We use cookies to give you a better experience. Carry on browsing if you're happy with this, or read our cookies policy for more information.

Skip main navigation

The Battle for Britain’s Heroes

This article outlines the arguments around the Statue Wars and the writing of broadcaster Afua Hirsch.
Nelson's column
© National Maritime Museum / author Sophie Richards
To begin this step, read this column from August 2017 by writer and broadcaster Afua Hirsch published in the Guardian.
Read some of the comments that the piece received online to see how readers responded.
Now read Hirsch’s follow up column from May 2018.
Hirsch also presented a documentary for Channel 4 entitled ‘The Battle for Britain’s Heroes’. In the programme Hirsch met with artists who were creating interventions on public statues, including new plaques in Bristol for statues of Edward Colston, and a projection onto Nelson’s column in Trafalgar Square.
For further examples of these debates, including how to rewrite the plaque on the statue of Henry Dundas, and a TedX talk by Madge Dresser on the Statue Wars in Bristol, go to the links in See Also below.
In the last step we quoted Rhodes Must Fall as suggesting:
‘…in a structurally racist context a statue of a racist colonialist has a very different meaning to for example, a museum, dedicated to memorialising the full, brutal history of Empire.’ [1]
Afua Hirsch also suggests that Britain should have a Museum of Empire.
What are your thoughts about the arguments Hirsch presents, and the responses others have given?
Read more in the See Also below.


  1. https://rmfoxford.wordpress.com/faqs/
© National Maritime Museum / author Sophie Richards
This article is from the free online

Confronting Captain Cook: Memorialisation in museums and public spaces

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education