This stocky bronze figure, bearing his charming grin and local tattoo is quite the colorful presence in the town center. With only a sycamore leaf protecting his dignity and a single foot bearing his only piece of clothing, “The Sockman” spends his days, leg outstretched, admiring this zig-zag sock.
Not only is this sculpture quirky and unique, it also honors an industry close to the town’s heart. Since the 18th-century, the woolen industry has been a core part of Loughborough’s economy. The manufacturing of hosieries and socks were key to the town’s fortunes. In 1863, around 20 hosiery companies operated in the town.
At the turn of the millennium, after pedestrianizing the marketplace, the town council sought to add some character to the space. Five artists were chosen to design a statue for a competition where a panel of locals and experts were able to choose their favorite piece. Scottish sculptor Shone Kinloch’s “The Sock” won the contest. Though not an instant favorite, the town has come to adopt the statue as a Loughborough icon.
So curious and attractive, the foot of the statue is a different color due to the frequent strokes it receives from passersby.