the photographs, they're not great but a bad photograph is better than no photograph."

Councillor Duncan Bell, executive member for resources at Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council, says: "We're really pleased to return an iconic part of Hatfield's history to the town. We've found out a lot more about Pearl during this process and will be retelling her story for visitors to discover more about her fascinating journey."

More information about the town centre regeneration works can be found at: hatfield2030.co.uk.

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