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Press release : City to Celebrate 150th Anniversary of Prince Albert Statue

Released: Wednesday, September 28, 2016


Mayor of the City of Wolverhampton, Cllr Barry Findlay with Rob Millard from Wolverhampton Central Youth Theatre dressed as a town crier launch the Prince Albert 150 celebrations.

Wolverhampton’s iconic Prince Albert statue is 150 years old this year and the city intends to celebrate the anniversary in style.

The Queen Square landmark – better known locally as ‘the man on the ‘oss’ – was unveiled by Queen Victoria on 30th November 1866.

City of Wolverhampton Council has organised a programme of events to mark the historic anniversary.

The Mayor has also launched a special series of community awards to honour unsung heroes and voluntary organisations which make a difference to life in the city.

The event programme is officially called:

‘Prince Albert 150 – Celebrating Wolverhampton’.

On November 23, the statue will be formally rededicated with a plaque installed.

A week later on November 30 - which is the actual anniversary of Queen Victoria’s visit - will see a host of activities taking place.

These include:

  • A parade by the military and West Midlands Fire Service through the city centre arriving at the statue in Queen Square
  • Performances by the city’s award-winning Central Youth Theatre
  • A toast at 1.50pm where the public will be invited to raise a glass to Victoria, Albert and the City of Wolverhampton
  • A multi-faith service of celebration at St Peter’s Church
  • A dinner for the Mayor’s community award winners

The story of how the statue came to Wolverhampton is fascinating. The death of Prince Albert in 1861 shocked the nation and a devastated Queen Victoria disappeared from public life consumed by grief.

An image of Wolverhampton’s iconic Prince Albert statue.

During her years of mourning, she received a letter from a group of fellow widows from Wolverhampton which deeply moved her. She apparently vowed that if she was ever to return to public life, she would visit the Black Country town and repay her subjects for their compassion.

True to her word, she accepted an invitation to come to Wolverhampton to unveil a new statue in tribute to her late husband in 1866. The news shocked the rest of the country who could not understand why Her Majesty would choose industrial Wolverhampton over bigger places like London and Manchester.

The visit to Wolverhampton was a huge story which was reported across the world. It is thought 100,000 people lined the streets for a chance to see the Queen.

She was so moved by the reception she received and impressed by the statue itself that she surprised the crowds by taking a sword and knighting the Mayor, John Morris, on the spot.

It is a story for which current Mayor of the City of Wolverhampton, Cllr Barry Findlay, said he wanted more people to be aware of and feel proud about.

He added: “The Prince Albert statue is an iconic Wolverhampton landmark which has proudly stood in Queen Square for 150 years.

“It is a beautiful statue and it has huge significance because Queen Victoria herself came to Wolverhampton to unveil it and it was her first appearance for years after disappearing from public life while grieving for Albert.

“She snubbed bigger towns and cities like London, Liverpool and Manchester and chose to come to here because she had been so touched by a letter written to her by some fellow widows from Wolverhampton.

“As a city we should be enormously proud of this fascinating story and I want more people to be aware of the history of the statue which remains an important part of life in Wolverhampton today.

“These anniversary celebrations are a great way for people to learn more about the statue and I want as many people as possible to get involved.”

People can find out more about what is planned for ‘Prince Albert 150’ and how to nominate someone for a Mayoral Community Award by visiting www.princealbert150.com