Henry Moore’s Old Flo to come back to the East End

SHE’S as big as a house, weighs a tonne and is a bit rough around the edges these days. But you’ve got to hand it to our ‘Old Flo,’ the lady still knows how to cause a stir.

Campaigners were celebrating this week after sealing a deal that will see Flo, otherwise known as artist Henry Moore’s sculpture Draped Seated Woman, returned to her rightful place in east London.

The bronze sculpture, believed to be worth millions, was originally placed in the former Stifford Estate in Stepney in 1957.

The striking woman lounged there for 40 years until the estate was demolished in 1997.

Flo was then sent on free loan to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park in Wakefield, which also paid for her insurance.

The sculpture had remained there ever since, but not without campaigning from deputy leader of the Conservative Group, Cllr Tim Archer, to see it returned.

This week Cllr Archer was celebrating after Canary Wharf Group agreed to move and insure the sculpture here.

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A motion to go-ahead with the move was unanimously agreed at full council on Wednesday (September 15).

Cllr Archer told the Advertiser: “This is an important piece of national heritage, a much loved and cherished work of art, which will be coming back to where it belongs.”

He added: “When it was in Stepney it did get vandalised. And the borough has always said if we bought it back we’d have to pay for the insurance.

“But now Canary Wharf has offered to pay for it to be moved and insured and placed in a secure site. The commitment is that it would be on public display.”

The move has also received the written blessing of minister for culture, Ed Vaizey.

It follows a long campaign by Cllr Archer who earlier this year drew criticism over his ‘X-Factor-style’ vote on the future of the multi-million pound sculpture.

The options included selling the Draped Seated Woman and using the money for social housing or bringing it back to the borough to be put on display by Canary Wharf.

At the time, Wakefield Labour MP Mary Creagh, lambasted the poll, saying: “Henry Moore would be turning in his grave. This clearly shows that the old Tory habit of selling the family silver is still alive and well.”

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