The Pollyknocker – A Relic of Oldbury
The relic of defending oneself from unwanted attention.
Oldbury (once known as the town of four moons) was once the home of an ornate cast iron drinking fountain, topped with a life-sized figure depicting Europa, her right arm aloft and holding a torch. Forged at Coalbrookdale and opened in 1882, the fountain quickly became a centrepoint for Oldbury life with the figure being affectionately known locally as ‘Polly on the Fountain’.
As discussed on the extremely detailed Memorial Drinking Fountains site the statue stood on top of the fountain until Christmas Eve 1949, until a group of overly amorous revellers decided to climb up and become more intimate with Polly. In the ensuing fracas she lost her right arm and her torch, and despite being offered back to the town was deemed too expensive to repair. Here the torch has been remade as a sceptre and mace, giving Polly the means to defend herself.
The Pollyknocker is made from a threaded steel bar with gold leaf, aluminium wire, hex nuts, a resin and gold leaf globe topper and an end piece containing a large, triangular cut pink sapphire.
The Pollyknocker aims to be a symbol of defence, defiance and a refusal to devalue oneself.
Commissioned as part of the Blast! Festival of Photography, Walks and Talks 2019.