The future of an iconic statue looks bright after a conservation specialist was brought in to make it beautiful again.

The William Forster statue is currently being examined to see how much work might be needed to bring it back to its former glory.

The statue of the renowned education pioneer has been kept in storage since being removed from its location in Forster Square, Bradford, nine years ago.

But the plan is for it to be restored to its former glory in readiness for being installed close to one of the main entrances of the new Westfield shopping centre.

It will face the shopping centre once it is built and will be seen against the backdrop of St Peter’s House as people leave Westfield and head towards Little Germany.

Bradford Council leader Councillor David Green spoke of the statue’s importance to the city.

He said: “We are all looking forward to seeing the William Forster statue see daylight again. We have brought in a conservation specialist to ensure the statue is kept in good condition. It is a very important landmark for the city and holds a special place in the hearts of many Bradfordians.”

William Forster was born in Dorset, but made a name for himself in the woollen manufacturing industry in Bradford, where he also became an MP.

Before becoming an MP he had set up an elected Board of Health in Burley-in-Wharfedale, which led to many sanitary improvements for the village. A successful industrialist, his partnership with William Fison began in Bradford where they created a successful worsted manufacturing business.

They came to Greenholme in 1850 and Forster and his wife Jane made their home in Burley.

He was largely responsible for the 1870 Elementary Education Act, which was the first National Education Act in this country.

A dedication ceremony was held in October last year for a new headstone at God’s Acre cemetery in Burley where Forster is buried.

The original headstone on the grave was made of Carrara marble, but had weathered badly and disintegrated. Descendants of Forster’s four adopted children were among those who contributed to the fund for the new granite headstone.