Lost Wigan statue found

Published: Friday, 10 July 2009

ONE of the statues that were stolen from the Leeds & Liverpool canalside—Pit Brew Lass—has been found.

The dropping water levels of the canal revealed the statue (pictured) in the the bottom of the waterway, face down in the mud, from where she has been rescued, Alan Tilbury reports

However, though a search has been made, the other statue that was stolen, just days before they were to be officially unveiled—A Boat Builder—has not been found.

Four statues altogether were erected by the canal at the Pier (pictured below), with two stolen and the remaining two vandalised and subsequently removed, into safe keeping, but no longer on public view.

Shortly after the statue's disappearance, there were reports of it being seen in the empty premises CHP Plumbing Supplies near the Pier, which had been broken into and was being used by squatters. But when the police were called, the statues had gone.

Simon Kensdale, Wigan Council's Senior Economic Regeneration Officer with responsibility for the Pier Quarter, remarked:

"We are very pleased to have found the Pit Brew Lass statue and it may prove possible to retrieve her and put her back where she belongs, depending on what state she is in.

"The two statues that were vandalised are also both repairable so we are looking at the possibility of greatly strengthening how they are fitted to the towpath and putting them back with CCTV and street lights nearby.

"However it is not something we would rush into and nothing has been decided officially."

Two were stolen within days and the remaining two—A Mill Worker and Bargee—were vandalised shortly after.

The four heritage statues, together with information boards cost a total of £36,000, and were erected around the newly redeveloped Wigan Pier complex in January as part of the heritage interpretation scheme.