News

Denbigh votes to keep controversial H.M Stanley statue after 7,000 signature petition to remove it

27 Oct 2021 2 minutes Read
H M Stanley statue in Denbigh. Picture by Jeff Buck (CC BY-SA 2.0).

The town of Denbigh has voted to keep a controversial statue of H.M Stanley.

The vote was taken by Denbigh Town Council on Friday 15 October and Saturday 16 October in the Town Hall, with the result announced tonight.

471, or 80%, voted for the statue to stay, with 171, or 20%, voting for it to be removed. Turnout was 8.8% of the town’s 6,725 residents. Based on that, the Town Council has decided that the statue will stay.

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

However, Stanley’s association with European imperialism, particularly the Belgian King Leopold II, led to objections during a period when the Black Lives Matters movement led national protests.

King Leopold II committed acts of appalling inhumanity against the population of the Congo Free State – now the Democratic Republic of Congo.

However, his supporters say Stanley was not working for the Belgian despot when the atrocities occurred and he has been unfairly tainted.

‘Question’

The decade-old statue, created by artist Nick Elphick, was already the target of protests. Artist Wanda Zyborska has held a performance where the statue is covered up in a rubber sheath, to protest against what she claims is its continued ‘toxic’ effect.

But the statue came under renewed scrutiny following the Black Lives Matter protests, with a petition begun in June of last year asking for its removal drawing over 7,000 signatures.

A long-time opponent of the controversial statue, Barbara Manley, said the 19th-century explorer’s crimes against humanity and support slavery meant his statue should be removed completely.

“The people of Denbigh may just look at the statue and regard HMS as the local lad who made good,” Barbara Manley said in June of last year.

“But the whole message of the Black Lives Matter movement is, please look at our history and question and reflect on what has happened in the past.

“The statue came into existence because of a European Rural Development Grant. It was hoped that it would encourage tourism to the town and maybe it will now, but whom will it attract?”

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
36 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Keith Gogarth
Keith Gogarth
1 month ago

At last common sense prevails but loca?shoulder an eye on it just in case.

Gareth Wyn Jones
Gareth Wyn Jones
1 month ago
Reply to  Keith Gogarth

What do you mean?

Penderyn
Penderyn
1 month ago
Reply to  Keith Gogarth

The man “shot african children” like dogs according to his accompanying biographer

He was a wannabe English imperialist and colonialist, nothing Welsh about him

Dim problem
Dim problem
30 days ago
Reply to  Penderyn

“I don’t like that bit of my country’s history – I’ll pretend it’s got nothing to do with me”.

Penderyn
Penderyn
1 month ago
Reply to  Keith Gogarth

Im local to Dinbych and Dyffryn Clwyd and despise these imperialists

Glynn
Glynn
1 month ago
Reply to  Penderyn

And I despise woke revisionists like you, Penderyn.

Emperor Shaddam IV
Emperor Shaddam IV
29 days ago
Reply to  Penderyn

Imperialists? Who the hell even talks like that?

Get a grip Penderyn.

Glynn
Glynn
1 month ago
Reply to  Keith Gogarth

Well said, Keith.

Penderyn
Penderyn
1 month ago

No surprise. Dinbych has been proud of English colonialism and imperialism.

The first hint was the fact they proudly use the nonsensical english corruption “Denbigh” as a badge of sycophantic honour

Glynn
Glynn
1 month ago
Reply to  Penderyn

You mean British imperialism, not English. Many Scots and Welsh benefitted from the Empire, but blame it all on the English as usual.

Gareth Wyn Jones
Gareth Wyn Jones
1 month ago

I grew up in the village he was born, I was taught erroneous history at the time in school about him but was proud of the fact. I have looked into his life later and he does not seem a remarkable or talented man and on balance probably was an agent for King Leopold who was a barbarian even compared to other slavers at the time including the British empire that had industrialised slavery. Not a life to celebrate and certainly the statue should be removed

Paul
Paul
30 days ago

80% of people there disagree with you.

CapM
CapM
30 days ago
Reply to  Paul

That’s incorrect Paul all we can say is –
About 7% of people there disagree with him.
About 91% of people there didn’t express an opinion.

Paul
Paul
30 days ago
Reply to  CapM

If you don’t vote, you don’t have a voice.

If we start including people who don’t express an opinion very few decisions would get made. Including most AMs/MSs who are elected often with 35% of the vote on a sub 50% turnout.

CapM
CapM
29 days ago
Reply to  Paul

It’s clear that I didn’t include people who didn’t vote in either the group who were for removing the the statue or against removing it.
I just corrected your “80% of people there disagree with you” statement.

Gareth Wyn Jones
Gareth Wyn Jones
30 days ago
Reply to  Paul

I did not grow up there and Stanly was not either. Llanelwy had a hospital named after him, which was the old workhouse he grew up in and the village he was born in takes Llanelwy in the address not Denbigh, not sure why the statue is in Denbigh in the first place, if it was in Llanelwy probably the vote would have been different

Glynn
Glynn
1 month ago

Ardderchog! About time this woke nonsense was kicked out. Leave our heritage alone.

CapM
CapM
30 days ago
Reply to  Glynn

“Ardderchog! About time this woke nonsense was kicked out. Leave our heritage alone.”

