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Statue of Michael Faraday (1989)
Institution of Engineering and Technology, Savoy Place, Victoria Embankment, London, UK
associated engineer
Michael Faraday
date  1988 - 1989
era  Modern  |  category  Monument to Engineer  |  reference  TQ305807
Michael Faraday, the 'father of electricity', carried out much of his research work at the Royal Institution in London. The bronze monument outside the Institution of Engineering & Technology (IET) in Savoy Place is a copy of the marble statue of him that stands inside the entrance to the Royal Institution.
In 1813, Michael Faraday (1791-1867) began his scientific career as an acolyte of Sir Humphrey Davy (1778-1829) at the Royal Institution on Albemarle Street in Westminster. His pioneering work shaped the science of electrical engineering and realised the practical use of electricity as a power source. He also made significant advances in electrochemistry and chemistry, and was scientific adviser to Trinity House and the Board of Trade.
In 1821, Faraday discovered the phenomenon of electro-magnetic rotation, in which electricity and magnetism interact to produce continuous motion, leading to the development of electric motors. A decade later, in 1831, he proved the existence of electro-magnetic induction with insulated coils of wire wound on opposite sides of an iron ring — passing an electric current through one coil induced a transient electric current in the other. He went on to discover that moving a magnet in and out of a wire-wound cylindrical helix generated electricity. He had created a transformer and a generator.
Faraday died in 1867, and is buried in Highgate (Western) Cemetery, Camden, where his tomb is Grade II listed.
In 1876, a larger than life-size statue of him, carved in white marble by Irish sculptor John Henry Foley (1818-74), was unveiled by the Prince of Wales in the Grand Entrance of the Royal Institution. After Foley's death, the statue had been completed from his model by his pupil Charles Bell Birch (1832-93). It remains in its original location, and depicts Faraday in academic dress holding an induction coil in his left hand.
In the 1980s, the Institution of Electrical Engineers (founded in 1871 as the Society of Telegraph Engineers, from 2008 the Institution of Engineering & Technology) commissioned two bronze statues of Faraday, one to stand in front of the institution’s London headquarters at Savoy Place (constructed 1886-9, occupied by the institution from 1909) on Victoria Embankment and one at its Stevenage premises, Michael Faraday House.
Erected in 1988, the Savoy Place statue is a life-size copy of Foley’s marble figure. It was unveiled on 1st November 1989, by HRH the Duke of Kent.
Over the years since, the Savoy Place Faraday has suffered from corrosion and in July 2015 it was reported to be in a poor condition. The worst degradation of the bronze was on the front. The report concluded, "Much of the corrosion is a result of contact with the urban environment for many years without any cleaning or preservation treatment". In October 2015, the monument and its plinth were repaired and the original patina restored.
Research: ECPK
bibliography
"Obituary. Dr Michael Faraday, 1791-1867", Minutes of the Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers, Vol.27, pp.582-584, London, 1868
https://ietarchivesblog.org
https://savoyplace.theiet.org
www.historicengland.org.uk
www.secret-london.co.uk
www.victorianweb.org
reference sources   DNB
Location

Statue of Michael Faraday (1989)