Tregonwell/Creeke Statue, Bournemouth

From the “Dorset Magazine”, November 2000

The Tregonwell/Creeke statue commemorates two of the town’s sons, Captain Tregonwell and C C Creeke. The former is Lewis Dymoke Grosvenor Tregonwell (1758-1832), the ‘founder’ of Bournemouth, the latter, Christopher Crabbe Creeke, the town’s first surveyor. Creeke, in fact, was appointed Bournemouth’s first Town Surveyor in 1856 and it was he who laid out the town with its curved roads – curves being deemed more attractive for the town’s large houses.

Tregonwell/Creeke Sculpture, Bournemouth

Tregonwell/Creeke Sculpture, Bournemouth

Also commemorated on the statue, which is by the Corfe-based mason Jonathan Sells, are Bournemouth’s three holders of the Victoria Cross: Corporal Noble, Sergeant Riggs and Lieutenant Seagrim. All very worthy. Yet look closer, for Creeke, as befits his post as Inspector of Nuisances, is depicted seated on the lav and Tregonwell holds a bucket and spade!

We have Keith and Eileen Rawlings to thank for this one. The Rawlings had been Mayor and Mayoress of Bournemouth for 1998-99 and Keith Rawlings was, and still is, a councillor for the Winton Ward. Keith, it seems, after badgering his fellow councillors on the lack of public statues in the town and getting little response, decided to commission one himself, and what is more, to provide it at no cost to the community tax payer. Now, you’d think that the rather decorous Bournemouth would be the last place on the planet where you would find a statue of a man sitting on the lav, but, it seems, even Bournemouth can change its image.

This is public art that is witty and lively and, unlike those worthy statues that date from Victorian and Edwardian times, this one is actually looked at and enjoyed – students from Bournemouth’s University being particularly fond of it, many of them choosing to have their post-degree ceremony pictures taken alongside it!






Resort fails to see the statue’s funny side

From the “Daily Telegraph”, May 1999

Tregonwell/Creeke Sculpture

Tregonwell/Creeke Sculpture by Jonathan Sells, stone carver and sculptor.

At first glance, Bournemouth’s newest statue seems typical of public monuments in Britain’s towns. Standing proudly in full military uniform, Capt. Lewis Tregonwell, the resort’s founding father, is reading from a scroll bearing the names of the three Bournemouth citizens awarded the Victoria Cross. Flanked by fountains, the 7ft 6in tall, three and a half ton carving from Purbeck stone dominates the entrance to the Bounremouth International Centre.

But the statue’s reverse offers a less staid image, described by the sculptor as a slice of seaside humour. Hiding behind Capt. Tregonwell is Christopher Crabbe Creeke, Bournemouth’s first sanitary engineer, sitting on a lavatory stroking his beard, whilst Capt. Tregonwell holds a bucket and spade behind his back.

Several residents seemed less than pleased, but Mr. Rawlings, the outgoing mayor, said; “It is a very witty interpretation of my request for a statue which celebrates the life of two very important figures in the history of the town.” Jonathan Sells, the sculptor responsible, said; “I think it is a very fine piece with a real seaside joke tucked away in it.