London abounds in statues. Wander the streets in any part of the city and you’ll find carved men, women and animals, varying in age, role, position and permanence.
There are over 400 statues in the City of Westminster alone. In fact, Westminster City Council has designated the area from Whitehall to St James’s as a “monument saturation zone”, where the addition of new memorials is actively discouraged.
I wander past sculptures with barely a glance, and even if I look at the name I often have no idea what they did, or when. I’ve decided I need to make a point of learning about one statue seen per visit in London!
Now, I doubt that I’ll stick to that resolution, but let’s kick off with a fellow I spotted down on the embankment a while ago.
Oooops – sometimes the important element of a photo escapes me!
This stately sculpture is of Sir Henry Bartle Edward Frere (1815 – 1884). He was a British colonial administrator, who had a successful career in India, being Governor of Bombay for 5 years, followed by being High Commissioner for Southern Africa.
Things didn’t go so well for him there. His policies to impose a British confederation on the region caused uprisings, battles and regional wars, including the Anglo-Zulu War and the First Boer War. In 1880, Gladstone recalled him to London to face charges of misconduct. Frere was planning a full response to all of the charges against him, but died before that could take place. He is buried at St Paul’s Cathedral.
Copyright Debbie Smyth, 23 May 2020
Posted as part of Saturday Sculpture