LAST week Paul Horgan pointed out the obvious – that Churchill’s statue in Parliament Square was being attacked only because it is accessible. He further stated that if the authorities’ response was ‘to permanently cage’ our greatest-ever Prime Minister in protective scaffolding and hardboard, it was a travesty.
There was a better alternative, he suggested. To elevate Churchill. To place him high on a towering column near Nelson in Trafalgar Square, out of reach of the mobs and there for all to safely see.
We put the idea to the vote. And your response was loud and clear – a resounding yes, perhaps best summed up by enthusiasts who commented on Twitter: It’s a fantastic idea that really should not need to happen.
It is also true, as one commentator noted, that protesters’ targeting of Churchill – who in 2016 was voted the most influential Briton and in 2002, the Greatest Briton – is ‘designed to rile us most’. As indeed it has.
The answer to that then must be, as Paul writes, ‘for the former First Lord of the Admiralty to follow in the path of one of the Admiralty’s greatest warriors situated at the other end of Whitehall’.
Here is our challenge then to British engineers, architects and craftsmen as well as to the Prime Minister, himself an admirer and biographer of Churchill: Construct a monument to the great man mirroring, and of equal quality to, Nelson’s Column.
No one deserves such a physically and symbolically elevated status more than Churchill. He saved Britain – with the help of the Empire – in its darkest hour, when the Nazis threatened invasion during the Second World War. Arguably he has not to date been adequately commemorated.
The 169ft monument was built from Dartmoor granite between 1840 and 1843 to a design by William Railton at a cost of £47,000. That’s the equivalent of around £4,500,000 now – small change in these days of confetti government spending.
The pedestal is decorated with four bronze relief panels, each 18ft square, cast from captured French guns depicting the Battle of Cape St Vincent, the Battle of the Nile, the Battle of Copenhagen and the death of Nelson at Trafalgar. The sculptors were respectively Musgrave Watson, William F. Woodington, John Ternouth and John Edward Carew.
Which of our sculptors today would have the skill and vision to produce a similar masterpiece? Which would step forward?
Perhaps for Churchill’s Column the Imperial War Museum could find captured armaments or military artefacts to be worked into panels depicting the pivotal victories of the war under his leadership, such as the Battle of Britain, the Battle of the Atlantic, El Alamein, Normandy and Kohima.
The vision of Churchill’s Column is inspiring in these febrile and uncertain times. And your support for it is a great start towards making it a reality. Please let us know your ideas of how, in Churchill’s words, we can go forward together.