Liverpool Discovers

Plinth of Hugh Stowell Brown statue
The plinth on Princes Avenue

From the people who brought you the Super Lambanana trail and Go Penguins, Liverpool Culture are developing “Liverpool Discovers”. It’s going to be a cultural trail around the city of hidden gems. See more at the website.

I’ve just submitted Hugh Stowell Brown to the Liverpool Discovers site. It may not interest them, but I want to use every opportunity to get Hugh recognised as one of the heroes of the city.

This is what I’ve written:

“Opposite the gates of Princes Park, at the bottom of Princes Avenue in Toxteth is the empty plinth missing its statue. The plinth bears the name of Hugh Stowell Brown, a forgotten hero of our city.

Hugh Stowell Brown was a spiritual and civic leader in the city from 1847 to 1886. He was renowned as a preacher and public speaker for his down-to-earth style. His Sunday afternoon lectures drew crowds of thousands. He cared for the poor of the city, especially the widows of merchant seamen. He set up a “Workman’s bank” to help the poor working people to mange their finances at a time that banks were only for the rich.

Soon after Stowell Brown’s death a statue was raised to him, paid for by public subscription. The statue stood at first outside his church on Myrtle Street, then after its demolition was moved to Princes Avenue. It stood there from 1954 to 1988, when it was attacked by vandals and removed. The statue is still waiting to be restored.

The empty plinth now represents a man with the common touch, and a man forgottten and unappreciated. The empty plinth is itself a reminder of the past and how quickly we forget – and something worth discovering.

I’ve been researching the life of Hugh Stowell Brown for years and I recognised the broken statue lying forlornly in the farmyard of Croxteth Hall. I am myself the minister of a church that carried on the work of Stowell Brown’s church when it closed down.”

Let’s see where it goes from here.

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