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We are absolutely delighted to report that restoration work will begin in May on the Leaning Woman Statue.  One of London’s most important pieces of modernist sculpture, the twice-life-size concrete statue was created by Czech sculptor Dr Karel Vogel in 1959. It is one of the former Head of Sculpture at the Camberwell School of Arts’ last pieces of work. The statue was put on the Heritage at Risk Register in 2017 and HOLT has raised the funding for its restoration with generous donations from the public and Hammersmith & Fulham Council.

 

Dr Nicola Stacey, Director of HOLT, said “We’re so pleased to have this project up and running with a great conservation team on board and an exciting programme of visits and workshops celebrating Vogel’s work.”

 

Local young people will continue to learn about the statue and the history of London’s public art through our Proud Places youth engagement programme.

 

Work will take place through May and June with a public launch in July 2024.



Work has begun on the site of a former Benedictine nunnery in Bromley-by-Bow.

With records dating back to 1122, St Leonard’s Priory flourished on a site full of fishponds and orchards. The Prioress of St Leonard’s - whose French was spoken with a ‘Stratford’ accent – was inspiration for the satirical portrait of the Prioress in the General Prologue of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales.  The site’s Gothic Victorian entrance still stands and is being restored, alongside the small park inside.


Through our Proud Places youth engagement programme, local young people will continue to visit the site as restoration works take place and meet the stonemasons.

Heritage of London Trust is supporting the restoration of the How Memorial Gateway along with Tower Hamlets Council, who have given a Historic Buildings Grant.


Dr Nicola Stacey, Director, Heritage of London Trust commented: “London is full of hidden histories and this corner of Bow has a fascinating medieval past. Once vibrant with gardens, fishponds and brewhouses, it was lost in a dead-end street. We are thrilled to bring back to life its stories of Chaucer’s Tales, the Dissolution of the Monasteries, Huguenot refugees and the bombing of the East End in WWII. Our Proud Places programme offers a chance for local schoolchildren to get involved in the restoration work itself.”


Alexandra Williams, Buildings Adviser, Diocese of London commented: “We are delighted to be working with Tower Hamlets Council and the Heritage of London Trust on the restoration of the How Memorial Gateway. The Gateway marks the entrance to St Leonard’s Priory Park, an important historical site and local green space that provides the community of Bromley-by-Bow with a place for reflection and interaction with nature.”



Today 19 April marks the bicentenary of Lord Byron’s death and our Poet for Places Kira Nelson has released an epic poem about his life.

 

“This is the finest work of poetry that I have ever produced and I cannot tell you how many hours for days on end have been put into making Vyronas a poem worthy of the man!”


A wreath-laying at Westminster Abbey with the Byron Society and the Poetry Society commemorated his legacy:

 

But words are things, and a small drop of ink

Falling like dew upon a thought, produces

That which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think.

– Don Juan

 

Students from Ormiston Latimer Academy also visited Byron’s statue today as part of our Proud Places programme – 400 students have now learned about Byron in advance of his statue restoration project.



To read more about the statue restoration see here.

For more on Kira’s poetry see here.

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