Campaigners call for removal of 'black boy clock' in Stroud

A statue of a black boy in Stroud which campaigners want removed

Campaigners are calling for the removal of a 240-year-old statue of a black boy in Stroud which they describe as a "relic from the transatlantic slave trade".

But the local MP says the move would be counter productive in the long term and will not end racism.

The statue forms part of a clock close to the High Street - known locally as 'the black boy clock'.

A consultation has begun into its future after a resident complained to the council.

Dan Guthrie has grown up in Stroud and used to walk by the clock every day on his way to school.

Last year, the 21-year-old complained to Stroud District Council about it after the statue of slave trader Edward Colston was toppled in Bristol.

He said "When I'm walking down the street leading to it my eyes lock onto it automatically. I'm just shocked that it is still up really. It's a relic from the transatlantic slave trade and I don't understand why it is still up in this day."

Dan Guthrie talks to ITV

Stroud Against Racism also want the statue removed.

Polly Stratton, from SAR, said "Taking it down isn't going to end racism, if there was a magic bullet that could end racism that easily people would have done it and it would be over and that would be great, but leaving it up there stops the process of all the little actions that need to happen for us to move towards a more equitable society."

The statue is on a building near Stroud High Street

But MP Siobhan Baillie has spoken out in favour of keeping the statue, writing in a local paper that its disappearance from the community into a museum could be counter productive in the long term.

In a statement today, she said "I will continue to tackle online hate in all its forms. There are, of course, lots of views about historical statues.

"I will fight for anyone's right to speak their mind within the law and without fear they will be abused or cancelled."

A consultation on the statue's future ends on September 1st, but since the clock is part of a a private Grade II listed building, the council's powers to take action will be limited.