Flirting With The Past Statues

This pair of statues were unveiled beside the railway arches in Northgate on 1st February 2005 by Mike Stephenson, rugby league player and later Super League commentator. 

Funded by Binks Executive Homes, Kirklees Metropolitan Council and LPSA they were intended to commemorate two of the most evocative aspects of Dewsbury's past,

photo of the commemorative slab let into the paving next to the pair of Flirting with the Past statues in Dewsbury

The commemorative slab let into the paving

The commission to create a sculpture was offered nationally but eventually won by Sheffield based sculptor, Jason Thomson, who then had just 12 weeks to complete the sculpture. 

The short time frame dictated some of the methods used with the original being hand carved in polystyrene using cold chisel and industrial grinders before the finished articles were cast in SG Iron by H Downs of Huddersfield.  Each of the finished figures weighs approximately 3.8 tons.


Two details only seen from the rear are the pattern on the dress of the mill 'ripper's' dress together with the sculptor's signature and the representation of mill machinery behind the rugby player's right leg. 

picture of Jason Thomson's signature on the female statue
picture of part of the rugby player's leg with machinery

The commemorative plaque

To save you having to squint at the image, the plaque reads:

Flirting with the Past

A celebration of Dewsbury history by Jason Thomson

Unveiled by Mike Stephenson on 1st February 2005

With thanks to all who contributed
The Dewsbury Area Committee
Dewsbury Chamber of Trade
Dewsbury College Photography Dept
Kirklees Planning Services
Bagshaw Museum
Tolson House Museum
Lee Gilmore
Francis Cummins
Paul March
Molly Blakely
Stella Donahoe
Charles Gannon

Seal facsimile

The seal says: Funded by Binks Executive Homes, Kirklees Metropolitan Council, LPSA.  Anyone any ideas what LPSA stands for?

There are a number of individuals named on the commemorative slab.  In particular, it seems that rugby league international Lee Gilmour had his name misspelled by a council official in the list passed to the sculptor, Jason Thomson, who faithfully reproduced the spelling mistake into SG Iron to make what may be one of the longest lasting typos ever produced.

And then there were the two more rugby players; Francis Cummins and Paul March who provided input from the rugby area and 3 other local individuals - who turned out to offer a human story from the textile industry all of their own. 

You can read about the female figure, 'ripper' Molly Blakely and her family here.

Got anything to add to the story?  Please leave your comments below.