The Buxton Project
The Buxton Project In Weymouth, Dorset, UK
This project is an educational project to be delivered in the coastal town of Weymouth in Dorset. The town has a population of 60,000 and this doubles in the tourist season. It is situated on the World Heritage Site of the Jurassic Coast. The town has a rich historical heritage too but one aspect of this heritage had been largely forgotten, namely the life and achievements of Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton, MP for Weymouth and Melcombe Regis, 1818-1837. His prime achievement was spearheading through parliament the Bill for the abolition of slavery throughout the British Empire in 1833.
How the Buxton Project Arose
In 2008 Joyce Fannon began trying to address what she saw as a vital omission of someone who played such an important part in Weymouth's historical past. She began by giving presentations on Thomas Fowell Buxton and Slavery. With support from the local community this resulted in the setting up in 2010 of the Thomas Fowell Buxton Society. The presentations have continued and a local audience of 1,300+ people has been reached so far.
However, at the heart of the Buxton Project is the erection of the Buxton Monument. This educational initiative became possible with Weymouth College Masonry Department coming on board as a partner. Students of the department designed and hand-carved 144 stones that make up this huge 3-D jigsaw puzzle of a monument. The design incorporates all the curricular elements necessary to achieve a Level 2 Diploma in Stonemasonry.
The Buxton Monument will stand just over 4 metres high. The Society has planning permission to erect it on Bincleaves Green sited near the Nothe Fort. This is a well known beauty spot with stunning views of Portland Island. It is popular area in the summer with tourists and Weymouthians and the South West coastal path runs through it.
The themes depicted on the monument are scenes from Thomas Fowell Buxton's career. His name and dates will be visible as will be his profile. An information table adjacent to the monument will set out the significance of the Buxton Monument's design and detailed carving portraying the main aspects of Thomas Fowell Buxton's famous parliamentary career.
Bincleaves Green and the site of the monument are not far from Belfield House, once owned by Thomas Fowell Buxton
Thomas Fowell Buxton inherited the property from his Grandmother in 1814 and he resided there when he visited Weymouth. (See local map)
For a more detailed description of the monument and its site on Bincleaves Green, click here
Design from Portland Stone
The design of The Thomas Fowell Buxton monument reflects the neo-classical architectural style so typical of Weymouth's Georgian and Regency seafront townscape
The monument's design by Weymouth College student Peter Loizou and the working of the stones by fellow masonry students celebrates the skills and enterprise of our young people. Its construction in Portland Stone, quarried and supplied from Portland Island by Albion Stone, reflects the geological heritage of this World Heritage Jurassic Coast.
The stones are now complete and the Thomas Fowell Buxton Society is seeking funds to erect it on Manor Roundabout.
One means of raising money is to seek sponsorship of the various monument stones. Some are complex, involving a lot of work - for example the profile of Thomas Fowell Buxton.
Others are very simple – such as a stone from the pavement.
The Society has tried to set sponsor prices that match the work that has gone into the stone.
Prices can be found by clicking on the following stones catalogue
The students are enthusiastic about the monument because it is something that they can point out to their grandchildren. And they are right – the monument will become a part of Weymouth’s heritage. It is far enough from the sea not to be subject to salt corrosion and with basic maintenance it will last indefinitely.
Sponsoring a stone therefore gives a gift that will last for centuries. Further details including your certificate and entry into the tribute book can be found on this page