The second half of the nineteenth century witnessed a new phenomenon in public monuments and civic ornamentation. Whereas in former times public statuary had customarily been reserved for 'warriors and statesmen, kings and rulers of men', a new trend was emerging for towns to commemorate their own citizens. As the subjects immortalised in stone and bronze broadened beyond the traditional ruling classes to include radicals and reformers, it necessitated a corresponding widening of the language and understanding of public statuary. Contested Sites explores the role of these commemorations in radical public life in Britain. Despite recent advances in the understanding of the importance of symbols in public discourse, political monuments have received little attention from historians. This is to be regretted, for commemorations are statements of public identity and memory that have their politics; they are 'embedded in complex class, gender and power relations that determine what is remembered (or forgotten)'. Examining monuments, plaques and tombstones commemorating a variety of popular movements and reforming individuals, the contributions in Contested Sites reveal the relations that went into the making of public memory in modern Britain and its radical tradition.
'… Tyrell's solid and important volume should inspire further work in this compelling field.' Journal of British Studies
Contents: Foreword; Preface, Iain McCalman; Bibliographical note; The public memorial of reform: commemoration and contestation, Paul A. Pickering and Alex Tyrrell; Bearding the Tories: the commemoration of the Scottish political martyrs of 1793-94, Alex Tyrrell with Michael T. Davis; A 'grand ossification': William Cobbett and the commemoration of Tom Paine, Paul A. Pickering; Radical banners as sites of memory: the National Banner Survey, Nicholas Mansfield; The Chartist rites of passage: commemorating Feargus O'Connor, Paul A. Pickering; Preserving the glory for Preston: the Campo Santo of the Preston Teetotalers, Alex Tyrrell; Whose history is it? Memorialising Britain's involvement in slavery, Alex Tyrrell and James Walvin; Index.