Fringe Box



Sparks Fly

Published on: 17 Feb, 2012
Updated on: 1 Mar, 2012

David Rose and Perky Parke

Verbal sparks flew on local airwaves this morning as a proposal to erect a sculpture to commemorate Guildford’s 19th century Guy Riots was debated by Alderman Bernard Parke and this website’s own David Rose.

Both had been invited in to BBC Radio Surrey’s breakfast show broadcast from their studio in the University of Surrey campus.

The ‘combatants’, David and Bernard are actually good friends and together have written two books on Guildford’s History called, ‘Guildford Remember When’ [Breedon Books 2007] and ‘Guildford Through Time’ [Amberley Publishing 2009]. However, they take opposing views on the proposal.

David said that he felt the sculpture would commemorate something that was, despite the violence, a notable part of Guildford’s history and pointed out that Guy Fawkes Night celebrations were actively encouraged at the time because it was feared that they would die out. He also thought that additional works of art are good for their own sake and also help to tell the story of the town.

Bernard, the great grandson of a Surrey Police Officer, who would have been serving during the period in question, disagreed. He felt that to commemorate unlawful, riotous behavior, which at one stage included a policeman being thrown bodily onto a bonfire, was completely wrong and inappropriate. He also felt that the proposed design was poor and that such an object, at a busy roundabout, might be distracting to motorists.

The sculpture would be funded by ‘planning gain’ (Section 106) monies due to be paid by computer gaming company ‘Electronic Arts’ whose offices, in Onslow Street, are situated near to the proposed site. A planning proposal was due to be refused by Guildford Borough Council but the decision has been ‘called in’ for debate at the full Planning Committee by Cllrs Caroline Reeves and David Goodwin, who represent St Nicolas and Friary Ward, next Tuesday evening (21st), at the Council Chamber in Millmead.

Readers can hear the radio debate by clicking here (move the slide timer to 2.39)

Click here to read David Rose’s article ‘Why Not A Sculpture To The Guildford Guys’

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