One last photo of the centre of Shipley, my local market town. This shows a relatively recent addition - the sculpture called "The Shipley Shopper". Designed by artist Morwena Catt, it depicts a sheep taking a rest from shopping, on a decorative bench under a parasol. It was unveiled on March 1, 2008 after 'extensive public consultation' and cost £12,000. It is apparently intended to provide a bit of light relief, and to form a focal point in an area where plants get ruined by pigeons. (Maybe I'm reaching the 'grumpy old woman' stage of life but if I'm honest I think they could have spent £12,000 more wisely!)
The image of the sheep was chosen because the name Shipley means 'sheep meadow'. The town's earliest origins were as an agricultural community, and it stayed that way until the early 1800s. After the Leeds-Liverpool canal was built in the 1770s, coal mining and stone quarrying developed in the area and later a number of woollen & worsted textile manufacturing mills were built locally. Growth was assisted by the building of new turnpike roads and by the coming of the railway. In 1853 the most famous of the mills, Salts Mill, was opened and the development of Saltaire - a mile or so up the road from Shipley town centre - began.