Bronze chairs adorn square as tribute to furniture maker

Dave Stewart
Published on October 2, 2008
Agnes MacInnis sits of one of the five bronze chairs that are in Kings Square in Charlottetown. The City of Charlottetown spent just under $13,000 on the chairs, which honour a former city councillor and businessman from the 1800s. Guardian photo

Five large bronze chairs now adorn a historic square in Charlottetown as a tribute to a former city councillor and businessman.
The city spent just under $13,000 for the chairs in Kings Square to honour Mark Butcher, who history buffs may remember as a big furniture maker in the 1800s.
Butcher operated a factory on the corner of Kent and Hillsborough streets, now the site of the Maritime Christian College.
Coun. Kim Devine, chair of heritage, said Butcher had a very strong presence around Kings Square and the idea arose to design bronze sculptures that honour some of the furniture Butcher was known to have created.
"Residents in the area were very interested,'' Devine said of talks that have gone back a year.
"Now we need a interpretive panel explaining who Mark is, what he did and why the chairs are in Kings Square.''
In addition to chairs and other types of furniture, Butcher also designed caskets.
The factory, which he bought in 1869, was destroyed by fire in 1887. The brick building, which replaced the Butcher factory, still stands today.
Devine said in 1867, the factory employed 40 people. In 1874, 20 additional joiners and cabinetmakers were needed.
One of his employees specialized in designing figureheads for ships while another was good at making coffins.
In addition to Butcher's retail store in Charlottetown, he also had branch businesses in Cardigan and Georgetown.
"I think this is a great way to promote city art and celebrate a talented artist in our history as well as beautifying one of our lovely city squares at the same time.''