Work begins to restore iconic Thomas Telford statue

Conservation work has begun on the iconic statue of Thomas Telford to mark 30 years since it’s unveiling and as part of Telford’s 50th anniversary celebrations.

The 3m high and 8m wide statue, created by sculptor Andre Wallace, is situated in Telford Square. It shows the figure of Thomas Telford in waistcoat, shirt and trousers leaning over the letter ‘o’ of ‘Telford’, holding a top hat in his hands, with his coat hanging on the letter ‘d’.

When it was first unveiled, the bronze and iron statue was painted. The letters ‘T’ and ‘l’ and the full stop at the end were painted black and edged in light grey. The letters ‘e’, ‘f’ ‘o’, ‘r’ and ‘d’ were reversed; painted light grey and edged in black. Thomas Telford and his coat were also painted black. The weather has, however, taken its toll over the last 30 years, stripping away all traces of the original paintwork.

Work to clean up the statue and surrounding area started yesterday.

Specialist contractors are using a power washer to wash away the grime that has built up over time. Once cleaned up, the statue will be restored to its former glory and painted in black and grey; as it was on the day of its unveiling. The block paving and brickwork around the statue will also be rejuvenated.

Councillor Richard Overton, Telford & Wrekin Council cabinet member for conservation and heritage, said: “Thomas Telford had a huge impact on the county’s infrastructure and architecture. Our town is named after him. Wherever you see Telford mentioned, you are more than likely going to see the sculpture of Thomas Telford.

“It is an iconic artwork and we are pleased and proud to oversee its conservation, and the refurbishment of the surrounding square, as part of Telford’s 50th celebrations and legacy.”

Work to clean the statue and Telford Square is expected to be completed by 22 July. The next phase will see the statue repainted and the water features brought back to life.