London has more statues of animals than named women, study finds

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There are more statues of animals in London than there are of named women, an audit has found.

The first of its kind audit of public sculptures and monuments in London, conducted by Art UK and part funded by City Hall, found of around 1,500 monuments, only four per cent were dedicated to named women, with only three sculptures of women out of 50 dedicated to women of colour.

The number of sculptures that feature animals, almost 100, is double that of named women.

It comes as Mayor of London Sadiq Khan on Thursday announced a £1 million “Untold Stories” fund to ensure London’s landmarks and monuments better reflect the capital’s diversity.

Grants of up to £25,000 will be given to successful applicants to create murals, street art and other public displays to celebrate diverse figures from London’s history.

Mr Khan said: “London’s diversity is its greatest strength but for far too long our capital’s statues, street names and buildings have only shown a limited perspective on our city’s complex history.

“I’m determined to do everything I can to ensure our public realm presents a more complete picture of everyone who has made London the incredible city it is today.

“That’s why I’ve launched a £1million fund to help the diverse communities who know our city best lead the way in celebrating our capital’s Untold Stories.”

The funding is the first work by his “statue commission”.

The Commission for Diversity in the Public Realm was announced last year after the toppling of a statue of slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol sparked a national debate about how Britain’s history is remembered.

The Mayor of London has stressed the commission will not be presiding over the removal of statues and that its aim is to “enrich and add to the current public realm” to celebrate London’s diverse history.

It may, however, lead to “new ideas” being considered for some of the capital’s street names.

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