Wilfred Owen sculpture to be placed in Ripon Market Square

Ripon Market Square.
Ripon Market Square.

A sculpture of Wilfred Owen will be placed in Ripon Market Square to celebrate the war poet’s connections to the city, if Harrogate Borough Council gives the project the go-ahead.

Ripon City Councillors hope that the life-sized and bronze cast bust of Owen’s head will attract new visitors and provide a local point of interest for residents to enjoy and take pride in.

Wilfred Owen was posted to Ripon Army Camp in March 1918 and composed a number of poems during his time off-duty. He stayed in a cottage along Borrage Lane and is said to have spent his 25th birthday in the Cathedral.

Coun Mike Chambers said: “Wilfred Owen is very much associated with the city, so it feels very appropriate for us to have this sculpture.

“Given his connections to Ripon it is also appropriate for it to be on display to the best advantage in the Market Square.

“The sculptor himself is very keen that it goes on public display. Wilfred Owen wrote about ordinary soldiers and it makes sense for it to be as accessible as possible to everybody rather than hidden away.

“Anything we can do to attract local interest and more visitors into the city, we should do it. And I think the people of Ripon will accept it in the spirit that it was given.”

Councillors had discussed placing the sculpture in Ripon Cathedral, but following a visit by sculptor Anthony Padgett, it was decided that the southern half of the square would be the best option.