April 16, 2021 1.06 pm This story is over 14 months old

Grantham council will return alternative Thatcher statue to artist

Council were keeping it while investigating with police

South Kesteven District Council will give an alternative Margaret Thatcher statue back to the artist who created it, after storing it for a police investigation.

The statue was created by Mark Robla, a 34-year-old sculpture and street artist from Grantham, who said he was “saving the council £400,000” by making it.

Mark’s alternative piece depicts former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher with her head, made of plaster, stuck on a spike made of office chairs, and her iconic handbag at the bottom.

The homemade statue standing on the 10ft plinth designed for the council’s unveiling. | Photo: MarkRobla

In February 2021, he created the 5ft design and stuck it on the 10ft plinth at St. Peter’s Hill in Grantham town centre, designed for the £300,000 bronze statue of the Iron Lady, though his cost just £100 to make.

His statue was only on the plinth a matter of days, however, as the council took down the art installation and kept it in storage while police investigations took place.

Mark’s design is made up completely of office chairs and plaster. | Photo: MarkRobla

These investigations will be over shortly and Mark will soon be given his statue back, according to the council.

A spokesperson for South Kesteven District Council said: “This item has been held in safe storage since the incident to allow completion of both the police and our own investigations into what happened.

“We will shortly be contacting Mr Roberts to arrange for it to be collected.”

It was a long journey for Mark to get his statue back, as he told The Lincolnite that multiple calls and emails were ignored by SKDC.

The statue of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher that will be placed in Grantham, her birth town.

It was one of just many forms of opposition aimed at the proposal for the statue since it was announced in 2019, with over 14,000 people on Facebook also registering interest in an egg-throwing contest at the statue’s unveiling.

The unveiling event of the statue was originally due to cost £100,000, but South Kesteven District Council U-turned and decided to underwrite the event rather than fund it.

Sculptor Douglas Jennings applying the finishing touches to the stature when it was created.