Statues of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards capturing the pair mid-performance are to be installed on the High Street of the Kent town where it all started for them.
Dartford Borough Council has commissioned bronze statues of two members of The Rolling Stones who were born and raised in Dartford before famously meeting at the local railway station and going on to change the face of popular music as part of one of the most successful bands in the world.
The work by renowned sculptor Amy Goodman will be sited at the town’s One Bell Corner and has been fully funded from public art subscriptions collected from local developers.
Leader of the Council Jeremy Kite said. “Many Dartfordians have gone on to change our world but in terms of culture and music you don’t get much more influential than The Rolling Stones. Their music has changed the face of popular music and these lads from Dartford are now two of the most recognisable and loved people in the world.”
“We’re one of those towns that recognises the power of the arts within a community and for some years we have been insisting that developers contribute not just to things like schools and healthcare but also to public art. A nearby housing scheme by Bellway London gave us the opportunity to realise a long-held desire to mark these two local icons and the developer agreed to fund the statues as part of its obligations to fund art in the town. In all honesty, I always think public art is an investment not a cost but I can’t deny we’re a small town and we’re careful with our taxpayers money! Creating such a good project from the subscription of a developer like Bellway London has turned out very well.”
In terms of why the local council has chosen to recognise Mick and Keith, Jeremy Kite is very clear …
“We want to celebrate that their roots are firmly planted right here in our town and also thank them for the impression they have made on lives. It always makes us smile to see Keith Richards wearing his “Straight Outa Dartford“ T Shirt on stage and the recognition of the importance of hometown roots is mutual. We want them to know that we appreciate them and also we want to cheer up local people and visitors with the message that even small towns can nurture people who change the world.”
The work by Amy Goodman will be a focal point as part of a new public realm scheme and encourage visitors to interact with the sculpture, sit, socialise and enjoy the surroundings. The work is due to be unveiled in early 2023.
Both Mick and Keith attended Wentworth Primary School together before going their separate ways at secondary school. Mick, who grew up on Denver Road, would attend Dartford Grammar School – now home to the Mick Jagger Centre which opened in 2000, while rebellious Keith attended Dartford Technical High School. As a boy Keith lived above a parade of shops on Chastilian Road and the pair reunited in 1961 when they met at Dartford Station and fell in to a conversation about music while waiting for a train on platform 2.
Sculptor and portrait artist Amy Goodman has recently created public works including a bronze bust of Florence Nightingale, as well as the Gurkha Memorial in Aldershot.
Other key public works include the jump ready 'Airborne Soldier', the emotive WW1 ‘Romsey War Horse & Trooper’, and the three ‘Arborfield Horses’ (also unveiled last year), among others. Last year she had the absolute honour of being commissioned to sculpt the late Sir Stirling Moss for the British Racing Drivers Club. His bronze was unveiled at Silverstone last year.
Ms Goodman said: “I couldn't believe the news when I heard it. I was really overwhelmed and overjoyed! I have felt fortunate and grateful to have been busy with fascinating and varied public sculptural projects in recent years. This will be the icing on the cake. They are such icons, and I have always been a huge fan of their music. I intend to create two dynamic figures which capture the incredible energy and chemistry that the two of them have when performing together on stage, that the public can walk through and around, and interact with. It will be such an exciting challenge.”
Emma Hamlett, Sales Director at Bellway London who are funding the artwork through the Council’s public art subscription said: “We’re obviously delivering much-needed new homes but we also recognise the need to contribute to the wider regeneration of the communities in which we work. The Rolling Stones are one of the most influential bands of all time so it is extremely fitting that the public artwork being provided as part of our development should celebrate the fact that two of the group’s founding members grew up here in Dartford.”