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The Salters Return (Part 2)

Three years after it was desecrated by callous scrap metal thieves, I am delighted to announce that the ‘Dr Salter’s Daydream’ installation is now proudly back in place at Bermondsey Wall East.

The new Dr Salter statue glimpsing at an image of his late daughter, Joyce

The new Dr Salter statue glimpsing at an image of his late daughter, Joyce

In the first half of the 20th century, Dr Alfred Salter and his wife, Ada were Bermondsey legends; a deeply committed couple who devoted their lives to helping improve the lives of the poor by providing free healthcare (unheard of at the time) and improving local housing and amenities.

Dr Alfred and Ada

Dr Alfred and Ada

Working together as a team the couple lived alongside the folk of Bermondsey, amongst whom they were fondly known as Ada and Alf. Their daughter and only child, Joyce was also adored by locals, earning her the nickname; “Our little ray of sunshine.”

Tragically, Joyce contracted Scarlet Fever and died aged eight.

Statue of Joyce

Statue of Joyce

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First created by artist, Diane Gorvin in 1991, ‘Dr Salter’s Daydream’ portrayed an elderly Dr Salter sitting on a bench, wistfully waving at an image of his daughter, imagining happier days, long gone by.

Diane Gorvin with her original Dr Salter sculpture in 1991

Diane Gorvin with her original Dr Salter sculpture in 1991

On the night of the 20th November 2011, the statue of Dr Salter was stolen (luckily the culprits didn’t manage to get their hands on the statue of Joyce and her little, pet cat which were quickly placed into safe storage by Southwark Council).

Joyce and her cat in November 2014, back where they belong

Joyce and her cat in November 2014, back where they belong

The anger felt in the aftermath of this cruel crime rapidly transformed into a campaign to reinstate the statues and within just three years enough money had been raised to recreate the sculpture- as well as a new one of Ada Salter, thus bestowing London with the first public statue of a female politician.

Ada Salter's statue being unveiled by her grandniece, Janet

Ada Salter’s statue being unveiled by her grandniece, Janet

At 2pm on 30th November 2014, the new installation- by the same artist, Diane Gorvin– was unveiled in the presence of relatives of the Salters and the Rt Hon Simon Hughes MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark.

Welcome back, dear friends.

My previous articles on the Salters can be read here and here.

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4 responses

  1. SO glad you were there to record The Salter’s Return – and well done to all those people who campaigned and raised the money for this to happen. Andrina

  2. Thanks for letting me see this, great memories brought back. It is a bit too far from Norfolk, so being able to view the sculptures on your blog is ideal for me. Let’s hope that they are more securely fastened this time!
    Best wishes, Pete.

  3. Thank you very much for your blog, which I discovered last Sunday, just before attending the unveiling invited by a friend.

    We share our love for Londinium and what a luxury to be a blogger and a cabbie! It makes the perfect combination.

    You will see me int he miror in the future! 🙂

    Di

    1. Hi Di, that’s very kind 🙂 Many thanks and hope you enjoyed the unveiling.

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