The theft of the Vice Chairman’s Regalia from the Hartlepool Council Offices was a sad day for the town with the loss of irreplaceable historical artefacts that were part of the town’s history. Not all the questions have yet been answered regarding the thefts but an insurance payout of £45,000 has now been received and the mayor’s cabinet have decided that they will commission replacement chains now that the money has been made available.
There were discussions about whether the chains should be replicas of the ones stolen. I sincerely hope that they are NOT. In my opinion there is too much looking back and not enough looking forward. Hartlepool Council has been given the opportunity to spend £45,000 on civic regalia. This should be seen as an opportunity to create new, unique and modern regalia, not just an opportunity to recreate the past by copying what was there before.
The Mayor and Cabinet should display some imagination and commission a new design that reflects the face of Hartlepool in 2008. How about holding a design competition, open to anyone? How many designers get the opportunity these days to create new civic regalia? A competition like that could produce world wide interest. Hartlepool should not throw away an opportunity to develop something new and exciting, rather than living in the past we should be looking to the future. Too often we seem to hang onto something just because it’s old. Remember, the stolen chains were new once!