This imposing structure, standing more than ten metres in height, is a memorial to John Kay. It stands in the centre of Kay Gardens, an open space created from the former market place when a new market hall was built in 1901. The gardens and this memorial were commissioned and paid for by Henry Whitehead, a local mill owner.
John Kay was born in Bury in 1704. He was a prolific inventor, most famous in Lancashire as the 'Inventor of the flying shuttle' - a mechanism for speeding up the production of cloth on a hand-operated loom. Although he left Bury, emigrating to France in 1747, he has long been regarded as a celebrated son of the town and one of the men responsible for Lancashire's success in the cotton industry. An inscription on one side of the monument reads:
THE GIFT OF HENRY WHITEHEAD OF HASLEM HEY TO HIS NATIVE TOWN
TO PERPETUATE THE NAME AND FAME OF
WHOSE INVENTION IN THE YEAR 1733 OF THE FLY SHUTTLE
QUADRUPLED HUMAN POWER IN WEAVING & PLACED ENGLAND IN THE FRONT RANK
AS THE BEST MARKET IN THE WORLD FOR TEXTILE MANUFACTURES.
HE WAS BORN IN BURY IN 1704, AND DIED IN EXILE AND POVERTY IN FRANCE,
WHERE HE LIES IN AN UNKNOWN GRAVE.
Kay Gardens and the Kay Monument were opened in April 1908. Mrs Henry Whitehead opened the gardens and the Earl of Derby unveiled the monument. The monument, which was cleaned and refurbished in 2011, is a Grade II listed structure.
(see also SD8010 : Kay Monument - Relief Portrait
, SD8010 : Kay Monument, Inscription
and SD8010 : Kay Monument (detail)
- John Cassidy, Manchester Sculpture
- Cotton Times, The Life of John Kay
SD8010 : Monument to John Kay Kay Gardens, Bury Town Centre
and SD8010 : The John Kay Memorial
show the monument before it was cleaned and refurbished)