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London is practically littered with statues of politicians - they do seem to be able to find taxpayers’ funds to honour themselves don’t they? Here are some of the works of more artistic merit - or recalling more interesting personalities.

Any comments - or a suggestion for a London secret? Please e-mail me.

Politicians 1 2

Richard Cobden

‘Corn Laws Repealed’ reads the inscription on the base of this weathered statue of MP and social reformer Richard Cobden MP (1804-1865).  Besides this campaign to allow free trade, he fought to keep Britain out of the Crimean War (and American Civil War) and supported secular education.

Camden High Street NW1
Tube: Mornington Crescent

John Cartwright

Major Cartwright (1740-1824) was an outspoken reformer, in favour of universal suffrage and secret ballots, and against slavery. He was nicknamed the ‘Father of Reform’, and was still being arrested for his speeches at the age of 80. His younger brother Edmund invented the power loom.

Cartwright Gardens WC1
Tube: Russell Square

William Gladstone

Liberal Party statesman and prime minister four times, Gladstone (1809-1898) was cited by Churchill as Britain’s greatest prime minister. He was also famous for walking around London, trying to reform the prostitutes he met. His hobby was tree-felling, which he kept up to age 81.

Aldwych WC2
Tube: Temple

Benjamin Disraeli

Gladstone’s great rival was cast in bronze by sculptor Mario Raggi in 1883. Queen Victoria sent two wreaths of primroses (Albert’s favourite flowers) as she could not attend the funeral of a commoner. Every year after, on April 19, the anniversary of Disraeli’s death, the statue was decorated with them.

Parliament Square SW1
Tube: Westminster

Viscount Palmerston

The oldest man ever to become Prime Minister, in 1855 at the age of 70, he walked to Westminster daily from his home in Piccadilly. He was a strong advocate of gunboat diplomacy and empire. On his deathbed he quipped: ‘Die, my dear doctor? That’s the last thing
I shall do!’

Parliament Square SW1
Tube: Westminster

Wilfrid Lawson

An enthusiast of total abstinence, Sir Wilfrid was first elected to Parliament in 1859 where he campaigned against the evils of alcohol. He was also a supporter of disestablishment (ending the link between Church and Monarch), abolition of the House of Lords, and disarmament.

Victoria Embankment SW1
Tube: Embankment

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