Jun 15 2012 By Jack Griffith
Ten year anniversary of Anticipation statue, High Street, Uxbridge.
TEN years ago, 20,000 people descended on Uxbridge to see the Queen unveil a showpiece sculpture for the town centre.
‘Anticipation’ depicts a woman, her two children and their dog ‘waiting for Daddy’. It was installed outside Uxbridge station and unveiled on June 25, 2002, during Her Majesty’s golden jubilee celebrations.
It was the brainchild of Hillingdon Arts Association (HAA), which had waited five years for its vision for a Millennium Sculpture Project to finally become a reality. The royal seal of approval was the icing on the cake.
To celebrate its 10th birthday, the deputy mayor of Hillingdon, Councillor Allan Kauffman, and HAA members gathered on June 2 to release dozens of balloons during an informal ceremony.
Lydia Holland, chairwoman of HAA’s sculpture committee, explained the motivation behind the project.
“Uxbridge town centre was very different in 2002; it wasn’t a very nice place to hang out.
“The Chimes did not exist, and it was mainly a derelict area. Many people felt there was no heart to the town.”
Intent on having a landmark that would help foster a sense of community – the project brief stated it must ‘encourage warm optimistic feelings in the hearts of those that walk by’ – HAA invited artists to submit their ideas.
From the shortlist of five entries, sculptor Anita Lafford’s Waiting For Daddy was chosen – it was later renamed Anticipation.
It was to cost £40,000, raised solely through sponsorship.
Despite being two years late for the millennium, the timing was spot on for the golden jubilee, and the project would bring the Queen to the borough for that historic summer’s day.
Mrs Holland believes the bronze has played a part in changing Uxbridge for the better.
“People meet and sit there, children play on it and pet the dog,” she said. “It’s such a landmark that it’s difficult now to realise that it hasn’t always been here.
“The HAA would have loved to have had a ‘father’ figure as well, but we couldn’t afford it – perhaps one day!”
● Are you fond of Anticipation? Let us know – www.uxbridgegazette.co.uk/tellus.