Friday, 22 February 2013


Grantham not sure it wants Baroness Thatcher statue

She is Grantham’s most famous daughter, but when a statue of Baroness Thatcher was offered to the local museum, it was considered by some to be a dubious honour.

The £150,000 white marble work was famously decapitated by a protester in 2002 but has since been restored.
Not everyone in her home town is sure they want to honour Britain’s first female prime minister, however, and Grantham Museum is yet to welcome the statue with open arms.
Jayne Robb, the manager of the volunteer-run museum, said: "It does need to go somewhere, but how the town responds to the life of Margaret Thatcher has to be a town decision.
"It is exceedingly heavy at two tonnes in weight and eight feet tall."
One Labour councillor went further, suggesting that displaying a monument to Lady Thatcher in a prominent place could actually be "asking for trouble" and invite further attacks.
Paul Kelleher, of Isleworth, west London, was found guilty of criminal damage after he attacked the statue with a cricket bat and decapitated it with a metal bar.
He claimed the attack was a protest against the ills of the world's political system and was jailed for three months.
The restored statue was later put behind a glass case at a cost of £3,000 but was later put in storage at the House of Commons.
Labour councillor Charmaine Morgan said some of the former Tory premier’s policies remained controversial.
"Placing it anywhere in a prominent, public place in Grantham it could be open to a similar event occurring," Ms Morgan said.
"I think if it is to go into a prominent place it is asking for trouble."
Despite calls from successive mayors to erect a statue in honour of Baroness Thatcher - including one site on a town centre roundabout - her legacy seems to be so divisive that Grantham has never put up a permanent memorial to her.
The white marble statue was unveiled by the former prime minister in 2002, but attacked with a metal pole at Guildhall Art Gallery by a theatre producer later that year.
The volunteer museum, which already features a Spitting Image puppet of Lady Thatcher and one of her trademark blue suit, said a decision had not yet been made about the offer.
Mrs Robb added: "The white marble poses problems. If we put it into a public place, we'd be painting it every day.”
Its white surfaces, she suggested, could prove to be an open invitation to vandals.
Grantham has no tourist attractions dedicated solely to Lady Thatcher, but that does not stop visitors from around the world coming to see where she grew up.
The grocer's daughter, who went on to be prime minister from 1979 until
1990, was born in Grantham and went to Kesteven and Grantham Girls' School.
She was the longest serving prime minister for more than 150 years.
At the former grocery shop and post office where Margaret Hilda Roberts grew up, there is nothing more than a small plaque to mark its connection with the future Baroness Thatcher.

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