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Shock and sadness as Norwich sculpture destroyed in car crash

PUBLISHED: 17:10 21 November 2018 | UPDATED: 14:51 22 November 2018

Stuart McLaren next to the Charlotte Howarth sculpture on St Augustine's Street before it was knocked over. Photo : Steve Adams

Stuart McLaren next to the Charlotte Howarth sculpture on St Augustine's Street before it was knocked over. Photo : Steve Adams

Archant 2010

A sculpture celebrating Norwich’s historic textile industry has been destroyed in a crash.

The brick and stone column was erected on a traffic island at the junction of Pitt Street and St Augustine’s Street in 2011.

But in the early hours of Sunday morning (November 18), it was knocked over when a BMW X5 crashed into it.

Stuart McLaren, secretary of the St Augustine’s Community Together Residents’ Association, said the sculpture celebrated the street’s link to the textile industry.

He said: “I hope it can be restored but one has to doubt whether it will be very high up on the council’s priorities.

Local historian Stuart McLaren with the remains of the sculpture inspired by Norwich's textile industry, which has been destroyed by a car running into it at the junction of Pitt Street and Botolph Street. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYLocal historian Stuart McLaren with the remains of the sculpture inspired by Norwich's textile industry, which has been destroyed by a car running into it at the junction of Pitt Street and Botolph Street. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

“I’m sad to hear what has happened. It couldn’t have done the car much good.”

Norwich City Council said the column was inscribed with the names of different types of textiles made on St Augustine’s street between the 13th and 19th century.

It was installed as part of the St Augustine’s gyratory project as an “attractive feature” marking the entrance to the street.

Swaffham-based artist Charlotte Howarth was behind the sculpture’s design and spent about 15 days carving words into the brickwork in 2011.

Stuart McLaren  next to the Charlotte Howarth sculpture on St Augustines Street. Photo:Steve AdamsStuart McLaren next to the Charlotte Howarth sculpture on St Augustines Street. Photo:Steve Adams

She said: “I am more shocked about the force required to knock it down. But on a positive note, it was an accident as opposed to a deliberate act of vandalism.

“It [the inscribing] was all done by hand and it was the drawing that is quite time consuming.

“I chose a selection of words that were the different types of fabrics made in the Norwich area.

“I would happily carve it again.”

Local historian Stuart McLaren with the remains of the sculpture inspired by Norwich's textile industry, which has been destroyed by a car running into it at the junction of Pitt Street and Botolph Street. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYLocal historian Stuart McLaren with the remains of the sculpture inspired by Norwich's textile industry, which has been destroyed by a car running into it at the junction of Pitt Street and Botolph Street. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The words inscribed on the column included grogrinette, ferrandines and bombazine.

The city council said it was “too early” to say whether or not the column would be rebuilt.

“We need to look further into cost implications,” the council spokesman said.

Norfolk police said the crash happened at about 2am on Sunday.

The remains of the sculpture inspired by Norwich's textile industry, which has been destroyed by a car running into it at the junction of Pitt Street and Botolph Street. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe remains of the sculpture inspired by Norwich's textile industry, which has been destroyed by a car running into it at the junction of Pitt Street and Botolph Street. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

A police spokesman said it involved a BMW X5 which “collided with street furniture”.

The spokesman said there was another vehicle that “went into” the BMW.

An ambulance was called, but no injuries were reported, and there were no arrests made.

• Do you know of a statue that has been damaged or vandalised? Email luke.powell@archant.co.uk

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