The campaign to tear down monuments in towns and cities across Britain gathered pace today as a ‘hit list’ of statues and memorials deemed to be ‘celebrating racism and slavery’ reached 78.
A website called ‘Topple The Racists’ has controversially identified dozens of landmarks from Sir Walter Raleigh Gilbert’s Bodmin Beacon to Lord Kitchener’s memorial in the Orkney Islands that they say need to be removed ‘so that Britain can finally face the truth about its past’.
Organisers have said they were inspired by the ‘direct action taken by Bristolians’, referring to the tearing down of slave trader Edward Colston’s statue on Sunday in the city, before it was thrown into the harbour.
In details showing how statues are chosen, the website says the hit list includes ‘cases where there is responsibility for colonial violence’, adding that ‘judgement calls’ had been on cases where history is more ‘complicated’.
Memorials to monarchs such as King Charles II and King James II make appearances on the list, as well as Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell.
Monuments have been targeted in 39 towns and cities, with 12 located in London, and six in Bristol. Five of the one in Bristol celebrate Colston, including two schools, a tower and a renowned music venue which is set to change its when it reopens in the autumn.
Responding to the suggestions that some buildings built with the profits of the slave trade could be torn down, the group said they can ‘just be renamed’.