13th October 1999.
View of statue Henry Rowland Marsden on Little Moor. The statue was by John Throp (1878) and shows his mayoral robes (mayor 1873-76): it was originally in Woodhouse Lane before being removed to Woodhouse Moor. 'Johnny on the potted beef', as Leeds cartoonist Phil May called him, commemorates Leeds' most popular Victorian mayor. Born at Holbeck, Marsden's only formal education came from the Sweet Street Methodist Sunday School. After apprenticeship as a tool-maker and machinist, Marsden emigrated to America (1848) making his fortune patenting Blake's Stone Breaker which he showed at the South Kensington Exhibition in 1862. Returning to Leeds he joined the council (Liberal) and became mayor (1873-4) initiating the Leeds Music Festival (1874). Noted for his generosity, he celebrated the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh's marriage with tea for 1,000 elderly citizens at the Town Hall. The Duke visited Leeds for the opening of the Yorkshire Exhibition of Arts and Manufacture held during Marsden's mayoralty. Over £1,000 was raised for this statue, with contributions from workers at Marsden's Soho factory. Local sculptor John Throp shows Marsden in mayoral robes using marble remaining from the Albert Memorial. Pedestal plaques represent Education, Industry and Benevolence; 'The Story of Marsden's Mayoralty ..' 1878 newspapers and a written testament were placed inside. (source: Leeds Statue Trail by Melanie Hall, 1995)
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