Campaigners are planning to revive the spirit of the Victorian age and reintroduce a tradition of building public statues.

Hove Civic Society is looking to raise funds through public subscription to build a range of artistic monuments across Hove and Portslade.

One proposal could see a Trafalgar Square-inspired Hove plinth host a range of temporary art pieces.

The group also hopes to establish links with other leading sculpture foundations in the country which could see work from some of the world’s greatest sculptors including Henry Moore, Anthony Gormley and Joan Miró loaned to the city.

The organisers hope to bring at least one significant new monument to the seafront on the scale of the Peace Statue or the Queen Victoria.

They say they have been inspired by the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square which has had a number of temporary sculptures and installations over the last seven years.

Public art

Popular plinth projects have included Marc Quinn’s sculpture of pregnant Sussex artist Alison Lapper and Anthony Gormley’s One and Other which allowed members of the public one hour on the plinth.

The civic society has convened a special group to look into the project including committee member Karin Janzon, Jill and Peter Seddon from the University of Brighton and Sussex Public Sculpture Recording Project, sculptor Hazel Reeves and Mike Daniels from Hove Arts.

They have already held what they describe as positive meetings with the council about their proposals.

Aware of the scarcity of public funds, the group wants to use the Victorian method of public subscription used to build monuments like the Peace Statue through donations from members of the public and businesses.

They concede that the process of identifying suitable sites and works and fundraising could take up to two years.

Ms Janzon said: “We know public money is tight at the moment and we are not expecting the council to come up with the funds for this.

“We are keen to get the ball rolling and identify a number of sites in addition to the idea for a plinth.

“Our city has some impressive examples of Victorian monument but has very little public sculpture that has been added since the 1920s.

“Public art can play such a role in improving people’s experience of the city, putting a smile on people’s faces as they walk around the city.”

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