Sunday 20 December 2009

Advent 20: the Statue of Liberty

What on earth is a copy of the Statue of Liberty doing on a roundabout in Leicester? Well, the large building in the background (student flats) replaced a factory which was originally called Lennards Shoes. In 1920 the directors of Lennards Shoes visited New York, were impressed by the Statue of Liberty, and on their return to Leicester commissioned sculptor Joseph Herbert Morcom to produce one for their firm, which they named Liberty Shoes.

The statue was placed on top of the building and became a prominent landmark until the building was demolished in 2002. The council stipulated that the statue should be retained and, after much wrangling, it was finally erected on its current spot at the end of 2008. Bizarrely, the plaque on the statue's plinth makes no mention of Liberty Shoes, leaving the newcomer to Leicester with no clue as to why this unlikely scene came to be.