Stow's iconic stocks set to be repaired

Cotswold Journal: Mayor Alun White pictured with the stocks last year. Picture by Paul Jackson. Mayor Alun White pictured with the stocks last year. Picture by Paul Jackson.

THE iconic stocks in Stow's square which were in danger of being replaced with a replica are finally set to get the vital repairs they need.

The Grade II listed monument, which in part date back to the late Victorian era and is photographed by thousands of tourists every year, is falling apart and the bottom rail completely split.

As previously reported, Stow Town Council applied to Cotswold District Council at the end of 2012 for listed building consent for the temporary removal of the stocks so they could be repaired.

But after objections from English Heritage and Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) - which said they should be replaced with a replica - it seems they may have come to a solution after months of delays.

Richard Hayes-Hall, of Littlewood Building Conservation Services, who has written a report for the town council about the stocks as part of his MA in Ancient Buildings, said without them, The Square would be "very much diminished".

Speaking to members at last Thursday's meeting, he said: "They have little historic value, however, what they do have is significant aesthetic value.

"They contribute to the aesthetic value to the square and in general they contribute to the conservation area. You have one of the most important set of stocks from a cultural value I've ever come across.

"Japanese tourists all love to have their photos taken in the stocks. They are clearly of cultural value."

In his report, Mr Hayes-Hall said the upright posts date back to the late Victorian period, the cross members were from about the 1930s while the Wrought iron metal work dated to the 1950s.

He said as they were not valuable enough to take away and put in museum, he suggested repairing the tops and bottoms of the posts and replacing the lower cross member.

Councillors agreed to modify their original plan to include Mr Hayes-Hall's recommendations.

Speaking after the meeting, Mayor Alun White said he hoped the Stocks could now be repaired.

"They are quite a feature of Stow and they were getting very decrepit," he said. "Hopefully we can come to an arrangement with the conservation officer and CDC."

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