Stroud council to recommend Blackboy clock is removed – BBC


By Esme Ashcroft
Political reporter, BBC Radio Gloucestershire

A 248-year-old clock which has been described as an "offensive racist relic" should be taken down, a council has said.
The Blackboy clock in Stroud features a statue that sits on the side of a Grade II listed building.
Stroud District Council is set to recommend its removal and says it should be offered to a museum.
Anti-racism campaigners have previously called for its removal. The issue will be discussed at a meeting next week.
The recommendation follows an eight-week consultation by the council asking for people's views on the figure.
More than 1,600 people responded, with 77% saying it should be taken down.
Doina Cornell, leader of Stroud District Council, said: "It is very much us listening to the community.
"A lot of consultation has gone on with people who understand the sensitivities around the statue and what it represents."
The clock is attached to a private dwelling and is not owned by the council, therefore its powers to take action are limited.
But Ms Cornell said the council will consult with the trust that does own it and seek listed building consent to remove the clock.
Blackboy clock
If signed off by the trust, the removal could cost up to £35,000 and may also need approval from the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.
The authority's preferred option is to offer the clock to the Museum in the Park and for an information plaque to be placed where it currently stands.
But not everyone agrees.
Stroud MP, Siobhan Baillie, said she "opposes removal of history and statues" and "to do so serves no purpose other than to allow some people to decide or be selective with history or decide what is most comfortable and cause no offence".
Historic England has also raised concerns that taking down the clock would "harm both the significance of the listed building… and the character of the conservation area".
It added that removing it "would also seriously damage the integrity of the clock itself".
The council report on recommendations also states there should be a review of the street name Blackboys, in Dursley.
It also wants to push forward with plans to reinstate the anti-slavery arch in Pagenhill and to reassess its street naming and culture strategy.
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