A statue of Sir Henry Morton Stanley situated in the great explorer’s hometown of Denbigh, North Wales is once again in danger of being pulled down, having narrowly missed the chop following the death of George Floyd.
Denbigh Town Council has decided to open a consultation inviting the public to voice their opinions on whether the statue of the intrepid Victorian who grew up in a workhouse should stay or go.
The consultation follows sustained efforts by the radical left, symbolised by the Marxist Black Lives Matter movement, to have the monument axed. A petition that gathered a hardly impressive 7,000 signatures describes Stanley’s legacy as one of “excessive violence, wanton destruction, the selling of labourers into slavery and shooting Africans indiscriminately”.
The petition labels the statue an “insult to African people”. In keeping with the Church of England’s fondness of woke politics, the initiative has the backing of local Bishop, Gregory Cameron.
Stanley is a hate figure of BLM due to his participation in Belgian King Leopold II’s brutal colonisation of the Congo. For ordinary Brits, he is the iconic journalist-turned-explorer who uttered the line “Dr Livingstone, I presume?” after discovering the Scottish missionary in Central Africa. Livingstone had not been seen for more than six years. The handsome statue depicts this moment.
“We are talking about somebody who achieved fame as the greatest of all African explorers in the greatest age of African exploration,” said Tim Jeal, Stanley’s biographer when the statue was erected in 2011.
The monument’s creator, artist Nick Elphick says he has been the target of abuse since Floyd’s death in late May of last year.
A council vote on whether or not to pull down the statue was held just days after Floyd died and narrowly went in favour of Morton-Stanley’s legacy, 6-5. Rob Parkes, one of the councillors, claims “the vast majority of emails I’ve had have been against keeping the statue. The eyes of the world are on us and it’s vitally important we make the right decision.”
Denbigh’s mayor, Rhys Thomas takes a more democratic view. “Members of the public can come along and we can ballot how people feel about it all,” said Thomas.
“It would have happened by now but for all the complications with Covid. Last time this was discussed by Denbigh town council there was a sub-committee putting together a consultation, with information.
“There will be a public consultation, possibly over a couple of days, at the town hall. We are hoping to do the groundwork for this in September.”
Writing on Twitter, Robert Poll, co-founder of Save Our Statues wrote: “If there is a fair consultation it will undoubtedly show public support for the statue, as consultations always do.”