Presumably then Glyn you’ll be wanting the Stanley statue to be accompanied by additional information that outlines his life ‘warts and all ‘. After all our heritage deserves more than a handshake pose and an apocryphal sound bite.

Alun
Alun
30 days ago

I would have voted to remove the statue, but I do worry about the gap between lefty types like me and the mainstream electorate, as indicated by the decisiveness of the vote. We need to be communicating and understanding outside our bubbles.

Mathew Rees
Mathew Rees
30 days ago

Great news!

Cai Wogan Jones
Cai Wogan Jones
30 days ago

It should be clear to us all that this kind of decision – whether it is right to maintain statues in positions of public honour, or to remove them – should be determined by a formal legal process, informed by the facts, and according to clearly defined criteria. Not by mobs, bureaucrats or politicians motivated by their tribal positioning in a culture war. We should, for example, surely all accept the premise that public honour should not be afforded to people who are shown to have been personally implicated in racially aggravated crimes or crimes against humanity. I should like… Read more »

Last edited 30 days ago by Cai Wogan Jones
Gaynor
Gaynor
30 days ago

That is quite a good idea. What surprised me is that people in Dinbych wanted to put this statue up 10 yrs ago, as the facts about this man’s ” so called heroism in the Congo” were there for all to see at the time, which sadly reflects on those who came up with the idea and maybe their ignorance of history. With regards to reviewing memorials/ tributes/ statues, it is not always possible to remove or demolish a particular monument due to scale, cost and logistics eg Picton memorial in Carmarthen. If this is the case then ensure an… Read more »

Cai Wogan Jones
Cai Wogan Jones
30 days ago
Reply to  Gaynor

Completely agree. Sometimes, the answer is to provide appropriate context. Always (I think) these statues should be used constructively to inform about parts of our history that have long been ignored or concealed – and I do favour having a permanent exhibition in one of our museums to inform about the Atlantic slave trade, subjugation of peoples through the British imperial project, and the complex relationships between Welsh men and women and those monstrous developments. Some of these statues could be relocated there.

Keith Gogarth
Keith Gogarth
30 days ago

Home many of the nay – Sayers actually bothered to do any research on the man?

Gareth Wyn Jones
Gareth Wyn Jones
30 days ago
Reply to  Keith Gogarth

Yes we did that’s why we are against it

Pete
Pete
30 days ago

Irrespective of who he was and who he worked for John Rowlands/Henry Morton Stanley is part of history – and you don’t learn from history by trying to ignore it or re-write it. He grew up in a period which had many beliefs which we would today consider wrong but the only way subsequent generations achieved that change was by truly considering history as it was – not how we would like to think it was or should be! Several of the comments below are either incomplete or downright wrong so if you want to read about ‘Henry Morton Stanley’… Read more »

arthur owen
30 days ago
Reply to  Pete

History that isn’t being rewritten is dead.

Chris
Chris
30 days ago

Miss my home 🙁 but glad Dinbych voted the right way on this, protests are always by people not from the area (left wing facists)

j humphrys
j humphrys
30 days ago
Reply to  Chris

“We can see the West is travelling a road very familiar to us.The same disregard for their history, family structures, and so on. In Hollywood they now have meetings to set the number of minorities for each film, not the best actors. This culture has now travelled to Europe. We experienced this, and the Cancel culture, during the time of the Bolsheviks. We are keeping out of it”. ( from longer speech)
I idly watched this on You Tube, but isn’t it interesting? I think we should be fair to all, but also be on our toes, for obvious reasons.

Last edited 30 days ago by j humphrys
arthur owen
30 days ago
Reply to  j humphrys

WTF are you talking about.

j humphrys
j humphrys
30 days ago
Reply to  arthur owen

Well, perhaps, people of your mindset? Lenin, Trotsky, Leibknecht…………..
Though, also perhaps, less foul mouthed.

Gareth Wyn Jones
Gareth Wyn Jones
30 days ago
Reply to  j humphrys

Having lived in the former Soviet Union for many years, yours is closer to that mindset, the far right and the far left have many things in common

Gareth Wyn Jones
Gareth Wyn Jones
30 days ago
Reply to  Chris

Your talking what the tories voted to dump into rivers and seas last week

Ffred Ffransis
Ffred Ffransis
30 days ago

Mae’n amlwg y dylai’r cerflun fod mewn amgueddfa at bwrpas addysgol ac astudio agweddau’r cyfnod, ond nid ar stryd gyhoeddus yn achos dathlu.
Mae hefyd yn glod mawr i Nation,cymru ei fod bellach yn cael ei ystyried yn ddigon pwysig a dylanwadol i’r fyddin bach o Brits adain dde llawn amser ddechrau ateb pob adroddiad a sylw

roger emery
roger emery
16 days ago

I am not local to Denbigh so I accept that my opinion has less value/weight than those who have democratically voted to keep the statue. We cannot rewrite history; British history is based on powerful personages, usually men, using less powerful people to achieve their aims ie feudal landlords using labour for money or military purposes. Serfs in the past were in effect slaves. Times change; hopefully for the better, but it takes people of action and vision to achieve that and they are/were not perfect. For instance George Washington owned 124 slaves and controlled 193 others but he is… Read more »

Our Supporters

All information provided to Nation.Cymru will be handled sensitively and within the boundaries of the Data Protection Act 2018.