Two carousel horse sculptures, which Stretton Parish Council bid for at a charity auction last year, have now settled into their new permanent homes in the village.
The parish council wanted to secure a horse because of the connection that Stretton has with George Orton (1844-1924) of world-renowned fairground ride makers Orton & Spooner.
In the summer of 2022, 30 uniquely-painted carousel horses were sited around Burton town centre for The Big Burton Carousel art trail, which was inspired by the fairground work that Orton & Spooner and their descendants did in the town from the 1890s to the 1950s.
Stretton Parish Council was able to secure two horse sculptures at the auction – one of which went to William Shrewsbury School, and one has now been mounted on the wall in the foyer of the Priory Centre.
Auctioneers Richard Winterton’s waived any fee or commission meaning that every penny of the £330 that the parish council paid in total for the two horses went directly to Burton & District Mind and is being spent on providing mental health support and services for local people including those in Stretton.
Elaine Pritchard, Chair of Stretton Parish Council, said: “George Orton and his daughter Annie lived at a house opposite William Shrewsbury school. At one time Annie Orton owned the land on which the school was built. So, it seemed appropriate that one of the two horses we obtained should go to the school. In fact, in his retirement in the 1920s, William Shrewsbury lived on Church Road, just a couple of doors down from George Orton and the two would have known each other well.”
The horse that now ‘lives’ inside the school is called The Fifties Flyer and was designed and painted by Burton artist David Tunks. It shows a day time fairground scene on one side, including the initials O & S, and a night time fairground scene on the other. During the trail it stood outside Stapenhill Cemetery where George Orton and Charles Spooner are buried.
The second horse is called A Regal Visitor and was designed and painted by Winshill twins Phillippa and Rachael Corcutt. Their design was inspired by the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022. It has been mounted on a wall in the entrance hall to the Priory Centre under the protection of a Perspex sheet along with its original plaque that names its artists and its original sponsors, Cosy Foundation.
Councillor Pritchard said: “We wanted the two horse sculptures to have a long and happy life and if they were placed outside we know they would soon degenerate due to weather damage and that there was a substantial risk that they would suffer vandalism. When A Regal Visitor was based in Stapenhill Gardens during last summer’s trail its carousel pole was snapped off and had to be repaired.”
“We are already getting some lovely feedback from visitors and users of the Priory Centre who enjoy seeing them and from the children and teachers at the school.”
Phillippa and Rachael Corcutt have painted more than 20 sculptures for art trails around the UK and you can see more about their work at https://www.corcutt.com/
Cosy Foundation supports community and children’s projects. See more at https://www.cosyfoundation.com/