What Do We Do With the Houses of Empire?


Dyrham Park – front facade . Image © Mike Peel licensed under the CC-BY-SA-4.0.

In June 2020, the statue of 17th-century slave trader Edward Colston was toppled in the southwestern city of Bristol in England. Before this, the statue sat on a plinth in a prominent public park, before being hauled into Bristol Harbour by Black Lives Matter protestors. This act has led to a long-overdue reckoning in the UK and other Western nations, a reckoning that has necessitated a deeper analysis of monuments that line cities, and how deeply imperialism can be interlinked with parts of the built environment. The ever-green question is, what do we do with these buildings?

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