image

Should historical statues remain in place?

Following the trial of Derek Chauvin this week, we look again at the controversial focus on removing historical statues and artefacts from display.

During global protests following the killing of George Floyd in the United States last June, a memorial to slave trader Edward Colston was toppled by demonstrators in Bristol.

In the wake of these protests Boris Johnson expressed his dismay at the growing focus on removing statues and recently Sir Nicholas Serota, Chairman of Arts Council England has stated that historic statues should stay in place despite the controversy, but artefacts could instead be reinterpreted.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has previously warned, in a leaked letter, that Government-funded museums and galleries risk losing taxpayer support if they remove artefacts.

Sir Nicholas Serota added: “As far as the current Government policy is concerned on such things, we would support the notion of retaining works in place.

“Within museums… works move all the time and are constantly reinterpreted and we would therefore support that interpretation where it feels appropriate or a new scholarship emerges,” he told the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee.

The British Museum previously said that it has “no intention of removing controversial objects from display” – after it was one of many institutions, including Tate galleries, Imperial War museums, National Portrait Gallery, National Museums Liverpool, and the Royal Armouries, to receive the warning letter.

It had redisplayed its bust of Hans Sloane, its slave-owning founding father, juxtaposing it with objects to reflect the fact that Sloane’s collection was created in the context of the British Empire and the slave economy.

Do you believe that memorials to controversial historical figures should be removed completely? Do you think that removal risks eradicating our past, be it good or bad? Or do you think they can be displayed alongside information that will give a greater understanding of the era in which they lived?

Should historical statues remain in place?

1343 people have already voted, what's your opinion? Yes No

What are your views?

We'd love to hear your comments

Not a member?

You need to be a member to interact with Silversurfers. Joining is free and simple to do. Click the button below to join today!

Click here if you have forgotten your password
MissThyme
1 days ago
0
Thanks for voting!
Quite apart from the issue of slavery, we mustn't allow ourselves to be dictated to by an unruly mob. Once that starts, where will it end?
I also disagree with the matter of reparation. We are not responsible for what our ancestors did, and we shouldn't even consider paying a penny in compensation.
viking
2 days ago
0
Thanks for voting!
Why do Brits keep beating themselves up about slaves/traders etc.
As it seems that Wilberforce was an Englishman but he hardly gets a mention when Wokers start their rant.
Go to Italy and listen................not a mention of Julius Caesar being the most prolific user of slaves ever, plenty of statues of JC on display there, and all intact.
RogerO
4 days ago
0
Thanks for voting!
The Slave Traders bought the African Slave off of African slave owners, if they had not transported them across the Atlantic to the "New World" the US would not be where it is today, the descendants of the slaves would not be there and would not have the education they have to know which statues to pull down. I agree with all the peaceful protests but they are being infiltrated by trouble makers who appear to be succeeding more than the ones with a genuine grief.
-1
Thanks for voting!
Tear them all down - typical old people living in the past - lets look forward
viking
1 days ago
0
Thanks for voting!
You are now able to post your views on a public site due to " old people living in the past " who made it possible.
Suexx
5 days ago
1
Thanks for voting!
Indeed these statues should remain in place. They serve to remind us of what our nation has done in the past and just how much our perceptions and attitudes have changed. It would be enlightening if plaques were attached to the statues showing each person’s contributions, both good and bad! Hopefully they would also keep at the forefront of our minds that modern day slavery in all its forms is still with us and is perpetrated by individuals of ALL ethnic backgrounds!
PatS29
5th May 2021
3
Thanks for voting!
You can't change or erase History. Embrace the good parts and learn from the bad.
Irene88
30th Apr 2021
3
Thanks for voting!
They are a constant reminder of our existence for wrong and right reasons. Removing a stuatue doesn't achieve anything. Keeping it mays us focus on what we as humans do.
RLH
26th Apr 2021
7
Thanks for voting!
You can’t erase history just because you don’t like it, but you can certainly learn from it and make sure the same mistakes aren’t repeated.
Phian
26th Apr 2021
3
Thanks for voting!
History should not be erased - good or bad.
simbadog
25th Apr 2021
4
Thanks for voting!
How will we ever attempt to 'build a better future' if we cannot learn from what has happened in the past! Of course beliefs and attitudes are so different today than they were for our ancestors but you cannot erase our history all we can do is ensure the future is different. Apologising for what happened in the past and pulling down statues is not the answer just a reflection of the Snowflake society of today
PatriciaM934
25th Apr 2021
1
Thanks for voting!
Of course they should remain .They are part of our history and this should not be erased .Our Parents,grandparents and great grandparents gave their lives for freedom of speech .This has given a platform for anyone to stand up and say what they think about our history and we should not be ashamed of it by trying to remove statues etc .
Linda53
25th Apr 2021
1
Thanks for voting!
Yes, it's history and in the past. We cannot change what happened and attitudes were different back then. It annoys me when politicians apologise for something that happened centuries ago.
viking
26th Apr 2021
1
Thanks for voting!
It now seems to be vogueish for to-days politicians to apologise for things that happened so long ago. Possibly it is done for self aggrandizement.
Catton
24th Apr 2021
-1
Thanks for voting!
GillianL4
24th Apr 2021
2
Thanks for voting!
Perhaps if schools were to teach the true history of the country then the youngsters would be better informed. We cannot change the past but we can learn from it.
0
Thanks for voting!
If we taught history correctly they would probably want them tearing down -our history is appalling
Supersabre
23rd Apr 2021
4
Thanks for voting!
Surely the question should be, does a group of individuals have a right to use criminal damage to force their views on everyone else? And should the police stand back and let them do it? Answer NO.
And let, s be quite clear about this. There is not a race, creed or nation on the face of the earth that has not indulged in unaccountable activities. The
tinatots11
23rd Apr 2021
2
Thanks for voting!
We learn from our history, if it is all erased do we just make all the same mistakes again!
Lionel
23rd Apr 2021
5
Thanks for voting!
What changes if these 'offensive' statues are removed? Nothing, I think. We will shortly be confronted with their next set of demands and so it will continue.

