Clarkson Memorial

The Clarkson Memorial, located in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, England, is a memorial to Thomas Clarkson (1760 ”“ 1846), a central figure in the campaign against the slave trade in the British empire. The memorial consists of statue mounted on a platform. Above this, rises a canopy, reaching into a spire. The whole structure is 68 feet (20.6 m) high. On three of the four sides are carved bas-reliefs, representing other figures involved in the campaign against the slave trade, in order, William Wilberforce, Granville Sharp and a manacled slave in a beseeching attitude. The fourth side features an inscription to the memory of Clarkson.

The Memorial is built on Bridge Street, on the South Brink of the River Nene. The site is the location of the old Customs House (which before that was the Butter Market) built in 1801. In 1856 the Old Bridge was rebuilt, and the Customs House was pulled down to make way for the bridge improvements. In 1880, when work started on the Clarkson Memorial the location was chosen because of its central position. The Clarkson Memorial cost £2035 at the time of its construction, and was paid for primarily by a large donation from the Peckover family. The shortfall was made up by public subscriptions. Work started on 28 October 1880. The statue was unveiled on 11 November 1881. The original design was an adapted version of that by Sir George Gilbert Scott RA, who first put forward his design in 1875.

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