The Bloxwich Tardis – Unveiled!

On Friday, 27 July 2007, at 2pm, around 75 people gathered on a sunny but windy Elmore Green to celebrate the spirit and heritage of an ancient Black Country town – Bloxwich.  The occasion was the unveiling and dedication of ‘The Bloxwich Column’ (now better known as The Bloxwich Tardis!), a remarkable work of art in cast iron and steel, comprising sixteen sculpted panels, each depicting a different aspect of the history and heritage of Bloxwich back to the days of its Anglo-Saxon settlement before 1086.

Walsall Council and Walsall’s New Deal have been working for the past year with the artists Ron Thompson and Julie Edwards and the people of Bloxwich to create the column.  Located at the church end of Elmore Green, not far from Bloxwich Library, its imposing presence is now complemented by three attractively designed, detailed and illustrated information boards about the history of Bloxwich, framed on sculpted metal pillars and located near the Column at the entrance to Elmore Green, and at the entrances to the Market Square (a double panel headed Bloxwich Market), and Bloxwich Park.


The ‘Bloxwich Column’ was ceremonially unveiled by the Mayor and four Bloxwich Carnival Queens:  L to R Tammy Scale (2003), Lindy Barnsley (2007), Kirsty Rolston (2006) and Samantha Badger (2005).  This was followed by a special dedication by the Revd. Mal Hawksworth, vicar of the church of St. Thomas on Mossley Estate, Bloxwich, who was standing in for the Rector of Bloxwich, Stephen Rawling.

The Column, its symbolism and meaning for the people of Bloxwich, the character of the town and the contributions made to the project by various groups and individuals, were spoken of at length by the Mayor of Walsall Clllr. Melvin Pitt, Tom Perrett, MBE (Chair, Walsall’s New Deal), Ken Worley (Chair, Bloxwich Carnival Committee and Friends of Bloxwich Parks) and the artists.

Ken Worley referred to the Column in relation to other famous sculptures in the area (notably the ‘Floozy in the Jacuzzi’ in Birmingham), and dubbed it “The Bloxwich Tardis”, a small variation on our previous suggestion of “The Bloxidge Tardis” made by The Edditer when The Tallygraph released the background story of the Column on 7 July before the local press.  We hope this important piece of art will now become widely known as “The Bloxwich Tardis”, as it truly is a Time Machine!

The sculpture has been cast locally, in Willenhall by Purbright Castings, many of whose workers come from the Bloxwich area.

You can find out more about Purbright, who are based at the Providence Works in Chapel Green. Willenhall, by checking out their website at: http://purbright.co.uk

For more background on the project, see our original story, below, and a new Photo Album from the unveiling day here, with a full set of the cast iron panels for you to view.

NOTE:  Photos will be added over the next few days, so be sure to revisit the Bloxwich Column Album Unveiled to see all the pictures!

Stuart Williams, Edditer, 27 July 2007

Artists Ron Thompson and Julie Edwards with the Local History panel at Elmore Green.

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Bloxwich Column Album – Unveiled!

Click here to see the latest photos of the Bloxwich Column unveiling on 27 July 2007 and detailed images of the artwork itself.

NOTE:  You may have to wait a while for the carousel to download, especially if using dialup.  Click on the left and right arrows to glide between photos.  Click on the thumbnail images  to open a photo.  Click on the large photo to get a larger one suitable for printing.  All photos copyright Stuart Williams 2007.

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The Bloxwich Column – Previewed

STOP PRESS:  Time Machine Lands on Elmore Green!

Dateline:  7 July 2007

First revealed online by ‘The Bloxidge Tallygraph’ on 4th July 2007, the remarkable new ‘Bloxwich Column’ monument, designed by artists Julie Edwards and Ron Thompson, is now looked at in more detail in this special feature.

Walsall Council and Walsall’s New Deal have been working for the past year with Ron and Julie (best known for their superb work on the new Bentley Cairn) and the people of Bloxwich to create this stunning column representing the town and its ancient heritage.

The ‘Bloxwich Column’ stands 3.5 metres (more than 11 feet) tall and is constructed from cast iron and mild steel.  Located at the church end of Elmore Green, not far from Bloxwich Library, its imposing presence will also be complemented by three attractively designed, detailed and illustrated information boards about the history of Bloxwich, which will be framed on metal pillars and located near the Column on Elmore Green, in the Market Square, and in Bloxwich Park.

Julie and Ron have been working with Walsall’s New Deal, the Friends of Bloxwich Parks, Walsall’s Local History Centre, Stuart Williams of Walsall Local History Centre (and Edditer of ‘The Bloxidge Tallygraph’), George Jevons (Friends of Bloxwich Parks), Nigel Wiggin (Old Hall Club) and a number of community groups and schools to develop ideas for the artwork, which is ‘illustrated’ in the cast iron column.

The artwork, which combines the ‘heavy metal’ of Bloxwich’s industrial heritage with a rustic woodcut style evocative of the village’s agricultural and ancient past,  features sixteen cast iron panels (four on each side) illustrating the things which local people felt best represented Bloxwich and includes Pat Collins, Bloxwich and its Saxon origins, Samuel Wilks and The Foreign, awl blade making, iconic local buildings and the Old Hall Company to name but a few.

The square column is capped with iron and a symbolic golden-coloured representation of the legendary Bloxwich ‘Wishing Tree’.  The sculpture has been cast locally, in Willenhall by Purbright Castings, many of whose workers come from the Bloxwich area.

You can find out more about Purbright, who are based at the Providence Works in Chapel Green. Willenhall, by checking out their website at:  http://purbright.co.uk

A special Time Capsule, put together by the project’s steering group, has also been buried for posterity in the concrete base of the column.  The capsule contains many different things including newspapers such as the Black Country Bugle, Telegraph, maps, money, photos, and articles about Bloxwich.

The project has been funded by Walsall Council (£35,000) and developed in partnership with Walsall’s New Deal for Communities.

The ‘Bloxwich Column’ will be unveiled on Friday 27th July at 2.00pm, by three Bloxwich Carnival Queens at Elmore Green, Elmore Row, Bloxwich (see News pages).

Edditer’s Comment:  I can’t help thinking that this fine piece of public art – which is specifically designed to reflect the ancient heritage and independent spirit of Bloxwich – bears a striking resemblance in outline to a certain Police Box which stars in the BBC’s most popular television programme, Doctor Who.  Seems appropriate – after all, this, too, is a Time Machine of sorts!

Could this become better known as ‘The Bloxidge Tardis’?  Only time will tell!

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News, heritage and information for Bloxwich and district

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