Newtown and Llanllwchaiarn Town Council has heard at a recent Resources Committee meeting that Welsh Ministers have officially recognised the historical and architectural significance of two landmarks in Newtown. The Robert Owen Statue in Robert Owen Memorial Garden and its accompanying Boundary Wall been included in the statutory list of buildings of special architectural or historic interest.

This announcement follows the proposal made by CADW, the historic environment service of the Welsh Government, last month.

The Robert Owen Statue, a captivating piece of art erected in 1956, is the collaborative creation of Gilbert Bayes and William Charles Holland King. The life-size bronze statue depicts Robert Owen, a pivotal figure born and laid to rest in Newtown, with a child sheltering under his cloak at his feet. The imagery symbolises Owen’s dedication to the co-operative movement, British socialism, education, and improved conditions for working people.

The story of the statue is as compelling as its subject. Initiated by Owen’s supporters soon after his death in 1858, the project faced delays due to local opposition. However, a committee was established in 1950, with funds provided by the Cooperative Union. Gilbert Bayes was commissioned in 1951, and despite Bayes’s passing in 1953, William Charles Holland King completed the work, making the statue an integral part of Newtown’s cultural landscape.

Robert Owen’s enduring legacy as a catalyst for the co-operative movement and a relentless advocate for social and educational reform is immortalised in this iconic statue.

The proposed listing by CADW highlights the historical and cultural significance of the Robert Owen Statue & Memorial Garden Boundary Wall. Newtown and Llanllwchaiarn Town Council which owns both the memorial gardens and the wall acknowledges this historical and cultural recognition and is committed to further preserve and celebrate the rich heritage of our town.

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