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Historic England celebrate community memorials

Historic England has revealed the hundreds of memorials nominated by the public to find the country’s secret and lesser-known murals, statues and tributes.

The search was carried out as part of their ‘Immortalised’ season, which aims to help people explore the country’s memorial landscape.

Historic England says they hoped the public consultation would open up a discussion of how we remember history in our public spaces, and how we and future generations will commemorate it.

They add that monuments and statues are under increasing scrutiny as debates grow about why there are so few statues of women and people of colour.

Included is a memorial in Preston to commemorate the Teetotal Movement; a statue to honour the Jarrow Crusaders; a wild garden shrine to ‘the outcast dead’ on the site of a graveyard where paupers and prostitutes were buried; and a mural of a local hero who led a revolt against the Crown when areas of the Forest of Dean were fenced off.

People from across England submitted photographs and stories of memorials, locally known and loved, and others that have almost been forgotten by communities and nationally.

A number have been listed by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) on the advice of Historic England, and a selection will be unveiled in the ‘Immortalised’ exhibition which will open in London on 30th August and is free to visit.

The exhibition also looks at who we have chosen to memorialise in the past and highlights the well-documented lack of women, working class people and people of colour in England’s memorial landscape.

Also on display are the winning designs of a national competition that asked artists, architects and designers to explore and visualise what memorials of the future could look like.

Duncan Wilson, chief executive of Historic England, said: ‘We are very grateful that so many people took the time to tell us about memorials in their communities and the stories behind them. At a time when our national statues and memorials are under increasing scrutiny, we’re delighted to shine a light on these often undiscovered and under-appreciated markers of our past.

‘Every one of those that’s been nominated has a local champion and someone who cares about it and about the story it tells. It’s important for us all to know who has been commemorated in our public spaces and what this can tell us about our history, as we look at how public memorials are evolving today.’

Read the full list of listed memorials here

Thomas Barrett
Senior journalist - NewStart Follow him on Twitter

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