MOVING one of the district’s most impressive works of art to the city centre would help give it the prominence it deserves, according to members of the Bradford Civic Society.

The group’s latest meeting saw them debate whether the grand statue of Sir Titus Salt, currently based in Lister Park, Manningham, should be moved to the city centre. Most were in favour of the theoretical move, but agreed that money may be better spent on finding a way to honour one of the city’s historic female figures.

The statue and its impressive surroundings were created by Lockwood and Mawson during the lifetime of Sir Titus, and paid for by donations from the public. Originally it was based in what is now Centenary Square, allowing as many members of the public to see it as possible and be inspired by the businessman, former Mayor and founder of Saltaire.

But Bradford Council decided to move the statue after a tram line was built around the monument. It was moved to Lister Park in 1896, and then moved again within the park to its current location in 1904, where it has remained since.

Dr David Pendleton addressed members of the society on the history of the statue, and said of its current home: “I don’t think it is in a fantastic location. You can’t even see it from the street.

“It was designed to be seen from all four sides. It was hoped people would be inspired by Titus Salt who was a successful businessman who at the same time fought for the common man. That was the idea of putting this monument in the city centre.”

The meeting heard that moving the statue would cost at least £15,000.

However, Chair Si Cunningham said that rather than spend public money moving a statue of Sir Titus, the society would prefer cash instead be spent on remembering one of Bradford’s many female campaigners and heroes, who are barely represented in the city.

He pointed to Margaret McMillan, whose work to improve school conditions in Bradford shaped national policies, as one local hero who had no memorials to her name.

He said: “If we did get money to spend on something like this, we’d rather not spend it on moving a statue, we’d rather spend it creating a new memorial. Something recognising Margaret McMillan might be more suitable.”

But he said moving the Sir Titus statue could be part of a wider regeneration project, adding: “I think Bradford is going through more changes than it has in recent years. We will hopefully be getting more public spaces, and moving the statue to one of these could give it a real gravitas and make people realise they are in somewhere special. We would support it moving as part of a much wider scheme rather than a stand alone project.”

Some members said the statue was fine in its current location, and was an important part of Lister Park. But the majority of those at the meeting supported the idea of moving the monument.

The Civic Society will feed back details of the meeting to Bradford Council, which owns the monument and is responsible for Lister Park.