Boris Snubs War Hero

By Matt_Crossick Last edited 120 months ago
Boris Snubs War Hero

At least, that's what our 'Daily Mail headline-ometer' tells us. In fact, Boris has backed down on a promise to install a permanent statue of Battle of Britain hero Sir Keith Park on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square.

The City's most controversial plinth (does it have any rivals?) has been a thorny issue since 1841, when plans to erect a statue of William IV ran out of funds. The bickering over what to put there instead lasted an impressive 158 years, until the Royal Society of Arts stepped in and started the Fourth Plinth Project in 1999.

The temporary contemporary sculptures that have filled the plinth since then have done nothing to ease the controversy: some say 'vibrant contemporary art in the heart of London'; Boris says 'There should be a war hero there'.

At least, he did when he backed the campaign to install a permanent statue of Sir Keith Park there before his election. This week, however, he conceded that the Fourth Plinth Project would continue for the foreseeable future – though a temporary statue of the Battle of Britain hero could grace the plinth in 2010.

Boris's grumpy quote (Planning issues? Eh?) suggests 'my hands are tied' rather than 'I'm awake to London's rich contemporary art scene', but Londonist salutes the retaining of the plinth for exciting new sculpture – and hopes that Sir Keith can be commemorated in suitable style elsewhere in the capital soon.

Photo courtesy of Rutty's Photostream under the Creative Commons license.

Last Updated 04 June 2008


Boris backtracking over another pre-election pledge? Who'd a thunk it.


Fear not - I'm sure this is a tactical retreat from Boris in the face of perfidious planners. This case surely highlights the need for the mayor to be given dictatorial planning powers in order to pull down the wrong statues and put up the right ones. Soon the city will be graced with images of retired colonels, dead baronesses and other people who have died in the correct place - the Daily Telegraph obituary page.


He's tipped his hand, he's waiting for Maggie to die.