Thursday, June 22, 2006
This is the Nelson Monument I found behind the Town Hall, in a place called Exchange Flags. Around the outside is the inscription, 'England expects every man to do his duty'.
The Monument to Lord Nelson (1807-15) in Exchange Flags by Wyatt and Westmacott was Liverpool’s first major public statue, and was commissioned because Liverpool, and in particular its merchants, owed much to him. His victory over France guaranteed British naval dominance and the free passage of ships across the oceans, and thus the continued prosperity of Liverpool as port. The decision to commemorate Nelson’s death was initiated by the corporation, which gave £1,000 towards it, but the public subscription soon raised a further £8,000, which came
substantially from merchants such as John Gladstone and organisations with vested interests such as the West Indies Association and the Committee of Underwriters. An element of the sculpture that had particular relevance for Liverpool at the time was the inclusion of the chained
figures around the pedestal. The figures are actually prisoners of war, of whom there were over 4,000 held in Liverpool jails during the war, but they are also strongly suggestive of slaves and this was probably influenced by William Roscoe, the great abolitionist, who was chairman of
the subscription committee. The statue shows Nelson with his left foot on a fallen foe and his right foot on a cannon. He is also holding a sword with three crowns representing three battles, a figure of Britannia is weeping for the loss of Nelson.
Been dying to get back here and share my journey with you. I have such a touristy soul... love the old buildings and statues ... but most of all, the tangible, very tactile evidence of of a long history.
This site describes what I found;
Most people know Liverpool's early wealth came from her maritime industry, unfortunately I didn't know that also included profit from the slave trade. It puts my head in a hard place, to try and appreciate these old things, dirtied by the despicable practice.
It makes me wonder what legacies our time will leave. I doubt we'd so blatantly illustrate the people or the places we exploit these days. ( *snort* then there's the Exxon oiltanker, formerly named Condoleeza Rice, a different dirtiness.. but I'm just sayin)
I don't want to leave you with a nasty taste in your mouth.. so here's the other statue I saw in Sefton Park this weekend; Peter Pan.
Peter stands on a tall tree stump, playing a set of pan pipes held in his left hand, with his right arm raised. A crowd of fairies, rabbits and other woodland creatures swarm around the base, one fairy, sometimes identified as Tinker Bell, stretching up towards the boy. Frampton himself described the scene: "The animals and fairies on the statue are listening to the pipes of Pan, one of the mice is completing his toilet before going up to listen to the music, and the squirrel is discussing political matters with two of the fairies."
A pic, if you're interested;