South Thanet MP suggests Sculpture Cemetery idea for Ramsgate

Craig Mackinlay with Dominic Grant and his George IV statue sculpture (Photo taken October 2019)

South Thanet MP Craig Mackinlay has suggested creating a Sculpture Cemetery in Ramsgate.

The MP, who has caused something of a storm with a recent column about the Black Lives Matter protests and a social media posting about the removal of statues, is suggesting Ramsgate becomes the resting place for “unloved, unfashionable or truly despised” statues.

He says with a reappraisal of historical public art in full flood across parts of the country, following protests in the wake of the killing of black American George Floyd by police in Minneapolis, and with it “demands for the tearing down of statues of luminaries of old now deemed as unacceptable under the microscope of a 21st century perspective” the idea could now come to pass.

Mr Mackinlay says such sites around the globe have become significant and successful visitor attractions.

The MP said: “I was a trustee of the Medway Sculpture Trust for many years across my time as a councillor. The team put together the funding for and completion of a successful modern bronze sculpture named ‘The Mariners’ on St Mary’s Island, Chatham. It remains to this day as a significant piece of contemporary art.

“I have long harboured the desire to see more public sculpture since visiting a sculpture cemetery outside of Vientiane in Laos many years ago. I’ve kept the idea alive for the appropriate moment. With a new surge of historic revisionism taking hold, why not create something bold in Ramsgate giving a new home for unloved statues from around the world, and a new opportunity for domestic ones as well which might well be looking for a new home?

“From Saddam Hussein to Karl Marx, Abraham Lincoln and Gandhi to a currently soggy Edward Colton from Bristol, all could have a new lease of life with appropriate historical context and educational focus whether loved or despised. This could become a significant tourist attraction and I have identified land on the Westcliff, next to the boating pool as a perfect, underused site for such a new scheme.

“I am writing to the Chief Executive of Thanet District Council to enquire whether this land could be made available, and also intend to establish a new charitable trust for East Kent to promote public sculpture across the area. This could be really exciting particularly as we have such a vibrant creative sector locally, with the new charity assisting in the establishment of the new King George IV sculpture currently being completed by local sculptor Dominic Grant.”

A post today (June 10) on the MP’s facebook alluding to the removal of statues, including the removal of one of 18th century slaver Robert Milligan and the toppling of the Edward Colston monument in Briostol, has caused some outrage with one commentator saying: “Craig Mackinlay is a long time way from covering himself in glory here.”

A spoof twitter account has also caused some mischief although the account seems to have had a slight name change to include sh*t MP today.

Photo Ian Venables

A second Thanet Black Lives Matter protest is being held on Saturday, June 13 at noon with a march from Ramsgate town centre to Margate seafront. This will be followed by kneeling for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. It follows a peaceful demonstration held in Margate last Sunday.

Participants are asked to wear protective masks, follow social distancing and bring food and water. They are also asked to wear black with one colourful item.

An event page for the march says: “When we arrive in Margate we will kneel for exactly 8 minutes 46 seconds in silence. (This is inhumane amount of time Derek Chauvin had his knee on George Floyd’s neck) This will be to show our respect for George, that lost his life to the racist mistreatment and brutality that the police and justice system delivered.”

Organisers request:

  • Make sure you wear PPE (face masks and bring hand sanitizer etc)
  • If you have any symptoms of covid please stay at home
  • No alcohol/drugs policy
  • Respect social distancing guidelines (if turning up with friends or family make sure it’s a maximum of 6, as organisers to try walk in groups of six)
  • Remain calm, collected, respectful of others, this is a peaceful march

Concerns have been raised over an organised gathering during the need for social distancing due to the covid pandemic.

Protesters say they will social distance but for those who have concerns these areas of Ramsgate and Margate may be busy during the protest times.


  1. Sounds like a good idea (and I don’t say that about Craig Mackindlay’s notions very often!)
    I worry , though, that he is being a bit dismissive of current changes in attitudes to past figures. After all, slavery was disapproved of way back when it was rife. The USA fought a Civil War with massive loss of life about it. Earlier, many Britons such as Wilberforce, oppposed it and fought long campaigns to have it abolished. So this is not some “modern, new-fangled” idea to condemn slavery and to reject the men who benefited from it.
    We shouldn’t forget that the statue of Edward Colston that now sleeps with the fishes in Bristol harbour wasn’t erected until 1895, over a century after his murderous exploits. Clearly, some people at the time STILL thought he was a nice man and were prepared to pay for a statue to him.
    This is an age-old battle between slavery and exploitation versus freedom and equality. Not just a whimsical change of attitudes.

