Harrow has always been a place where history and modernity gracefully intermingle and the 1980s were no different.
In a delightful blast from the past, an old photograph from the 1980s recently resurfaced at the Harrow Online HQ, giving us a charming glimpse into a Harrow of yesteryears that’s notably different from what we know today.
One of the most conspicuous absentees in this nostalgic snapshot is none other than “Katie’s Statue.” The beloved ‘skipping’ Katie, a symbol of Harrow’s personality and perhaps the most famous landmark in the borough, wasn’t there! – It’s hard to imagine our town without her!
The iconic statue of Katie, famous for her carefree skipping pose and charming smile, was unveiled in 1987 as part of the celebration surrounding the inauguration of the new pedestrian area.
Back then, Katie’s true identity was unknown, the statue was erected with little fanfare leaving residents slightly unclear as to who the statue represented.
All eyes turned to James Butler, the talented artist and sculptor behind the masterpiece. Butler, hailing from Warwickshire, won a public art commission that led to Katie’s creation.
His motivation for Katie, as it later became apparent, actually stemmed from his own daughter, who coincidentally shared the name Kate. He found inspiration while observing Kate in their backyard and subsequently decided to base his submission to the commission on her
The selection process involved a committee of esteemed judges, including councillors, officers, and representatives from institutions like the Harrow Heritage Trust and the Harrow Arts Council who decided what should be the feature attraction of the town centre.
But that’s not all the photo unveils! Silver Rivet, the much-adored denim and fashion shop on Station Road, hadn’t even made its stylish mark on the town centre.
This snapshot predates its opening in 1990, transporting us back at least five years before fashionistas could indulge in its trendy offerings.
And as our eyes wander to the right side of the photograph, we can’t help but notice the majestic NatWest building at 315 Station Road.
This Grade II listed architectural gem, designed by the illustrious Sir Banister Fletcher in 1915, proudly stood unchanged even in the 1980s.
In this journey down memory lane, we’re reminded that Harrow’s rich history is as colourful as its present.
So next time you stroll through Station Road, take a moment to appreciate the subtle, and sometimes not-so-subtle, changes that have shaped our beloved town centre over the years.
If you spot anything interesting in the photo, do feel free to leave a comment on our socials.