The statue of Albert, Prince Consort stood for over thirty years adjacent to God’s House Tower on its east side. It was presented to the town in 1876 by Sir Frederick Perkins, a prominent businessman and five times mayor of the town. Perkins had paid £300 for the statue in 1865 and had originally intended to present it to the planned Royal Albert Infirmary at Bishops Waltham. This building was opened with great ceremony on the 7th November 1865 and an Illustrated London News engraving of the opening ceremony actually shows the statue in place on the front of the building. The building, however, was never used as an infirmary and the statue was reclaimed by Perkins, who then offered it to Southampton.

The statue was made by a John Marriott Blashfield from a model by William Theed at the terracotta works founded by Mrs Eleanor Coade in Lambeth. The back of the statue was hollow and incomplete as it was designed to be displayed in a niche. In Southampton, however, it was placed on a pedestal with its hollow back against the tower wall. It did not weather well, and was taken down during the Edwardian period, ostensibly for cleaning and repair. It was stored in a shed near West Quay, where it was destroyed by men from the Royal Engineers during World War One, presumably because of Albert’s German connections.

1. Statue of Prince Albert

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Photograph of God's House Tower showing the statue, c.1900

2. Statue of Prince Albert

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Photograph of the statue prior to its removal.

Further reading:

‘The Saga of the Prince Consort’s Statue’, by A. G. K. Leonard in Southampton Local History Forum Journal, no. 4, p 17-21 (HS/h)
Southampton Occasional Notes, by ‘Townsman’, p89. (HS/h)
History of Southampton, by Rev. J. S. Davies, p103. (HS/h)
History of the Priory, Bishop’s Waltham, by Peter Finn, p18-24. (HS/ls)
Illustrated London News, 18th November 1865, p477-478.


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