Peter Paul Catterall, Professor of History and Policy, spoke on BBC Radio London about the need for historical contexts to be examined through the prism of 21st century values, referring to the City of London Corporation’s recent plans to erect a tea trade monument. 

Speaking about the proposal for a tea trade statue, which sparked criticism for celebrating ‘colonialism’, Professor Catterall said: “There was a real problem there not least because the statue of Cecil Rhodes at the University of Cape Town was taken down a couple of years ago.

“There’s nothing new about issues of ‘Is this statue still fit for purpose?’ as there are statues that have been not down since Cromwell’s time, but this is slightly different because this is a new statue, which therefore needs to be speaking to how people see the tea trade in the 21st century.”

Professor Catterall added: “What also, however, is a problem is how it is interpreted within society. I’ve been looking at the pictures – it’s got some text on the side but it’s not clear what that text actually says.”

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