Better to stand firm now and say NO! Statues remain where they are.
jeanmark
22nd Apr 2021
7
Thanks for voting!
It's interesting that Cecil Rhodes Statue will now be removed and put into storage following much protesting because of his involvement with slavery. But no one appears to have asked for the Rhodes Scholarship to be removed!

I recently saw this post and felt it appropriate:

History is not there for you to like or dislike. It is there for you to learn from it, and if it offends you even better, because then you are less likely to repeat it. It’s not yours to erase, it belongs to all of us

Unknown
VeraW7
22nd Apr 2021
5
Thanks for voting!
The statues are part and parcel of what has gone on before.
If people want to destroy all things that have happened years before they were born, and the same had been done in years past, no one would know any history at all. That is why we have history, to learn from the past and build a better future.
Stan27
22nd Apr 2021
5
Thanks for voting!
How can you learn from history if you go around destroying it.
jeffsoo
22nd Apr 2021
6
Thanks for voting!
We cannot change history and why should we? Just because rent a mob needs an excuse to throw a brick at the police, they should all just grow up.
jeanniearl
22nd Apr 2021
6
Thanks for voting!
It will NOT change history by removing statues of anyone. It’s a very childish and blinkered attitude to remove these people we don’t like. It’s time to grow up and accept history as it is. It’s how we evolve as human beings.
Should we destroy all Egypt statues, and maybe Roman statues, these people built their empires with slavery and many more did as well.
We learn from historical events, but slavery is still very much with us.
I do not need a reply or an argument thank you, it’s just my opinion.
Lionel
22nd Apr 2021
3
Thanks for voting!
I will reply to you, with my grateful thanks. Yours is the most reasoned and reasonable post so far; could disagree with anything.
GaynorN3
22nd Apr 2021
4
Thanks for voting!
Destroying or removing statutes or other memorials will not change history. The public has to be aware of how, where and why history was created. Better for them to remain and have information available about how they obtained wealth or fame. Also, for a completely balanced view, if they did any good and constructive works.
Munsterlander
22nd Apr 2021
-3
Thanks for voting!
I think if the statue is of someone who has been proven to be evil and hurt other people remove it immediately! Why on earth would we want it up. People learn history at school and in books and films. I do not want to see statues up of people like that bloke in Bristol. Remove them!
Jane Scowen
22nd Apr 2021
7
Thanks for voting!
The statues and artefacts should stay. If necessary an explanation of why it is there should be added so that we learn from the past, see how far we have moved forward and use this to determine our future. The past cannot be erased. It happened. The future, however, we can create from the lessons of our past.
lulubell
22nd Apr 2021
4
Thanks for voting!
History is history, so why try to erase it?
WilliamH7
22nd Apr 2021
7
Thanks for voting!
It's History that can't be changed, must be told, we can't be accountable for are forefathers. Life has move on throughout the ages and is still changing you can't force things apon people.
123Siobhan
22nd Apr 2021
7
Thanks for voting!
Right or wrong the statues are part of our history. Removing them will not change that history but plaques should be put up explaining properly who the people were and how they gained their money. Slavery happened and is still happening the best thing to do is to educate people that it was and is wrong. At the time these people held slaves it was not seen as wrong. Once they were better educated. this type of slavery stopped. Its a bit like when we were all persuaded to buy diesal cars and now we are told we are totally wrong for doing what we thought was ok.
steven
22nd Apr 2021
5
Thanks for voting!
Definitely not if it’s slavery apartheid holocaust what ever they should be LEFT up as a reminder to never go there again,atrocities have been done since day one and you can never ever change history just learn from it,u can t ever erase it ,that’s my view,and I personally lived through the Apartheid regime and thought it was one of the atrocities of that era,disgusting
EdithS
22nd Apr 2021
6
Thanks for voting!
I think they should be left in place, right or wrong it’s our history. The attitudes of the past have changed and in the main that’s a good thing. The men in my family historically were miners hewing coal for a pittance in dreadful conditions but with education and ambition they improved their lives and the future for us. Should the descendants of the coal owners be dragged through the land being castigated? Of course not.
Lindy_zz
22nd Apr 2021
5
Thanks for voting!
History belongs to us all, education and knowledge far outways taking away items certain people find offencive. Surely they should stay so we all know the history and the truth
PatL499
22nd Apr 2021
