Cambridge City Statues
If you’re interested in art, history and you’re not afraid of some walking then statue hunting may be your favourite new pastime. Dotted around Cambridge are a series of statues that will take you all over the city centre and can either guide or complement your day out in Cambridge.
If you’re headed into the city then our list of statues can help you navigate your way around, and we begin with the most somber of them all, The Cambridge War Memorial. This piece of history is located at the top of station road as you walk up from the station, and serves as a timely reminder of the bravery of not only British soldiers but our local Cambridge lads who fought bravely so we could enjoy our days out.
Once you have passed The Memorial and paid your respects you’re then headed off to hunt down the Talos statue, which has been guarding Guildhall street since 1973. The artist Michael Ayrton was transfixed by Greek Mythology and the inspiration for Talos stemmed from the story of Daedalus; who is the father of Icarus and was famous for his inventions and the design of the Minotaur’s labyrinth. Ayrton famously wrote that with Talos “a certain tranquility lies in his stupid presence, a certain comfort. He has no brains and no arms, but looks very powerful.”
It is Talos’s powerful appearance that allows him to present as fearful as he guards the guildhall stoically and in synchronisation with the man of bronze he was inspired from. Ayrton created 7 bronzes of Talos and the one in Cambridge was the first to be cast, standing more than 2 feet tall. There was only one other that stood at this height.
After you have found this little piece of greek mythology you are then looking for the Walter Snowy Farr statue, and this could not be more different.
At the other end of the artistic spectrum, the Walter Snowy Farr statue fondly referred to as ‘Snowy”, is a piece of abstract art produced by Gary Webb. Webb wanted the statue to stand out within the community, something that is fun and joyous, and intriguing for all. Snowy did not disappoint. It was commissioned in memory of Mr Walter ‘Snowy’ Farr who was a prominent member of the Cambridge community, often dressing eccentrically in antique military wear and frequently accompanied by animals. Mr Farr was awarded an MBE in 1995 in recognition of his fund-raising and shortly after his death in 2007, his statue was commissioned as a memorial to his spirit and character. Snowy is located in the place he once stood, just off market square as you head towards the Grand Arcade.
Once you have spotted the abstract interpretation of Snowy it is time to head towards Christ College garden. Within the garden, there is a statue of Darwin, depicted in his youth. The Young Darwin was created by Anthony Smith and was unveiled on the 200th anniversary of his birth. This sculpture is in direct contrast with the many other depictions of Darwin as an older man. Instead, Smith wanted to capture Darwin during his last few years at Christ College where he was a young man with a lust for understanding life. The book in Darwin’s hands, is the book that inspired him to travel and investigate the natural history of foreign places.
And finally, if your feet aren’t hurting too much there is one more statue for you to hunt down. The Swimmers Statue. The Swimmers are located outside the Parkside pool, opposite Parker’s piece, on Mill Road. This statue will require some hunting to find as it can be concealed by the shrubbery! The name gives away most of what the statue is presenting to the passer by, and with its placement by the pool it doesn’t require a large stretch of imagination to understand the thinly veiled message. However, whilst some people have coined this an uninteresting statue, I think it begins to depict the nature of Cambridge. Friends chatting away, having had a lazy swim and likely heading off to the pub is how I view this piece of art. And whilst my interpretation would make an art critique turn their nose up and sneer at me I believe this is the true nature of a Cambridge local. We very much enjoy relaxing with our friends, just cast your eyes at any of the parks in Cambridge, the Parkside pool is much loved and used by the community and finally any student will tell you, the pub is a necessity not a want. Another positive about this statue’s location is that if you head down Mill Road you are headed towards the station as you conclude your day trip in Cambridge.
So if you are looking for another piece of Cambridge to compliment your visit to this wonderful city, then our statue scavenger hunt might be worth your time.
Posted on August 4th, 2021, by the Traditional Punting Company Editor