The 150th anniversary of the death of one of the greatest engineers and inventors of the Victorian era – John Fowler – was commemorated on Saturday 27th September by the unveiling of an information board beside the Fowler Monument in South Park, Darlington.
The Friends of South Park and the Steam Plough Club designed and funded the board which summarises the achievements of John Fowler and the Company that he founded. The worshipful the Mayor of Darlington, Councillor Gerald Lee, officiated and guest speakers were Chris Lloyd – local historian and sub editor of the Northern Echo, and Dick Eastwood – secretary of the Steam Plough Club. The MC was Sandra Simpson of the Friends of South Park.
Marie Hirst (FOSP), Peter Longfoot and Dick Eastwood researched and designed the contents of the board.
The massive block of red Shap Fell granite was originally topped by a bronze model of a steam plough, on a bronze plinth decorated with sheaves of corn and laurel wreaths in relief, made by the metal founders Elkington & Co., Birmingham. It was first erected in the grounds of the home of Henry Pease – South Pierremont Gardens – and was moved to South Park around 1890. John Fowler’s wife, Elizabeth Pease, was Henry Pease’s niece. The bronze model that once sat on top of the plinth disappeared in 1979 after the monument was vandalised. It was never recovered.