Joseph Howarth Statue in Alexandra Park, Oldham
The statue was based on a photograph taken by local photographer Squire Knott. Supposedly Joseph arrived at the photography studio dressed for chapel and carrying a prayer book. Squire Knott agreed to take this picture for free as long as Joseph also posed in his official town crier’s outfit and holding his bell. On the 9th May 1868, the ceremony to unveil Oldham's first outdoor statue was opened by the ringing of Joseph Howarth's own bell. It was a day of celebration, where 'Blind Joe' was remembered with pride as an honest and religious man.
For the dignitaries who attended the ceremony Joseph’s life of struggle and perseverance was a fine example of Victorian ideals of working-class self-improvement. This was a man who might serve as an example to others. In his speech the mayor said that "Some towns did not do these things till they had got or reared a statesman, but the Oldham people were not waiting so long as that, seeing they could erect a statue even for a bellman." The mayor also compared Joseph’s statue to the goddess Hebe who was also on display in Alexandra Park. 'While Joseph handed mutton pies to the people of Oldham; the other handed nectar to the gods.' The statue quickly became a landmark.