    Of course, most subjects of statues, were flawed individuals, capable of good and bad in their lives. Right now, in London, we have statues of Charles 1st, the notorious “dictator Stuart” the “man of blood” responsible for mass murder, torture and arbitrary arrest of his opponents. And the man who led his overthrow, Oliver Cromwell, has a statue right outside Parliament though he ,also , deserves the title “man of blood” for his slaughter of Irish people and of his English opponents.
    Yet neither men , today, attract the hostility of the descendants of their victims the way Colston and his gang attract the understandable hostility of the English descendants of slaves. Who, now, has angry attitudes towards Charles Stuart or Oliver Cromwell (apart from Irish people who recall the massacres of Wexford and Drogheda)?

    Unless you are an Irish person with a keen sense of history, you could walk past the statue of Oliver Cromwell with barely a glance. But if you are a Afro-Caribbean Briton you could not ignore that statue of Colston, because you would know that your whole existence and struggle as a citizen of Britain and as a descendent of African slaves flowed from his cruel decisions.
    To expect his statue to be treated with respect would be like expecting Jewish people to just shrug if they saw a statue to Hitler!

    • Not sure the people of Ramsgate would think a cemetery to dead statues would be welcome, except by the seagulls perhaps

    • Perhaps why IRSP are fellow travellers in the Marxist international cultural revolutionary movement alongside BLM ? Historical revisionists IE liars

  2. Perhaps all the protestors should go to Germany and pull down statues that offend them, after all they killed millions and enslaved millions.

    • The largest holocaust in history was by Muslim expansionists on India. Muslims were also the most prolonged and prolific slave traders in history. In fact far more white slaves were snatched INTO Africa than black slaves taken out by transatlantic slave trade. But we must not neglect blacks in the holocaust perpetration history. The Zulu expansionist holocaust on rival African tribes and Rwanda spring to mind.

      And Nigeria history. Latterly military coups, civil war inter ethnicity conflict (Yes different black ethnicities .. whereas the West suffers the fallacy of one black ethnicity)

    • Germany got rid of its offensive swasticas and statues within 4 years after it became illegal to bear a swastica (1948? 1949? Someone else can google it). Swasticas were scrubbed or even blasted off of buildings. This didn’t result in Germany ‘rewriting’ its history, as many in favour of retaining oppressive statues (Craig Mackinlay) argue. Instead, Germany teaches about the war but doesn’t feel the need to keep known oppressors upon a pedestal.

      • Who gets to decide whether or not a given statue is ”oppressive”? You? What are your history related qualifications – and criteria – for deciding it’s your call? You don’t even know how to spell ‘swastika’ properly.Airbrushing people/artifacts out of history takes away the opportunity to study them and learn from them – and anyway is totalitarian and repugnant as a concept in itself.After all,this is the 21st century,NOT 1984…

        • What “history-related qualifications and criteria” does anybody need before they take the bold step of deciding that genocide is a bad thing?

          • Clear primary source evidence that a given individual was actually involved in genocide,or anything else that they made be accused of.To uncover such evidence requires proper research by someone trained how to do it properly,and who has carried out primary source research properly – as accepted by their peers – in the past.

  3. Everyone needs to learn from history – not just get rid of it or hide it. So a statue cemetery is something different and could be used for educational purposes – much like the Holocaust museums which exist. And it could be a unique attraction for Thanet, adding something else to the area for tourists – as and when it’s safe, of course!!!

    • How many people had heard of Colson before the statue ended up in the water?

      If anything, recent events have invigorated interest in the subject.

      The big issue we all have is why is our MP so damn crap. This is a pretty dull idea and hardly likely to draw people to the area. I’m inclined to agree with Mr Waxenberg.

      • Yes what was going on at the time of Colstons life ? Corsairs (Muslim slavers) preying on the coasts of Britain snatching white slaves. There were more white slaves snatched into Africa than there were black slaves taken out in transatlantic slave trade.

        Cromwell ordered that any muslim slaver pirate caught be taken to Bristol and drowned slowly.

        As for taking down Nelsons Column we would forget what a fine Royal Navy he left which after we beat Napoleon went on to kick muslim slaver backsides in the Med and begin the process of freeing Africa from the centuries of muslim run slave trade.

        Also in Colstons lifetime British white slaves were being transported by Britain to the Caribbean !

        The BLM version of history is revisionism on a par with holocaust denial.

        • Great and not at all totally irrelevant point, Richard. I’ll make sure to pass this info on to BLM so they can tear down all the statues of Muslim slavers we have in our British cities!

