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Chesterfield Borough Council to review all statues, monuments and commemorations within the borough

We've been speaking to the local authority's leader on the matter.

Statement from Councillor Tricia Gilby, Leader of Chesterfield Borough Council

I, like you, have been shocked by the events of recent weeks.

Throughout Chesterfield borough there are commemorations for people, organisations and historical events. These take the form of monuments, statues, plaques, street names and the names of public buildings.  

Many of us, including myself will not know the history as to why particular commemorations were chosen but it is important that we question the legacies that are being celebrated. It is important that our landmarks and commemorations recognise the achievements, vibrancy and diversity of Chesterfield borough.

This is why I made the commitment yesterday, alongside the Leaders of a large number of other Labour Councils that Chesterfield Borough Council would listen to and work with its local communities to review the appropriateness of local monuments and statues on public land.

I believe our review, however, should extend to all commemorations on public land and that we should work with Chesterfield Museum, and other local cultural and educational institutions to help us to understand the historical context and enable opportunities for debate and education.

We will also take the opportunity to ask the public who is missing from our commemorations and who and what should be celebrated in the future to represent the history of Chesterfield borough and our diverse communities. This will include developing principles and guidance to ensure that new commemorations including statues, plaques and street names are inclusive so that all our communities can celebrate and enjoy them. 

The Black Lives Matter protests have rightly brought this to the public’s attention, and we know there are no quick and simple answers. But there is a commitment to work together to ensure that we do properly commemorate those individuals, organisations and historical events that have helped shape our great borough.

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