This site celebrates the life and work of sculptor John
Cassidy (1860 - 1939).
27 March 2009 was a historic day for students of John Cassidy's work, as his major allegorical work 'Humanity Adrift on the Sea of Life' returned to public display after several years in storage (see our main 'Adrift' page for the history of the work.)
Detail of the wife and baby.
The head of the family tries to summon assistance. In his new position he is facing across the square towards Manchester's war memorial Cenotaph, designed by Edwin Lutyens, where the Remembrance Service is held every November.
Detail abounds. In the background is the terracotta facade of the Midland Hotel, designed by Charles Trubshaw and opened in 1903.
St Peters Square in the 1960s, from an old postcard. The Cenotaph in the foreground; the new site for 'Adrift' is near where the red telephone box was, left of centre.
Just before ...
Passing the site on 21 March, workers could be seen preparing the plinth ...
... and by 25 March it was ready - just the place for the author to make an appearance....
Links and References
A very fine photograph of 'Adrift' in its new location, by Steven Heaton.
St Peters Square, by Manchester City Council
Buildings on Wikipedia:
Manchester Central Library
The Midland Hotel
The Town Hall
J.J. Parkinson-Bailey, Manchester: an architectural history. Manchester University Press, 2000.
Special thanks to Mr Strittmatter and his team at Manchester Galleries for making this happen.
'Adrift' revived - March 2009Supplement to 'Adrift'
See the News page for an important update, April 2011.
The original plinth of 1908 carried a plaque with the following inscription:
HUMANITY ADRIFT ON THE SEA OF LIFE, DEPICTING SORROWS AND DANGERS, HOPES AND FEARS AND EMBODYING THE DEPENDENCE OF HUMAN BEINGS UPON ONE ANOTHER, THE RESPONSE OF HUMAN SYMPATHY TO HUMAN NEEDS, AND THE INEVITABLE DEPENDENCE UPON DIVINE AID.
This plaque seems to have vanished many years ago: however, a replacement has been created and installed since these pictures were taken.
The new location is by the busy transport hub of St Peters Square in the centre of Manchester, and a short walk from the city's Art Gallery, just out of the view above in the distance. Visitors to the Gallery should alight here from the Metrolink tram.The colours of the Metrolink trams, introduced in 1992, have become a trademark of Manchester, but are soon to be replaced by a new livery which appears to be inspired by custard.
The work seen from all four sides. The tent-like structure in the background is part of a children's play area,
The square is home to some of Manchester's most memorable buildings: the classical portico in the right-hand view above belongs to the Central Library, designed by E. Vincent Harris and completed in 1934.
The arcades are part of the 1930s Town Hall Extension, also designed by Harris, harmonises with Alfred Waterhouse's adjoining Town Hall in Albert Square. (See our Albert Square page.)
St Peter's Church. built 1788-94 and demolished in 1907 to create the Square, stood in the centre of the square: the buildings in the background here were built after World War II. The one to the left, Elizabeth House (1960) apparently should have had stone facing, but the developers ran out of money. It looks forlorn, and almost empty in 2009; a new redevelopment has been announced ... by the same group who put the bland new office block on Piccadilly Gardens where 'Adrift' used to be: let us hope for something better.
Cassidy has signed in his usual way. 'John Cassidy Fecit ... 1907.' 'Fecit' is Latin for 'he made it' and was used my many artists and sculptors in older times.
We can only hope that any signatures left by more modern artists are speedily removed.
Text and Pictures by Charlie Hulme April 2011