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Campaigners Call for Debate on Whitby's Captain Cook Statue

Campaigners Call for Debate on Whitby's Captain Cook Statue

Published by Matthew Pells at 6:01am 14th June 2020.

Calls to remove Captain Cook's statue in Whitby over links to slavery are unfounded according to a local expert.

Following the toppling of the statue of Edward Colston in Bristol last week, the cook statue in Whitby has been added to an online list of statues, the future of which campaigners say should be debated, in respect of links to slavery and colonial violence.

Charles Forgan is from the town's Captain Cook Memorial Museum and says Cook had no links to slavery.


The Whitby statue has been added to a list of monuments on the Topple The Racists website which says..

"Topple the Racists is inspired by the direct action taken by Bristolians. Statues are exercises of public adoration. And Edward Colston made his fortune in the slave trade. He was part of a system of mass murder, torture and human suffering. We must learn from, not venerate, this terrible chapter in British colonial history."

"We have included cases where there is responsibility for colonial violence. History is complicated so we have made some judgment calls."

"It's up to local communities to decide what statues they want in their local areas. We hope the map aids these much-needed dialogues. Taking down a statue could also include moving it to a museum, for example."

Charles says there is lots to celebrate about James Cook.


In Australia, police in Sydney were deployed to protect a statue of Captain Cook in the town's Hyde Park on Friday after fears that protestors might try to pull it down. A number of petitions have been launched calling for the removal of Cook statues in various towns in Australia and New Zealand.

In October the UK government expressed "regret" that British explorers killed some of the first indigenous Maori people they met in New Zealand 250 years ago - but stopped short of a full apology.

Soon after Cook and his crew arrived in New Zealand, the sailors feared they were under attack after encountering Maori armed with weapons, but many experts now believe the Maori were only issuing a ceremonial challenge.

On the 250th anniversary of Captain James Cook arriving on his ship Endeavour, The British High Commissioner to New Zealand, Laura Clarke, met with Maori tribal leaders in the country's North Island and acknowledged the pain of those first encounters and extended her sympathy to the descendants of those killed.


There are 4 comments on this page.

zara, on 14th June 2020 7:41am
the only thing i want to topple is this self righteous group who think they have the right to decide what can and cannot be part of our history! It is our history for good or bad and to say that THEY have made a judgement call actually makes them worse than the people represented by the statues. People like Colston, Cook, Baden Powell and Churchill were people of their times and things were different then with different values. Does not make some of their actions right but we celebrate them for the GOOD that they did.
Paul26, on 14th June 2020 3:47pm
I totally agree with Charles.
This country has changed a lot over the years somethings are good, and something’s not so good.
Why are we letting these criminals who are set on pulling down historic statues and trying to discard British history have a say?
Wonder how may of those people protesting yesterday have actually paid any tax to this country ? I fort for this country, but now feel what was the point????
God save the Queen
neil bower, on 15th June 2020 12:39am
⁸worlds gone mad what next
Zen master7, on 15th June 2020 8:56am
I'm so sick of all this. Sick of the blues snowflakes, sick of the weak
councils, government who are not squashing it.
Sick of the press that stir it all up and make it worse.
We have a grand history. Anyone that a abuses that is a treasonous

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