Archive for November 28th, 2023

The Peace Statue

A couple of days ago we held our annual Interfaith Service for the City. I wrote this for the MP of Hove – Peter Kyle, but sadly he was called away… so I read it. There was a quite a bit of laughter. Hope you like it…

Brighton and Hove’s Peace Statue

There were once two
Small neighbouring towns
That did not get on.

One was genteel, tidy, God-fearing
The other rude, brash and vulgar. 
Disagreement was common.

… And yet … the tale that follows 
Seems more comic-cuts than horror movie.

One sunny day in 1911
A wooden statue
Depicting ‘Peace’
Designed by Mr Newbury Trent
Was erected on the seaside borders
Of the bickering municipalities.

It was called ‘Peacemaker’
And it was named after old King Edward VII.

Some 30 feet tall – it was an angel
Holding an orb and an olive branch –
As you do… when peace comes to mind.
A year later a new home for nurses was opened
And on the same day
Newbury Trent’s bronze statue
Replaced the wooden one.

The location of this lovely figure
Was within the boundaries of Brighton
But its upkeep was Hove’s responsibility –
Another potential cause for disagreement.

On that day
In October 1912
One hundred and eleven years ago
The Duke of Norfolk
Unveiled the Peace Statue

In the build-up
To the great moment
Things went slightly upside down.

A horse bolted
Before the wobbly entourage
And its statue
Arrived at the chosen destination 

The civic band played up
But the result was gruesome and tuneless.

The entire glorious occasion
Was said to be a damp squib.

After the unveiling
Brighton’s mayor 
Made an irritable speech
Expressing the view that
Perhaps the Peace Statue
Might help Brighton and Hove
Learn to get on…
“Fat chance of that!”
Said Mrs Miggins in the front row.

For over 100 years the statue stood
Battered by wind and rain
Not to mention some ugly storms
But the Peace Statue knew peace
She was peace
Peace was her way
And having heard the words
Of the long-gone mayor
She fluttered her magnificent wings
And waved her arms
And made it happen.

Thus peace came to Hove and Brighton
And it is said that today
Even the Members of Parliament 
Talk to each other.

But best of all
Our beautiful statue
Reigns down peace on all of us 
Who look on her
And reminds us that for all its quirkiness
This is a unified, loving City of Peace.

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