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.
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!