War on British heritage: nearly 70 monuments trashed or in firing line

A new investigation by the left-wing Guardian newspaper has revealed how 69 tributes representing Britain’s heritage have either been removed or are in line to be scrapped by local authorities.

The carnage began last summer in the wake of the death of violent American felon George Floyd, who was found by autopsy to have died of cardiac arrest in an encounter with police in Minnesota with no signs of traumatic asphyxia.

Motivated by unsupported media reports that Floyd had been suffocated to death by cop Derek Chauvin, hordes of left-wing anarchists took to the streets across western countries and trashed monuments to historical figures.

One man in Virginia ended up in a coma after the mob tore down an enormous stone statue of a Confederate soldier and the huge monument landed on his head.

In the UK, meanwhile, the major flashpoint was Bristol merchant and philanthropist Edward Colston, whose long-standing statue in the city centre was torn down by an unruly mob while Avon & Somerset Police looked on under Commander Andy Bennett.

Bennett was later caught on film saying “maybe it’s time the statue is moved” complete with a cheeky wink to the camera. In December he was fêted in the New Year Honours list.

Colston is well known in the city for his generous charitable giving, which funded numerous schools and almshouses in the region, but his legacy has been thrown into question in recent years because of his brief seventeenth-century participation in the transatlantic slave trade.

But the Guardian’s report highlights other, less widely covered cases. A statue to Napoleonic Wars hero Sir Thomas Picton is being scrapped in Cardiff, Gladstone Hall has been renamed in Liverpool, and the University of Edinburgh has ditched a tribute to one of the world’s most significant philosophers David Hume.

In the last month alone this site has reported on a number of similar cases that are still arising more than half a year after Floyd’s death.

The City of London Corporation is scrapping statues celebrating two prominent politicians while Exeter City Council are, farcically, mulling over the removal of a monument to a Boer War hero because it “represents the patriarchal structures of empire and colonialism which impact negatively on women and anyone who does not define themselves in binary gender terms.”