May 02 2012

Katie’s statue turns 25 today!

The popular bronze figure was unveiled on Saturday 2nd May 1987 by then mayor, Christine Bednell.

She returned in October last year on a new plinth in St Ann ‘s Road, 24 years after she first skipped into Harrow Town Centre. The landmark statue was removed during Harrow Council’s improvement scheme in Station Road .

The statue of the skipping girl was first installed by Harrow Council to celebrate the pedestrianisation of St Ann ‘s Road in 1987. The Council invited artists to submit their ideas for a landmark work of art, whittling them down to a shortlist of three.

A committee of councillors, officers and representatives from Harrow Heritage Trust, Harrow Arts Council and Harrow College of Art selected Warwickshire sculptor James Butler MBE.

While there has been much speculation over who the ‘real’ Katie is, the sculptor was in fact inspired watching his own daughter Kate playing in their garden and modelled the figure on her.

The artist also created 20 replica Katies. Ten 12 inch and ten six inch figurines were produced, with some auctioned off by the Harrow Heritage Trust to fund other works of art in the borough.

Mr Butler, now 80, continues sculpting today and will soon unveil his latest piece, a 12 foot memorial statue for the US Army in France . On hearing of Katie’s return to the town centre and her enduring popularity, he said: “It’s splendid that people have taken a thing like that to their heart. It was always one of my favourite pieces because of the sentimental value with it being based on my oldest daughter Kate. She was very excited and flattered that the statue was named after her. It was a very enjoyable project from the start, with a gentle and charming subject that hopefully lifts the spirits, so I’m very pleased that people still like it.”

Where is Katie now?

Kate Butler, now 44, is a restaurant and café consultant and lives in Bath with her partner and two children. She said: “It is incredibly flattering that the statue was named after me. It’s always been funny to think of all the people in Harrow who over the years have said ‘let’s go and meet under Katie!’

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