Why Wallsend Needs a (New) Statue of Hadrian
8th April 2023
Money is Finally Being Spent on the Town
Despite failing to win Levelling Up funds from the government, Wallsend will undergo the “Ambition for” program just as North Shields has done. The regeneration of Wallsend is much deserved in my view and the plans look good. But why not add a statue of Hadrian to the mix? It would provide a powerful, widely recognised and highly appreciated symbol for the town.
The place it would work best is by the seating that is planned on the north side of the fort. Alternatively, it could be stood outside the Forum shops.
There was Once a Statue of Hadrian at Wallsend
It appears Hadrian’s Wall terminated actually in the River Tyne as a stretch of wall led out from the south east corner of Segedunum fort, possibly for 1/3 of a Roman mile (~500m) in length. As far as I can gather, most Wall historians believe at this terminus, there must have been a temple or a statue of Hadrian. This is depicted on an excellent illustration of the fort by by Peter Dunn which can be viewed at the Segedunum visitor centre.
It is quite possible that these constructions formed a dock. It is also presumed that on the plinth there was the following statement which has been plausibly reconstructed from two fragments found in the foundations of Jarrow church.
Erecting a new statue of Hadrian would provide a completeness to the millennia-old mystery of where the original one went. The statue may lie deep in the mud somewhere on the river bed. It may have been smashed up after the Romans abandoned Britain.
We’ll likely never know and that is why it needs to be replaced, so that people have something to look upon that was there all those centuries ago and represented the culmination of the gigantic work of the Wall.
London Has One, Why Not Wallsend?
There’s a great bronze of Emperor Trajan on a section of the London Wall at Tower Hill. London is clearly a place that greatly cares about its history and we could learn a lot from the way they do this.
The Trajan statue is a famous attraction in the capital and one of Hadrian would be just as popular if not more so here in Tyneside.
The question for me is not, why Wallsend should have one, but why hasn’t Wallsend got one?