First Permanent Philip Astley Monument

The UK’s first permanent monument to Philip Astley and his legacy of the circus is now in place but bad weather is slowing off the completion of the ground work and delaying the official unveil.

The sculptures were designed by Newcastle-based Candida Kelsall and then manufactured by local apprentices from leading apprenticeship provider, PM Training and feature metalwork silhouettes of ringmaster Philip Astley surrounded by two horses on pyramid bases.

Apprentices from PM Training carried out the welding, cutting, assembly, installation and landscaping of the sculptures supported by PM Training’s Artworks Manager, Phil Brown.

The Realise charity is dedicated to improving communities across Staffordshire and the new sculptures, funded by the charity with support from the Business Improvement District, situated on George Street in the birth town of Philip Astley.

Realise charity has supported the installation of metalworks sculptures across the county, including ‘The Trout’ installed in 2015 on the Nelson roundabout, as part of its environmental improvement programme.

On behalf of the Philip Astley Project Andrew Van Buren praised the locating of the monument “it is fantastic that hot on the heels of unveiling the Philip Astley plaque in Monaco last month as part of the Monte Carlo Circus Festival, we now have this first permanent UK monument tribute to Astley here in his birthplace of Newcastle-under-Lyme”.

Unfortunately due to bad weather the unveil date is being moved to later in the year, possibly to coincide with World Circus Day in April. During this 250th anniversary year of Philip Astley starting the process of creating the modern circus, it is important to celebrate in as many ways and mark the anniversary here in the Astley Family hometown of Newcastle-under-Lyme here in Staffordshire.

Andrew is quoted “when you look at what William Shakespeare has done for Stratford-upon-Avon then what can Philip Astley do for Newcastle-under-Lyme, Philip Astley is Newcastle-under-Lyme’s Shakespeare”.

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