Singer & The Old Bailey
The story of J W Singer and his company is well-known in Frome and in 2019, the bicentenary of his birth, various exhibitions were organised in the town to ensure that future generations will be equally appreciative, not only of the craftsmanship of the metalwork and statues produced in his foundries and factories at Waterloo, but also of the work opportunities provided for local people still reeling from the decline of the wool and cloth industries. Paradoxically, Singer was both a Frome man through and through and also an internationalist, travelling widely and receiving commissions from all over the world. The museum holds some Singer artefacts and a huge selection of photographs and documents relating to Singer, his family, his professional work and his legacy to the town.
We could pick any number of Singer products to illustrate the impact the company had in the world at large but we have chosen the figure of Justice atop the Central Criminal Court, the Old Bailey, in London. This iconic figure survived the Blitz and also the 1973 IRA attack on the building. The statue of Lady Justice on the dome above the Old Bailey was executed by the British sculptor, F W Pomeroy and cast by Singer’s. She holds a sword in her right hand and a pair of weighing scales in her left. The statue is popularly supposed to show blind Justice; however, the figure is not blindfolded. It is good to know that a statue cast in Frome symbolises the British justice system and its integrity.