Review into statues across the borough

OLDHAM Council chiefs are to carry out a review of statues and monuments in the borough in light of Black Lives Matter protests to ‘understand their history and context’.

In June, the council backed a motion supporting Black Lives Matter and the creation of a Greater Manchester Race Equality Panel and the publication of quarterly Race Equality Policing Report.Bosses also now want to launch a review looking at the kinds of people being memorialised in statue form in the borough.

A spokesman said: “The council is reviewing all the statues and historical symbols in the borough so we can understand their history and context.

“Oldham has a rich history, and who we remember gives us a deeper understanding of our past.”

Council and Labour group leader Sean Fielding has written to the leaders of the Liberal Democrat and Conservative parties in Oldham to propose a cross-party working group to ‘look at the important people of the town who are celebrated and memorialised’.

In Bristol last month, the statue of Edward Colston, a Bristolian merchant and slave trader, was dramatically toppled and dumped in the harbour by protestors.

Other statues, including Victorian imperialist Cecil Rhodes in Oxford, have come under fire, with Oxford’s Oriel College voting in favour of removing it from the campus.

And in London the words ‘Churchill was a racist’ were daubed on the base of the former Prime Minister’s statue, which led to it being encased in a metal box to protect it from further damage.

Liberal Democrat Councillor Howard Sykes had previously petitioned the council for a statue to be erected of Winston Churchill in Oldham, a constituency he represented for six years in parliament after winning the 1900 general election.

But instead a blue commemorative plaque in his name is currently fixed to Oldham town hall, near to the steps where Mr Churchill gave his first speech.

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