Footprints of London Guide Hazel Baker talks to Robert Elms about London Statues

Footprints of London Guide Hazel Baker talks to Robert Elms about London Statues

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Thomas More Statue Chelsea Embankment

Thomas More Statue Chelsea Embankment picture Stephen Benton

What’s your favourite London statue? There are hundreds of major outdoor works in London.  Footprints of London’s very own Hazel spoke with Robert Elms from BBC London 94.9FM about her favourite statues.

Listen to the programme: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02494gc Hazel is on between 32:35-37:49

Sir Thomas More is known as a Tudor Scholar & Statesman. His statue sits outside the Old Church on Chelsea Embankment. It is by L. Cubitt Bevis, a descendant of Thomas Cubitt, the Georgian property developer/architect. The statue was erected in 1969, unveiled by Horace Maybray King who was then Speaker of the House of Commons.

Thomas More sits with his hands closed with the chain of office across his lap overlooking Chelsea Embankment. The chain of office was commonly referred to as the SS collar and was an insignia of public service originally reserved for knights and nobility. It was later then extended for England’s Chief Justices. In the centre of the chain of office is a Tudor rose with a portcullis on either side attaching it to SS.

Why is there a Sir Thomas More statue on Chelsea Embankment?

Sir Thomas More settles in Chelsea in c. 1520 where he had an estate reaching from present day King’s Road down to the Thames where he moored his boat, giving him easy access to both Westminster and Hampton Court for State business. No traces of the house remain other than the original orchard wall which now borders the gardens of the houses to the west of Paultons Square.

The statue of Sir Thomas More has his back to the Old Church where he and his family worshipped regularly. The Old Church was mostly destroyed in an 1941 air-raid which the More Chapel and Monument survived.

To the right of the statue is Roper’s Garden which is believed to have been part of the garden of Sir Thomas More’s estate.

If you would like to hear more about Thomas More and other Arts & Literature stories, then join Hazel on her Chelsea: Arts & Literature walk.

 

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