A Berlin street lamp – gifted to Hammersmith over 50 years ago by Willy Brandt to stand beside the River Thames – has been re-dedicated and given a face-lift to highlight H&F’s commitment to its friends and allies in Germany and to the European project.
The lamp was a gift of Neukölln, the West Berlin district with which Hammersmith was twinned, back in 1963. It was intended to signify eternal friendship between the two boroughs.
Now, Germany’s Cultural Attaché in London and the Mayor of Hammersmith & Fulham have renewed that pledge, in a ceremony reinforcing the borough’s links with Europe, and the lamp has been given a new lease of life for the next half century.
“At a time of uncertainty for many Europeans living in the UK, this is another way of showing that Hammersmith & Fulham is a welcoming borough to all, and that we value what friends from overseas bring to our economy and culture,” said Cllr Daryl Brown, Mayor of Hammersmith & Fulham.
“This lamp is a powerful symbol that friends from Germany, and elsewhere in Europe, are our allies and our partners – and we continue to do everything possible to support EU citizens and protect local jobs and career opportunities in this borough.”
The Berlin street lamp has been newly mended, re-glazed, repainted, and connected to the mains supply - with a new explanatory plaque below.
Dr Susanne Franne, Deputy Head of Culture and Education at the German Embassy in London, said: “It is face-to-face experiences and people-to-people encounters that create a wider and more solid basis for good and sustainable relations beyond the day-to-day politics and the ups and downs of economic relations.
“It is therefore essential and timely to remind ourselves of the close bilateral relations between Germany and Britain by the re-dedication of the Berlin Lamp as a symbol of renewing this commitment.”
The lamp was first dedicated to Anglo-German peace and co-operation on 1 June 1963.
It was unveiled in Furnivall Gardens, having been donated by Herr Brandt – who was then Mayor of West Berlin, but went on to be Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) from 1969 to 1974.
Herr Brandt spent his political life fighting Nazism and Fascism and won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work towards East-West reconciliation.
He was also one of the most prominent voices of his time in favour of greater European integration.
At the fall of the Berlin Wall on 10 November 1989, he famously said: “Now what belongs together will grow together. This applies for Europe as a whole.”
The re-dedication ceremony was organised by Friends of Furnivall Gardens, who care for the riverside park, and promote its historical importance to the borough.
The lamp itself is now fitted to the wall of Westcott Lodge – the owners of which have paid for the renovation of the lamp.
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