Frank Dobson’s Sculpture In Whitechapel
Woman & Fish by Frank Dobson in situ
Frank Dobson Sq in Whitechapel, where Cambridge Heath Rd meets Cephas St, was constructed in 1963 and named after the Clerkenwell-born sculptor whose ‘Woman & Fish’ formed the handsome centrepiece of the Cleveland Estate. Dobson’s sculpture of two figures entitled ‘London Pride’ situated outside the National Theatre serves a similar function on the South Bank.
Yet in 2002, Dobson’s sculpture was removed from its plinth in Whitechapel following a series of vandalisations which damaged it beyond repair, leaving a gaping hole in the streetscape to this day. In 2006, Tower Hamlets Council commissioned Antonio Lopez Reche to make a bronze replica, cast at a foundry in Limehouse, which was installed in Millwall Park on the Isle of Dogs in 2007.
The original installation of Frank Dobson’s sculpture at the Cleveland Estate celebrated the work of a major British sculptor in the year of his death and embodied a progressive belief in the importance of high quality public art as a means to improve the urban environment. Now residents of Whitechapel have raised a petition to return ‘Woman & Fish’ to the empty plinth in Frank Dobson Sq with improved lighting and security cameras to ensure its safety, restoring a cherished East End landmark to its rightful place.
The plinth in Cambridge Heath Rd has been empty since 2002
Fifteen years after the removal of his sculpture, it is still ‘Frank Dobson Sq’
Bronze replica by Antonio Lopez Reche in Millwall Park on the Isle of Dogs
Woman & Fish
London Pride by Frank Dobson outside the National Theatre on the South Bank
You may also like to read about