Statue of Sir Henry Morton Stanley to remain in Denbigh after public vote

The statue has courted controversy in the decade since it was erected

Denbigh has voted to keep a bronze statue of explorer Sir Henry Morton Stanley, despite protests over his links to imperialism.The statue of Stanley, best known for his famous line "Dr Livingstone, I presume?" has stood for a decade in his home town, after being unveiled in 2011.A two-day public vote was held in the town over whether it should be removed after a debate sparked by the Black Lives Matter movement over his links to European imperialism, exploitation and colonialism.The vote saw 471 people opt to keep the statue against 171 calling for it to be scrapped.A total of just over 8% of the town's 6,725 population turned out to have their say.

Who was Sir Henry Morton Stanley?

Stanley is celebrated as a journalist and explorer Credit: PA

Born John Rowlands in Denbigh in 1841, he was sent to a workhouse before emigrating to the United States as a teenager.He then fought in the American Civil War before becoming a journalist and explorer, finding the source of the Nile, mapping central Africa’s Great Lakes and the borders of the present-day Democratic Republic of Congo.

Stanley was immortalised for his famous words "Dr Livingstone, I presume" after finding the Scottish explorer on the shores of Lake Tanganyika where he had been lost in central Africa.

He was knighted in 1897 before dying at the age of 65.

Why is he a controversial figure?

Stanley and his adopted child Ndugu M’Hali or Kalulu

Protests were sparked in his hometown over his role working for the infamous Belgian King Leopold II.

Stanley has been accused of indiscriminate cruelty against Africans while serving under the monarch who committed acts of appalling inhumanity against the population of the Congo Free State – now the Democratic Republic of Congo.Last summer, the Bishop of St Asaph called the statues removal, arguing the explorer had "little respect for the natives of Africa".

The statue has been criticised since it was first announced, when a group of writers and campaigners including the poet Benjamin Zephaniah called for the plan to be abandoned.

An online petition to remove it gathered 7,000 signatures.

Following the vote, supporters have celebrated the result to keep the statue, with one saying: "Let's hope that's an end to it and things can get back to normal."Another said: "Result for common sense. We shouldn’t judge the past with the standards of today because I doubt we’d measure up to the standards of the future."One man said: "Brilliant result lets hope the people of Denbigh and surrounding areas appreciate it now."

Artist Nick Elphick was commissioned to create the statue to celebrate journalist and politician Stanley to mark his exploration of central Africa.In a tweet, Elphick said: "Well happy my HM Stanley Statue that had been forced into vote by Black Lives Matter has been voted to stay up by the public and by the council of Denbigh. I'm very proud."

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