A public consultation on the future of statues and monuments in Leeds has now started – and residents are being urged to have their say.
The review first announced last month will seek views and recommendations on how the city could better honour and represent inclusivity and diversity in public spaces, particularly in response to issues raised by the Black Lives Matter movement.
The review is independent from Leeds City Council and is chaired by Honorary Alderwoman Alison Lowe, who was the first female black city councillor in Leeds, serving the Armley Ward from 1990 to 2019.
Honorary Alderwoman Lowe will be supported in carrying out the review by a group of people with historical expertise, including from civic watchdog Leeds Civic Trust and higher education institutions in Leeds.
An initial inventory of statues in Leeds has been shared and the review is seeking views on them, as well as views on how to better portray, interpret and celebrate Leeds and its history.
The review looks at the importance and significance of specific statues to Leeds, any concerns about individuals currently represented, and the best ways to explain the historical context of statues, through information boards for instance.
Honorary Alderwoman Lowe said:
“As a historian I am delighted to have been asked to chair this review and have already discovered new facets of the history of Leeds and its people through our early investigations. In order to complete the review I urge people to get involved so that all voices can be heard. I look forward to seeing and hearing all the responses.”
Honorary Alderwoman Lowe is also interested to hear about any individuals or groups that are considered to be noticeably absent – although the review will not be itself recommending named individuals to be honoured – and how Leeds can best honour and represent significant individuals or groups in future.
Public consultation will run until Friday 31 July, with a report and recommendations expected to be published and presented to Leeds City Council’s executive board for consideration in the autumn.
For more information on the review follow this link.