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Future of controversial H.M Stanley statue won’t be revealed until end of the month

18 Oct 2021 2 minute read
H M Stanley statue in Denbigh. Picture by Jeff Buck (CC BY-SA 2.0).

Richard Evans, local democracy reporter

The future of a controversial statue won’t be revealed until the end of October.

A ballot took place at Denbigh Town Hall on Friday and Saturday as part of a public consultation to decide if the town’s statue of H.M Stanley should be removed from public view.

The bronze statue was erected over a decade ago, but Stanley’s association with European imperialism led to objections during a period when the Black Lives Matters movement led national protests.

Denbigh Town Council commissioned North Wales artist Nick Elphick to create the sculpt at Hall Square, but the council held a meeting in June 2020 to discuss its future. Members voted to keep the statue until a public consultation, which was delayed due to Covid restrictions.

Hundreds turned out to vote, but the result won’t be made public until Denbigh Town Council’s meeting on October 27.

A council spokeswoman said the results of the vote aren’t yet known.

‘No idea’ 

Cllr Glen Swingler voted at the weekend and said: “Several hundred people voted, but I’ve no idea which way the vote has gone, and I’ve no idea what will happen next. We will have to wait and see. I’ve not even had the vote results myself. I cannot comment on what the next stage is.”

Henry Morton Stanley is remembered for his famous words “Dr Livingstone, I presume” after finding the Scottish explorer lost in central Africa on the shores of Lake Tanganyika.

Fatherless, Stanley was born John Rowlands in 1841, starting his life in Denbigh, but he was put into the Asaph workhouse in St Asaph and later emigrated to the United States as a teenager where he fought on both sides of the American Civil War. He then became a journalist and explorer, mapping central Africa’s Great Lakes and the borders of what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Stanley, though, is viewed as a controversial figure by some because of his links with Belgian King Leopold II, for whom he worked for a time, because of the monarch’s treatment of Africans.

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Gareth Wardell
Gareth Wardell
2 years ago

HM Stanley was also MP for Lambeth North.

Grayham Jones
2 years ago

No English statutes in wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿

2 years ago
Reply to  Grayham Jones

Again, Stanley wasn’t English…

2 years ago
Reply to  Grayham Jones

What about Lloyd George? Born in Liverpool, served Wales. Shall we tear him down too?

2 years ago

It’s a beautiful, traditional statue and I very much hope it will remain in place or, given that the vote probably went the same way as the brexit referendum, be displayed somewhere safer, perhaps with a balanced explanation of his reputation.

Those who hate him claim that balance is biased. What can you do?

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