      • Genocide is the deliberate targeting of a specified group or groups of people for wholesale killing – hardly the purpose of those involved in the slave trade,as you can’t sell a dead slave.So,you need people properly trained and experienced in historical research to find out exactly (availability of primary sources permitting) who did what when; those without such expertise start out using the wrong definition,so look in the wrong place for the wrong things,ergo are unlikely to uncover any real evidence or truths that are relevant.Does this answer your question? Slavery isn’t/wasn’t genocide – the 2 are incompatible as concurrent policies by the same polity;slavery is a different (historical or modern) sin to genocide.

  4. Instead of working for the people of Thanet, Mackinlay has clearly spend most of lockdown on 4Chan and Gab.

    This is just low budget trolling from low budget suit guy.

  5. As a councillor at TDC I would unequivocally oppose those of for no other reason than the fact this is being called for by an MP has just today expressed suggested that statues of slave owners have an historic value and for that reason have a place in public life. This position is absurd and undermines his ability to credibly argue for a scheme like this – even assuming it had any merit in itself (which I don’t believe it does)

    • No statues should be removed they are part of history, Not the present and like the present all lives matter we are not the USA we are British and we should all act as if we were. Its not an excuse to damage our statues no one believes in slavery we are all equal and should all be treated as so including the criminal element causing the damage.

    • Or,Sam,contact maybe the Turkish embassy to ask what their plans are to deal with any such statues they may have…

  6. Statues of people associated with slavery do have an historic value.They should not be destroyed, but should not be placed in a position which traditionally was a place of uncritical honour, eg a street or square. Putting them in museums is not a bad idea in itself, but they should be kept in the places where their originals lived; plenty of information should be given about them; and the history taught in school should be social history, focusing on the experiences of the majority of the population. (The latter may already be what’s taught in schools- I don’t know what the current history curriculum is.)

  7. I would only guess by putting up lots of statues from the slave trade and tyrants from around the world would turn ramsgate into the most hated place in the uk ! Or am I missing something ?

  8. If Mackinlay wants this then I propose he has it in Chatham where he lives. We don’t want it in Ramsgate.

  9. What is it with the minority of morons that want to obliterate any part of history that they choose not to like ?

    2,000 years ago we were invaded by the Romans and they killed many Brits and made others into slaves so do we now destroy all the Roman remains and statues of Roman emperors ?

    And let us not forget the Vikings and all their raping and pillaging. That Viking longship at Pegwell Bay would have to go if all the snowflakes and self-appointed guardians of morality were allowed to have their way !

  10. It’s most odd that the killing of a black man in the USA has somehow been turned into a campaign to change street names and remove statues in the UK. History is history those who agree with the black lives matter protesters are missing the point. Firstly the protest was about the death of a black man in police custody. Now that protest has gone on to other things totally unrelated to the events in Minnesota. If the protesters are allowed to dictate what they want by mob rule where will it end. If black lives matter why have they not been on the streets of London protesting about the hundreds of black kids who have been murdered by other black kids do those lives not matter?

    • Yes, it’s almost as if… bear with me, I’m just thinking out loud here… the protests are about something deeper in society than the Minneapolis police murdering a single black man!

      I suppose I could make a tiny bit of effort to find out, but why bother? Easier to just be disingenuous, throw in some whataboutism about knife crime and go back to thinking about something that makes me less uncomfortable.

  11. So Ramsgate will be a home for statues whose only merit is nobody wants them and are seen as glorifying the slave trade. What a horrible idea! And how will it be maintained and guarded? Who will pay? Maybe the white supremacists who will make pilgrimages here? Good contribution to our tourism offer!

  12. Bulldoze the pyramids. By thè way who.forced the slaves to walk accross africa and get on those ships, black slave traders of course.

    • There is conclusive primary source evidence that the pyramids were built by workers through a state corvee labour system,and skilled artisans,both groups being paid for their work;the pyramids in Egypt were not built using slave labour.

  13. It seems some people object to removing statues that celebrate slave traders and mass murderers. Would they actively try to get some new ones put up? If not, why defend the existing ones? What is it about slave traders and mass murderers that appeals to them?

    That “it’s our history”? Well, it may be a sort-of part of the past history of my ancestors, and, no doubt, I am still benefiting from living in a modern well-off country that was able to industrialise by using the vast wealth produced by slaves. But I can’t say I want to celebrate the fact with statues to the perpetrators. So take the statues down and, if needs be, stick them in Mr Mackindlay’s “statue cemetery” so we can learn their rotten history without having them in prominent positions in the town centres as if we approve of them.

  14. After a nice quiet evening at home, I now realize that I have misjudged Mr Mckinlay.

    He’s just having a laugh! Doing his best to lighten up these anxious times with his cutting-edge, yet sensitive, satire.

