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Toppling of English queens statues in Canada brings into question what purpose do such monuments serve?

04 Jul 2021 3 minutes Read
Statues of queens Victoria and Elizabeth were toppled in Canada

Pictures of indigenous people in Canada toppling statues of English queens Victoria and Elizabeth has brought into question what purpose do statues serve?

Three days ago, a prominent statue of Queen Victoria was torn down by protesters in Canada as anger grows over the recent discoveries of unmarked graves of indigenous children at residential schools. Protesters cheered as the statue at the legislature in Manitoba’s capital Winnipeg was toppled on Thursday.

A smaller statue of Queen Elizabeth II was also upended nearby. The toppling of the statues came on Canada Day, an annual celebration on July 1 that marks the country’s founding by British colonies in 1867.

Referring to the Canadian revolt, Bernard Moffatt, of the Celtic League, wrote on Facebook: “The British Empire had a mission to destroy indigenous culture and community wherever it went and indeed was via the education system responsible for the destruction of the Manx Language.

“A process which Manx governments in the last three decades have started to reverse.”

Upended

During the Black Lives Matter protests sparked by the murder of George Floyd by Derek Chauvin, the statue of slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol was unceremoniously felled and thrown into the harbour in June last year.

And the statue of “sadistic” 19th-century slave owner Thomas Picton found guilty of torturing a 14-year-old girl is to be removed from a ‘Heroes of Wales’ gallery at Cardiff City Hall.

A Welsh Government report identified 209 monuments, buildings or street names commemorating people who were directly involved with slavery and the slave trade, or opposed its abolition.

While there are dozens of statues and monuments to Queen Victoria world-wide, there are only two in Wales.

There is a statue with a fountain and canopy of Queen Victoria in Happy Valley, Great Orme, Llandudno, Conwy.

It has a bronze bust of her on a pedestal with the inscription: “This Fountain was erected in the Happy Valley to/commemorate the Jubilee of the Reign of Her Most Gracious Majesty Queen Victoria and Empress of India by The Right Honourable Lady Augusta Mostyn Upon land presented to the Town of Llandudno by her son, the Right Honourable Llewellyn 3rd Baron Mostyn”.

The other is a sculpture by Henry Price in bronze and stone in Bellevue Park, Wrexham.

There are no statues for Elizabeth 11 in Wales, although she has a couple in England and others in Canada and Burma.

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GARETH WESTACOTT
GARETH WESTACOTT
20 days ago

Were they really ‘indigenous people’? I don’t think so.

Huw Davies
Huw Davies
20 days ago

Just as likely they were Canadians who want to ditch the monarchy and saw a chance/excuse to protest. Or just some hooligans looking for a fight! Or both! Or a mix of indigenous and other Canadian hooligans!…
Easier to call them indigenous than research things properly.

Ann Corkett
Ann Corkett
20 days ago

Mae’n ddrwg gen i, Nation.Cymru, ‘does dim Brenhines Elisabeth yr unfed ar ddeg.

Elvey MacDonald
Elvey MacDonald
20 days ago
Reply to  Ann Corkett

A Queen of England yw ei theitl, beth bynnag. Does dim angen cael cerfluniau brenhinol yng Nghymru.

Nick Randall-Smith
Nick Randall-Smith
20 days ago

The purpose of statues is to be toppled?

Personally I’m not a great proponent of statue toppling, statues need to change with the times and that means adding modern context such as adding extra plaques and using them as educational tools.

Last edited 20 days ago by Nick Randall-Smith
Mr Williams
Mr Williams
20 days ago

As children in Llandudno we used to refer to the statue of Queen Victoria there as ‘the faggy queen’ as the mouth is slightly open and someone would always stick a cigarette stump in her mouth. Hope that gives you all a giggle.

Mr Williams
Mr Williams
20 days ago
Reply to  Mr Williams

Fag meaning cigarette by the way.

Last edited 20 days ago by Mr Williams
j humphrys
j humphrys
19 days ago
Reply to  Mr Williams

Good one!

Chris
Chris
20 days ago

I’m not a big fan of statues as aggrandisement of the rich and powerful at all. I’d happily bring the lot down. They deserve no preservation or special treatment because they are out there by the few, without any consultation of the many and then claim they are our heritage. They are not. They say to the people “Know who rules you, prole!” I wouldn’t even have the Nye Bevan one up and I respect him. I would ALSO not have war memorials which attempt to justify the war instead of simply commemorating the dead and calling them “glorious”. That… Read more »

j humphrys
j humphrys
19 days ago
Reply to  Chris

When you raise the statue to the great j humphrys, please remember I admired the Keops pyramid!

David Russell
David Russell
20 days ago

When a nation starts dismantling its past it is on the road to self destruction.

Chris
Chris
19 days ago
Reply to  David Russell

Statues are just structures for narcisstic aristocrats paid for by their lickspittles.. They have little value and no historical relevance. At best they are symbols of oppression. Bring em all down and just use statuary for art. History is mostly lies anyway.
Although saying that, the Hitties, the Trojans, the Carthaginians, the Druids, the Aztecs, the Phoenicians, the Midianites etc would probably agree with you.

Last edited 19 days ago by Chris
j humphrys
j humphrys
19 days ago
Reply to  Chris

In Wrecsam, we have a great statue of the Welch Fusiliers………I dare you.

Chris
Chris
19 days ago
Reply to  j humphrys

Didn’t say I was going to do it, because It’s a crime. But Billy Big Balls challenges based around other people’s soldier worship can often prompt me to call people’s bluff on things. You also clearly missed my comments on memorials, either by accident or design. “The fallen” are our family members, usually drafted against their will or volunteered to escape poverty. They are the brave victims, over hundreds of years, of a vile and greedy Government who sent them to die to get more stuff for the toffs. With the singular notable exception of WWII. No war is glorious.… Read more »

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