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,
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.
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
Tolson House Museum
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.
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