Bungling council accidentally destroys sculpture of anti-slavery campaigner - 'Devastated!'

The statue was created in 1986 for the National Garden Festival.
The statue was created in 1986 for the National Garden Festival.
Visit Stoke
George McMillan

By George McMillan

Published: 03/02/2023

- 16:20

The council has apologised and said they are investigating what happened

lA council has had to apologise after it accidentally destroyed a sculpture of anti-slavery campaigner Josiah Wedgwood.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council said the incident was the result of a “significant operational error” by contractors hired.

The structure was called “Capo” by artist Vincent Woropay and could be found next to Festival Way in the city's Etruria area.

Wedgwood was an anti-slave campaigner.
Wedgwood was an anti-slave campaigner.
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The council apologised “unreservedly” for the statue’s demolition

Wedgwood was born in 1730 and was an English pottery designer and manufacturer and one of the best known historical figures born in Stoke-upon-Trent.

He was also an anti-slavery figure and created a ceramic medallion to support the abolition of the slave trade.

A city council spokesman said: "A significant operational error has occurred in the removal of this statue, and we apologise unreservedly for that.

"We have taken this matter up directly with contractors to understand what has gone wrong.

"Work is beginning this week to widen the road, to open up access to Festival Park, following the major infrastructure works and new link road at the Ceramic Valley Enterprise Zone.

"It’s an exciting project that will bring big benefits to employment opportunities and for businesses to grow in the city.

"However, the city’s cultural heritage is deeply important, and we are urgently looking into this matter with our contractors.

"The bricks and base of the sculpture will be sensitively removed while we understand what clearly went wrong here."

L0001806 Portrait of Josiah Wedgwood after Sir J. ReynoldsCredit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Imagesimages@wellcome.ac.ukhttp://wellcomeimages.orgPortrait of Josiah WedgwoodEngravingBy: Joshua Reynoldsafter: S.W. ReynoldsPublished:  - Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Josiah Wedgwood
Wellcome Library, London

No explanation was given for the reason behind the statue’s demolition but images online showed it shattered on the grass.

Council leader Abi Brown told Stoke on Trent Live: “I am devastated that this error has occurred.

"Culture is at the fabric of our city and plays a hugely significant role in the story of Stoke-on-Trent.

"I have instructed the director of the service to personally oversee immediate work to protect the sculpture and investigate how this has happened."

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