July 8, 2011

First published in Looking Back

From the Durham County Advertiser 50 years ago: The equestrian statue in Durham Market Place will shortly celebrate its 100th birthday. There are some people who say that 100 years is an unreasonably long time for an ugly piece of Victorian metal ware to disfigure quite a nice city centre. There were, in fact, complaints as soon as the statue was put up in 1861.

The statue is in memory of a famous member of the Londonderry family, Charles Vane William Stewart. He is the man on the horse. He founded Seaham Harbour, fought in Wellington’s army, and later became Lord Lieutenant of the County. When the statue was unveiled the Durham Chronicle reported “Charles Vane William Stewart was a man of many gifts, although his politics were not those of the Durham Chronicle.” The statue was paid for from a public fund, and Benjamin Disraeli was among the many distinguished people who attended the unveiling. As the present members of the Londonderry family have highly civilised tastes in art, they would probably have no objection to the horse being painlessly put to sleep in a quiet corner of Wharton Park.

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