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BIRMINGHAM: Statues erected in fight to save Selly Oak library

BIRMINGHAM: Statues erected in fight to save Selly Oak library

image courtesy of Windswept Workshops

Inspirational local figures have been immortalised outside of Selly Oak library in a fight to re-purpose the historic building as a community asset.

Statues of Emma Cadbury, who donated the land that the library stands on, Josiah Horton, the first ever park keeper of Selly Oak Park, and a Selly Oak nurse have all been erected outside of the historic building.

The campaign is part of a wider effort by local group Windswept Workshops to  reopen Selly Oak library as a community and arts centre, with local residents’ groups teaming up with Windswept to save the iconic listed building.

The library is currently under the control of the city council, which has to appeal to the charity’s commission in order to have it released to groups such as Windswept.

Each of the statues is accompanied by a placard explaining who it is dedicated to and their place in Selly Oak history, with the placard for the ‘Selly Oak Nurse’ reading: “This statue celebrates the staff that worked at the old Selly Oak hospital, and the local people who work in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital today.

“These are the individuals who have kept our community thriving against the odds, and who we think history must not forget.”

And Windswept founder Gaby Songui says she hopes the new additions will help re-energise the campaign to redevelop the library, which she described as ‘increasingly run-down’.

“Windswept are incredibly excited to finally have our silhouette statues up outside the library, bringing some life into the increasingly run-down Grade 2 listed building,” she said.

“We are proud of the community for coming together to support the campaign for the library, we are proud to be able to create an art display in an everyday space, and we are especially proud of our artists, Gugan and Henry, for creating such impactful pieces of art.

“Hopefully, the statues can give the library campaign the momentum it so sorely needs, and inject some more art into Selly Oak high street.”

Words: Tom Dare, Local Democracy Reporter

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