Market traders want rethink over St Albans Samuel Ryder statue

Dave Lawrence (Centre, white coat) and other traders of St Albans market with a petition to move a p

Dave Lawrence (Centre, white coat) and other traders of St Albans market with a petition to move a proposed Samuel Ryder statue to a different location - Credit: Archant

MARKET traders are calling for a rethink on the proposed location of a bronze statue to honour the life of Samuel Ryder.

The Samuel Ryder Foundation has submitted plans to erect a statue of the famous St Albans figure and golf’s Ryder Cup creator in front of the Town Hall.

But the choice of location has been met with opposition by market stallholders who have gathered a 230-signature petition following concerns the memorial would affect their trade and vehicle access on market days.

Dave Lawrence, who runs food van Tasty Bites, said: “If this goes ahead it will set a precedent for further statues and monuments. After all this is a shopping centre and if they start putting statues up there is going to be less and less space for the market.

“I hope they have a rethink. We will wholeheartedly support any location which will not interfere with local trade. There is plenty of space that would be ideally suited.”

The businessman went on to suggest the roundabout at the top of St Peter’s Street or the thoroughfare from St Peter’s Street to the Civic Centre as possible locations for the statue.

Samuel Ryder’s great-niece, Diana Kearsley, has also said in light of the opposition towards the Town Hall proposal, outside Café Rouge in Holywell Hill could be an alternate spot. This was formerly known as Ryder Seed Hall and where Samuel Ryder housed his seed merchant business.

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During his life he also introduced one of the earliest sick pay schemes for his employees as well as supporting many good causes. He was Mayor of St Albans in 1905 and a councillor for 13 years and is buried in Hatfield Road cemetery.

Patricia Fulton, co-chair of The Samuel Ryder Foundation, which is funding the statue, said: “Where we would like it, it probably only affects two market stalls at the very most.

“We have looked at other locations and this is the one that has been chosen. He is a prominent figure in St Albans and he really needs a prominent place.

“Other towns have markets and statues and St Albans is bereft of any statues. We are not pushing them out of business and we realise it is a great market. We feel they could work along with the statue.”

Public consultation on the plans has now closed and a date is due to be fixed for the application to go before a council planning committee.