M62 and car park ready for Wilson statue
Tuesday 12 March 1996
A list of proposed sites for a monument to Harold Wilson, the former Labour prime minister who died last year, including the top level of a multi-storey car park and a bridge over the M62 motorway, have been condemned as "barmy" by the citizens of his home town.
The life-size sculpture, which has not been completed, was commissioned to take pride of place in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, where Lord Wilson grew up in the 1930s. But there is concern that the suggested locations are an insult to his memory.
Among the other proposals, which will be considered by the policy committee at Kirklees metropolitan council tonight, are the middle of a roundabout on the outskirts of Huddersfield, the entrance to a shopping centre loading bay, and outside an electricity shop on the outer ring road.
Critics of the locations include Harold Ainey, 80, a former classmate of Lord Wilson's at New Street council school in Milnsbridge. "He would turn in his grave if he knew what was happening," he said. "All those sites, particularly the loading bay, are an insult to an outstanding politician and a great prime minister."
Lord Wilson, who died aged 79, rose from humble roots to become an Oxford don, the youngest cabinet minister this century, and the most successful Labour prime minister in history. But he never lost his common touch, and revelled in his image as a man of the people who poured HP sauce lavishly over everything he ate.
The preferred site for the memorial is St George's Square, in the heart of the town. Its supporters include Eric Lawson, who sits on the policy committee. "These other bizarre suggestions have exposed the council to ridicule," he said.
But the council has insisted that all the proposed sites will be discussed. "These are only suggestions, but there is a logic behind them, if you want to get the fact over that Harold Wilson was born in Huddersfield," said a spokeswoman for the council.
"A lot of people would see it if it was on a bridge over the motorway, or the loading bay. If the councillors think they are barmy they will say so, and they won't pick them."
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