Gildersome’s ‘Devil Dog’ statue to be replaced
For almost 100 years, a five foot pot figure of a St Bernard dog sat on the top of the mill building on Gelderd Road in Gildersome.
According to local folklore, the statue was installed over a century ago when the owners were saved from a fire at the mill by a barking St Bernard dog who woke them.
As a result, the mill was named after the dog and a white statue was placed on the roof of the building to mark the incident.
Over time, the statue became a local landmark and remained so up until 2009, when lead thieves toppled the statue from the roof, leaving it damaged beyond repair.
Shortly after the theft the owner at the time, Ken Moorhead of Moorhead Properties Ltd, pledged to replace the statue with a replica of the original, but soon after the site had been sold to new owners.
Associated Waste Management (AWM) bought the derelict mill in 2010
AWM purchased a replacement statue, but rather that a St Bernard, installed a smaller, bronze Bulldog statue, which many local residents did not take too kindly to.
Mike Robinson, AWM’s group marketing manager, said: “Our intention all along was to reinstall a St Bernard statue when we bought the premises, but unfortunately we couldn’t find one.”
Almost four years after the original replacement was installed, AWM have now managed to track down a bronze St. Bernard statue.
Mr Robinson said: “I’m glad we’ve now been able to find a St Bernard statue to help the legend live on.”
The Bulldog statue has now been removed from the roof and will be replaced with the bronze replacement later this month.
When the Bulldog statue was first placed on the mill, Churwell pensioner Alan Booth, who as a youngster lived in a house neighbouring the building, said: “It has no connection with the place, it’s not a St Bernard, it’s more like a devil dog, it’s ridiculous.”
Mr Booth visited the mill after the 2009 theft and found a paw from the shattered original statue, which he still has to this day.
After hearing the news that AWM have managed to track down a bronze replica, Mr Booth said: “I’m glad they’ve managed to finally find a genuine replacement because the other one was awful
“I think it’s important to make sure the legend of the St Bernard lives on, as it’s a piece of local history.”
Mr Booth said he been doing his own investigating into the story behind the statue.
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