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William Pirie centre stage at Piries Place Jubilee Celebrations

June 1, 2022

Proud schoolchildren from Horsham and the surrounding area excitedly showed off their special 70th Platinum Jubilee carriage, created for the famous William Pirie statue, this week. The design, which took weeks to paint by local children of all ages and abilities, created a stunningly colourful and cheerful design and put a smile on the face of every passer-by.

Piries Place tenants hosted a series of celebratory events for guests to enjoy, the highlight being the unveil of the special Jubilee themed carriage for Mr Pirie and his donkey. Art school art-K Horsham inspired children to create the unique piece, positioned at the heart of the Piries Place Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

Local schoolchildren transformed Mr Pirie’s Cart into a carriage fit for queens and kings by individually colouring 3 special templates, designed by art-K Horsham to allow children of all ages and abilities to show their creative flair. Children from the art-K classes were invited to dress up as queens and kings to celebrate its unveiling and, as they sat in the carriage, passers-by stopped to admire the children’s hard work.

The idea for the Jubilee design celebration came when The Horsham Society approached the council regarding a bronze plaque that had been lost from William Pirie’s statue. Plans were made to reinstate the plaque, along with a bronze step to replace one which was damaged during renovation work, in time for the Jubilee celebrations but the grand unveil had to be postponed. Despite this, the additional celebratory activity for the William Pirie statue went ahead as planned.

The statue of Mr Pirie and his donkey has stood proudly at the heart of Piries Place since 1993 and was created by sculptor Lorne McKean. During Piries Place renovations, William Pirie and his donkey was securely stored off site, returning to the town when Piries Place opened in 2019 after a £35million development.

The wording of the plaque, due to be unveiled at the end of June, describes why William Pirie is so highly regarded in Horsham:

This sculpture by Lorne McKean is for the enjoyment of the users of Pirie’s Place. It depicts William Pirie, who was Headmaster of Collyers from 1822-1868, during which time he became a familiar figure travelling around Horsham with his donkey & cart. He bought property in Horsham and built 15 cottages on this site naming it Pirie’s Place, from which this development takes its name.

To further celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, tenants of Piries Place are running a variety of special offers, activities, and events to enjoy during half term week. For more information on the Queen’s 70th Jubilee Celebrations at Piries Place click here!