The centenary of the birth of JCB’s Founder has been marked with the unveiling of a specially commissioned bronze bust.
Joseph Cyril Bamford CBE was born on June 21st, 1916 at the family home, The Parks, Uttoxeter, Staffordshire, the son of Cyril and Dolores Bamford. As a youngster playtime was spent building cars and boats – early signs of an inventive flair which would see him become one of Britain’s most celebrated engineers.
When Mr Bamford retired in 1975 and handed over to his son Anthony, the company he founded in a lock-up garage in Uttoxeter in October 1945 was turning over more than £43 million a year and employing hundreds of people. He had also become universally known as ‘Mr JCB’ as well as ‘Jamais Content’ Bamford, thanks to his unwavering drive to do things better.
Today his sons Lord Bamford and Mark Bamford and his grandson Jo Bamford marked the centenary of his birth and his many achievements by unveiling the one and a quarter scale bronze bust at JCB’s World HQ in Rocester.
It is the work of another innovative son of Staffordshire, Stoke-on-Trent-born sculptor Andrew Edwards, 52, who has spent five months creating the image of Mr Bamford in his 1960s heyday when JCB was establishing itself on the world stage.
Lord Bamford said: “My father was without doubt an engineering genius and we wanted to mark the centenary of his birth and the huge contribution he made to Staffordshire and to Great Britain. We are delighted with the bust and it’s very fitting that it has been created in the county of his birth and by a sculptor whose talent was developed right here in Staffordshire.”
The bust will now be on permanent display at JCB’s World HQ and will be seen by the thousands of visitors who pass through the company’s doors every year.
Andrew Edwards said: “I am always extremely nervous when I undertake projects of this nature because they are so very personal to the family members involved. By working closely with the Bamford family I believe we’ve created a wonderful likeness of someone who is undoubtedly one of Staffordshire’s most famous sons. It has been an honour to have undertaken this work.”
The bust weighs around 50kgs and stands around 700mm high. It’s not the first bust of Mr JCB to be commissioned; a smaller one was cast in 1964 and presented to him by employees in gratitude of a £250,000 bonus he shared with the workforce after a record year. That work of art sits on Mr JCB’s original desk in the Story of JCB permanent exhibition at the World HQ.