On Sunday 1st March 2020 Evocation of Speed statue was moved from its temporary home in Oaks Square to its permeant residents in Epsom Market Place. What was interesting for me, following its journey that cold Sunday morning from 7am, was how many people thought it was a new statue. So here is the history of Evocation of Speed and its journey.
The statue was designed to celebrate Epsom’s racing heritage with a sculpture, by Judy Boyt, to mark the millennium. The design shows the difference in riding styles and clothing from Diomed, the winner of the first ever Derby and Galileo, winner in 2001,
If you look at Diomed side it shows the jockey is dressed in buttoned breeches and rides with long stirrups, while Galileo and his jockey in more modern racing silks and short stirrups.
The sculpture Judy Boyt MA FRBS is renowned for her stunning equestrian and animal sculptures both large and small. notable works include the famous Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials trophy in silver, ‘Waiting…’ the life-size bronze of the Liverpool Working Horse sited on Albert Dock, Liverpool and of course the Evocation of Speed. When asked about her work she said “I want the sculptures to speak and have that energy that will excite the observer. I want to recreate the soul and power.” Evocation of Speed does that.
The statue was officially unveiled on Tuesday 9th July 2001 by Councillor Jean Steer. The cost is unclear but was paid for by the Queen, as well as local residents and businesses.
In 2017 due to redevelopment of Epsom Square the statue was moved into Oaks Square. For most people visiting the Square the statue was out of site and, as I found out on Sunday, most people thought it had gone. The plan for the statue was now to place it in the redeveloped Market Place
7am Sunday 1st March the job to move the statue to its permanent resting place in the morning start. The bolts and side panels were removed and the statue was wrapped to protect it during the move. A wooden frame was built around it to support it while being moved.
The first risky job was to lift the statue and and place it on the lorry. With extended arms the forklift moved into place packers were put under the forks and the statue so there was no movement. The statue was then strapped in place as the forklift lifted very slowly stopping regularly to check all was well. This stage of the journey ended as the statue was lowered slowly onto the lorry with a slight overhang. Next the slow drive to the Market Place.
Not wanting to block the traffic the lorry parked next to Wetherspoons. Making sure the area was clear and fenced off from people walking through the statue was unloaded and moved slowly into place. It was lowered on to two metal rollers. This was to help with the pinpoint placement lining up the noses of the horses with a spot on the wall of The Assembly Rooms. Once in place the slow task of drilling the 8 large holes for the bolts to keep it in place started. Once this was done the joining of the 2 sides was next. Again making sure everything was level and flush leaving no sharp edges took its time.
The work finished around lunchtime. All that is left to do is to lay new bricks around the base of the statue.
Evocation of Speed is the first of 2 statues to go into the Market Place the other will be the statue of Emily Wilding Davison the famous Suffragette who died in Epsom on the 8th June after running in front of the Kings horse in the 1913 Derby campaign ing for Votes For Women. For more details on the Emily Davison Memorial Project CLICK HERE
Watch a speeded up highlights of the move below