    I wonder what Dominic Grant thinks of this Villains in Sculpture idea.

  15. We could take the bronze ones to reclamet & melt ’em down for scrap.
    We don’t want them otherwise, as we’ve probably got a few we could do with getting rid of ourselves.

  16. Maybe a sculpture park, like the one in Yorkshire which is a great tourist attraction.,especially the time it showcased the Ceramic poppies from the Tower of London.
    Not a sculpture cemetery for rejected old crap no-one wants. Ramsgate needs a tourist boost to encourage people to this beautiful coastal area.

  17. Keefogs.i don’t object to the removal of statues, what I object to is taking them down because a gang of criminals who have jumped on the bandwagon of a protest group dictating that they have to be removed. They will want the White cliffs of Dover to be painted black next. I would doubt that any of the criminals who smashed windows and attacked the police even knew what the statues stood for until the media told them. It’s not racism of the past we should be concerned with no one can change history it’s racism in future we don’t want.

    • Read the transcripts of the 1858 Lincoln-Douglas debates,and then decide for yourself what Lincoln really believed about Black people…

  18. Crazy Craig is the most pathetic MP in the UK. His vision for a lovely town like Ramsgate is an airport that will fail and a sculpture garden of offensive statues that the rest of the world has dumped. Get a life Craig

    • Good to see Craig is at the forefront of the needs of Ramsgate to make it a better place to live and doing his best to promote things most people who live here don’t want or need!

      how much do the public pay every year for his services?

  19. History is not about justification for acting in a way that suits your purpose. The lessons from history prove only that human beings are flawed and that they are conditioned by their upbringing and the morality of their time.
    I would rather that instead of statues and the constant memorialisation of blue plaques and sculptures, that we instead read more history to get a rounded view. Yet again the use of pejoratives and a misunderstanding of history in this HYS, only inflames passions rather than adds to a reasoned debate.
    Yes, the Roman state was a slave state, but many slaves are recorded as becoming persons of substance. Yes, the Vikings did raid coastal communities in search of booty, but they later became settlers, as did the Saxons, Jutes and Angles before them. They are in our DNA, but probably not as much as we think.
    Drake and Hawkins did start as a slavers but later became privateers after the Spanish attacked their ships.
    Yes, the Barbary corsairs did strike fear in large parts of SW England and Ireland, but that is no justification for suggesting that every one did it and so slavery was ok in those times, it was not.
    Edward Colson and the young Gladstone fall into another category, because slavery was considered an abomination by many at the time, but we must also remember that many people in the UK had no vote, received a short life of penury and that much common land throughout England was enclosed for ‘improvement’.
    Gladstone’s later life was one of redemption and we must allow a person to follow that path, and to judge a person’s life in the round and not just deliver a verdict of hero or villain based on a narrow particularistic view. The same probably applies to Churchill, whose standing rose, fell and rose again in his own lifetime.
    The USA is a deeply troubled nation. The Confederacy for all its martial values and old world civility, treated human beings as being worth less than cattle and in some parts of the former confederacy there are some who still do think in those terms. The ensuing Civil war did not resolve those fault lines in society, in some ways it made them worse.
    Here in the UK our class system and the source of wealth of some in the gentry, would not survive detailed scrutiny, if we scraped off the patina of expensive education and upbringing. But should we do it? Probably not.
    I think we would be better off finding out about the past , coming to a balanced view and then based on that view, try to live together without racism, sexism and class bias. A tall order but what other path is there to a better world.

  20. I’d dismiss this bit of trolling as a low-effort method to gee up Honest Craig’s swivel-eyed base of xenophobic cranks rather than any kind of serious suggestion for Ramsgate. But then I remember he’s still maintaining that Manston Airport has a chance of successfully reopening as a cargo hub creating almost 10,000 “local” jobs.

    I think we may have to consider the possibility that Craig might not be the visionary so many South Thanet voters took him for.

  21. Sadly a high proportion of public statuary in Britain is of low aesthetic quality . No Thanet town or anywhere else deserves becoming an open air dumping ground for representations of people from the past who have no or no significant connection with the Isle. If statues that need to be removed are of historical importance they should be assigned to museums which are relevant to the subjects. However one should bear in mind that many museums are already overstocked with objects which will never be used for educational purposes or display. Everything costs money [ mostly public money] even to keep in storage

  22. I think there is a Michael Jackson statue in Fulham, that Craig could bring. Must be some Jimmy Saville ones dotted about too.

    Get some Rolf Harris art, then we have the holy trinity.

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