Cardiff Mayor calls for removal of Sir Thomas Picton statue from City Hall

Sir Thomas Picton

The Mayor of Cardiff has written to the leader of the council calling for the removal of a statue of a “monstrous” former governor of Trinidad from City Hall.

The statue of Sir Thomas Picton stands alongside marble statues of Welsh heroes such as Llywelyn the Last, Owain Glyndwr, Henry VII an others on the first floor.

Dan De’ath, the first Lord Mayor of black heritage of Cardiff, said that he was calling for the removal of the “sadistic 19th Century slave-owner” who was killed in 1815 fighting at the Battle of Waterloo.

Meanwhile, a petition calling for the removal of a 25m high obelisk memorialising Picton in Carmarthen has been signed by 1,000 people.

The calls come after Black Lives Matter protestors in Bristol pulled down a statue of slaver Edward Colston and threw it into the harbour on Sunday.

 

Trial

“I feel that this is an appropriate time to reassess how fitting it is for Cardiff to honour a man such as Picton with a statue on public display,” Mayor Dan De’ath said in his letter.

He said that Picton “served as governor of Trinidad where he oversaw an authoritarian and highly brutal regime”.

“Picton was also accused of the execution of dozens of slaves and his considerable fortune was due in a large part to the slave trade.”

Picton’s governorship of Trinidad led to his trial in 1806 accused of ordering the torture of Louisa Calderon, a 14-year old girl accused of being involved in the theft of money. The jury found him guilty, but Picton was never sentenced.

In his letter, Dan De’Ath quotes Caroline Hitt who said: “Even in his own era, Picton’s treatment of Louisa Calderon was considered repellent. It was a huge scandal which divided the public.”

The 12 statues in City Hall were funded by David Alfred Thomas, 1st Viscount Rhondda; the personages to be commemorated were decided by a competition in the Western Mail.

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