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VOX POP: Should Nelson’s Column be torn down?

PUBLISHED: 22:51 23 August 2017 | UPDATED: 22:51 23 August 2017

We asked people leaving the Nelson and Norfolk exhibition at Norwich Castle what they thought of the suggestion of taking down Nelson's Column. Images: Stuart Anderson

We asked people leaving the Nelson and Norfolk exhibition at Norwich Castle what they thought of the suggestion of taking down Nelson's Column. Images: Stuart Anderson

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Writer Afua Hirsch caused a furore this week when she called for Nelson’s Column to be torn down.

Ms Hirsch’s piece in The Guardian said Lord Nelson was a white supremacist who defended slavery, and preserving the column in its place at Trafalgar Square sent the wrong message.

It comes in the wake of a number of statues of Confederate leaders being removed in towns and cities in the US.

Norwich Castle is currently hosting an exhibition about the famous admiral called Nelson and Norfolk.

We asked people leaving the exhibition what they thought about the call to remove Nelson’s Column.

Sabina Nurnburg. Picture: Stuart Anderson Sabina Nurnburg. Picture: Stuart Anderson

“I have to confess I didn’t know too much about Nelson’s past to start screaming for them to take the column down.

We are living in divisive times and pulling down the statue wouldn’t help the matter. Maybe people should go out and find out more about him.” - Richard Catton, 45, York

“I think it’s appropriate to do something to commemorate him, but I’m not too worried about Trafalgar Square because times have moved on. But it is iconic. If he was for slavery then I’m not too bothered about Nelson’s Column, but nobody is perfect. I think it’s better to learn about history than to destroy it.” - Natalya Wilson, 42, Teeside

MORE: Should ‘white supremacist’ Lord Nelson’s Trafalgar Square column be pulled down?

“It was a different time with different values and beliefs. It shouldn’t be taken down. We cannot evaluate the past from what we see today. He did something for his country, and Trafalgar Square is well known with the figure there. The people who wrote America’s Declaration of Independence also had slaves.” - Sabina Nurnburg, 65, Genthin, Germany

Richard Catton. Picture: Stuart Anderson Richard Catton. Picture: Stuart Anderson

“I think in Nelson’s day racism was far more common. Modern racism is a different concept. I don’t think it’s accurate to call him a white supremacist in this day. Values were different then.” - Bob Smith, 70 Harwich

“Nelson’s Column was put up to commemorate the Battle of Trafalgar, and he defended the country against invasion. Perhaps his other dubious activities should be put to one side, but it’s a tricky one.

“But this was the first I’ve heard of it, and it did make me think I ought to know a bit more about Nelson.” - Matthew Hills, central Norwich

“I think it has opened up a lot of questions. When something causes offence it should be looked at, and you have got to stop and think. It’s worth debating.” - Sue Lawrence, central Norwich

Natalya Wilson. Picture: Stuart Anderson Natalya Wilson. Picture: Stuart Anderson

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