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Memorial statue for engineering pioneer who saved thousands of lives to be unveiled in Arnold

Date Posted: 3:33 PM on Tue, 22 October 2019

A memorial in honour of an engineer who pioneered the creation of clean water systems, saving thousands of lives in the process will be unveiled in the park where he was born later this week.

Thomas Hawksley was born in Arnot Hill House in the grounds of Arnot Hill Park, Arnold and he would become one of the greatest water engineers of the 19th century, saving countless lives by creating the first pressurised water system of its kind.

The memorial will be unveiled by the Deputy Mayor of Gedling along with direct descendants of Mr Hawksley at a special ceremony in Arnot Hill Park on Friday 25 October at 12pm. The funding for the statue was provided by Severn Trent Water, who agreed to provide £10,000 after meeting with Vernon Coaker MP and the Deputy Leader of Gedling Borough Council Cllr Michael Payne to discuss better flooding provisions in the borough.

The sculpture was designed and built by local artist Richard Janes and incorporates elements of Thomas Hawksley’s work and designs using techniques and materials that were in use at the time Hawksley was alive. The memorial also includes elements of design from children at Arnbrook Primary School who have worked with the artist on the memorial.

One of the council’s key priorities, set out in the Gedling Plan, is to provide a more sustainable environment, which includes a vision to promote and celebrate the borough’s rich heritage. The installation is part of the council’s Gedling Heritage Brought Alive programme, which aims to increase awareness of the famous people and places of the borough. It is also the 100 year anniversary of the opening of Arnot Hill Park Earlier this year, events took place at the park to recognise the history and heritage of the park and house where Hawksley was born in 1807.  

Leader of Gedling Borough Council, Councillor John Clarke said;

“Many people may not have heard of Thomas Hawksley before today but they will have benefitted from his fantastic work as a water engineer. Today, we take clean water for granted but it was because of people like Thomas Hawksley that we have it. This memorial will be a fitting tribute to his excellent work and we are delighted that members of his family could be here today to see it. I would like to thank Severn Trent Water for providing the funding for this memorial and to everyone involved.”

Richard Janes who designed the memorial said:

“The memorial takes its inspiration for the style of Victorian memorials and architecture that Hawksley would have known and designed himself. It uses engineering techniques and materials that Thomas Hawksley would have been familiar with but also uses new modern techniques to create a contemporary sculpture as a memorial to this giant of Victorian Engineering.”

Adam Boucher, Area Operations Lead for Severn Trent, said:

“This is a fantastic project that we’re absolutely delighted to be a part of. Clearly, as a water company, we owe a huge debt to Thomas Hawksley which is why we’re so happy to be involved and to support the memorial.”