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Date 19 August 2009


The monument to John Kay of Bury, the inventor of the flying shuttle in Kay Garden, was designed by William Venn Gough (1842-1918) and unveiled in 1908. The park, on the site of a former market and the memorial was provided by Henry Whitehead, a wealthy manufacturer. John Kay was born in 1704. The exact date of his death is not known but he died in France in the winter of 1780/81.

The statue of Sir Robert Peel (the younger) by Edward Hodges Bailey stands in the Market Place. He was the son of the first Sir Robert Peel, and was born at Chamber Hall in Bury in 1788. He was later MP for Tamworth and became Prime Minister for a few months between December 1834 and April 1835, and then from 30 August 1841 to 29 June 1846. He founded the police force, hence their nickname of Bobbies. He defined the philosophy of the Conservative Party in the Tamworth Manifesto. This manifesto issued 1834 is widely credited by historians as having laid down the principles upon which the modern British Conservative Party is based. It was relatively modest by modern standards and the main aim was granting as small a reforms as were needed to survive. The Great Reform Act had been only two years earlier and had been opposed by Conservatives. Peel accepted it but as a "a final and irrevocable settlement of a great constitutional question". It had extended the franchise only marginally and it would be another 88 years before Britain had universal suffrage. He split the Conservative Party by repealing the Corn Laws which had imposed a tax on imported grain to protect land-owners interests. The provisions kept the price of bread high and was opposed by manufacturers who wanted cheap bread for their workers to avoid giving them pay rises. He promised that the Conservatives would undertake a "careful review of institutions, civil and ecclesiastical". Where there was a case for change, he promised "the correction of proved abuses and the redress of real grievances". He offered to look at the question of church reform in order to preserve the "true interests of the Established religion". Peel's basic message, therefore, was that the Conservatives "would reform to survive", i.e. to avoid civil unrest, but he opposed what he saw as unnecessary change, fearing "a perpetual vortex of agitation".

Parish Church of St. Mary the Virgin. There have been several churches on this site but the current one dates from the 1870s. The spire is about 28 years older; it was built as part of the restoration of an earlier church built in the 1770s to replace one completed in 1585 which in turn replaced one built about 1290.

Kay Monument   John Kay
John Kay Memorial   Plaque on Kay Monument
Peel   Church
Sir Robert Peel   Church of St. Mary
Arcade   East Window
North arcade in the church   Altar and East Window

Information on architects and sculpturs is drawn from Public Sculpture of Greater Manchester, by Terry Wyke and Harry Cocks, Liverpool University Press, 2004, ISBN-10: 0853235678


Town Walks

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