4
Thanks for voting!
We know racism is wrong, but we cannot change history. We need to acknowledge that the person the statue is of was not the good man in relation to their racism. We need to draw a a line and say that we will not tolerate racism of any kind. Until we do this we will not stop racism.
mjc0527
22nd Apr 2021
2
Thanks for voting!
The history of our country is something to be proud of. Obviously mistakes were made, but I believe there is nothing to be gained from raking up the past.
rocks
22nd Apr 2021
4
Thanks for voting!
Good or bad they should remain .you can’t change history .times have changed but it’s our history .
HappyHippie
22nd Apr 2021
3
Thanks for voting!
its our history, good or bad
JulieB688
22nd Apr 2021
1
Thanks for voting!
Put an amended plaque on the statue to state any dubious activity the character may have been involved in, as historical context. I would love to see any such amended plaques on Eric Gill's work... or are we only worried about racist/slavery bad history and not misoygnist / abuse crimes? The BBC should have a good look at the artwork on the outside of their buildings before they start debating statue removal.
Parisprincess
22nd Apr 2021
5
Thanks for voting!
We can't ignore history if we now think it's bad, so leave memorials and statues but note the context and culture at the time, so we can learn from history not whitewash over the bits we find uncomfortable.
AnnetteH57
22nd Apr 2021
3
Thanks for voting!
Histoey cannot be eradicated by knocking down statues. However lessons can be learnt from history.
Linder
22nd Apr 2021
2
Thanks for voting!
Romo I got stairs does not expunged history. Removing statues is the wrong way to go. Better people ask questions, and it’s better for children ask questions on what the person was about, what it was like at that time etc.... we learn from history, the good and the bad cancel culture just panders to the few - like so much in culture now. There is much l do not like about current culture, vogues and trends, yet, l manage to believe that people have a right to self- determination, agency, and a voice - l don’t ram it in their faces, or down their throats.
doolally
22nd Apr 2021
6
Thanks for voting!
History cannot be simply removed .. it happened ... remember snd if needed learn from it .. this is what makes people have respect for their own culture ..what our ancestors did that made us good or bad ... . sadly I feel in the Uk we are trying to hard to embrace everything and every body and losing our own identity ... Britain is great that’s why so many people want to move here let’s keep it that way snd keep our own culture snd history and soul !
WOLRAB63
22nd Apr 2021
6
Thanks for voting!
Slavery has existed throughout the ages, and still exists in some countries today. Romans, Greeks, Egyptians and Tribes in Africa, all had slavery, yet there are still statues and monuments of emperors in existence, which are treated as historical artifacts. We would not think of destroying those because of practices that occurred during those past eras as it would be seen as desecration of historic sites. Do not forget that in past times slavery was an accepted practice carried out by victors in battles etc and was a way of weakening one's enemies. It does not mean that slavery is or was acceptable but it existed. Don't forget that even though people participated in these acts they also carried out good work for their communities by creating work and education systems etc. Romans are remembered for all the things they created, roads, aqueducts and the like and Egypt for the pyramids, but who built them? Paid workers or slaves? If it was slaves should we pull them down?
Bevcookie
22nd Apr 2021
6
Thanks for voting!
No we shouldn’t remove historical figures or statues. We should learn from history, avoid repeating our mistakes, and move forward as a society.
If we hide history how do we learn?
LynnJ73
22nd Apr 2021
3
Thanks for voting!
They are our heritage.for good or bad history has been built round these. People should have respect foe these.
spencer1
22nd Apr 2021
5
Thanks for voting!
They are part of our history which cannot be changed people should focus on what's going on today instead of the past.
DawnC51
22nd Apr 2021
4
Thanks for voting!
It is all part of history and should be remembered good or bad. We should not just ignore the bits of history that some people dont like, it is what we learn from
Bald123
21st Apr 2021
4
Thanks for voting!
I think we should leave them in place as even though they may be people we do not currently celebrate we can simply put a sign up saying so. You cannot/or should not airbrush history or we become a totalitarian state-heaven forbid!
MrsPat
21st Apr 2021
0
Thanks for voting!
Yes so long as they were not slave owners-absolutely terrible trade and anyone connected with it should NOT have a statue.
SueM6679
22nd Apr 2021
3
Thanks for voting!
Absolute nonsense! All should stay
Munsterlander
22nd Apr 2021
0
Thanks for voting!
I totally agree with you shame on them and remove all their statues now!

Community Terms & Conditions

Content standards

These content standards apply to any and all material which you contribute to our site (contributions), and to any interactive services associated with it.

You must comply with the spirit of the following standards as well as the letter. The standards apply to each part of any contribution as well as to its whole.

Contributions must:

be accurate (where they state facts); be genuinely held (where they state opinions); and comply with applicable law in the UK and in any country from which they are posted.

Contributions must not:

contain any material which is defamatory of any person; or contain any material which is obscene, offensive, hateful or inflammatory; or promote sexually explicit material; or promote violence; promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age; or infringe any copyright, database right or trade mark of any other person; or be likely to deceive any person; or be made in breach of any legal duty owed to a third party, such as a contractual duty or a duty of confidence; or promote any illegal activity; or be threatening, abuse or invade another’s privacy, or cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety; or be likely to harass, upset, embarrass, alarm or annoy any other person; or be used to impersonate any person, or to misrepresent your identity or affiliation with any person; or give the impression that they emanate from us, if this is not the case; or advocate, promote or assist any unlawful act such as (by way of example only) copyright infringement or computer misuse.

Nurturing a safe environment

Our Silversurfers community is designed to foster friendships, based on trust, honesty, integrity and loyalty and is underpinned by these values.

We don't tolerate swearing, and reserve the right to remove any posts which we feel may offend others... let's keep it friendly!