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Saturday, January 05, 2008

John Batchelor

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The statue of John Batchelor (1820-83), 'The Friend of Freedom', stands in The Hayes, Cardiff. It was created by the sculptor James Milo Griffith and unveiled on 16 October 1886.
John Batchelor was born in Newport but moved to Cardiff during the 1840s where he established a business as a timber merchant in West Bute Dock. He played an active role in the public and political life of Cardiff, serving as Liberal councillor and mayor of Cardiff for a period. In 1869 he was elected President of the Cardiff Liberal Association. He also involved in the religious and educational life of Cardiff. During this period, Batchelor found himself in conflict with the powerful Bute family (supporters of the Tory party), and was a constant thorn in their side. Indeed, many of his supporters believed that the collapse of his shipbuilding business was as the result of a conspiracy by the Bute estate. Following his death in 1883, a subscription fund was opened to establish a memorial in his honour. However, the statue evoked strong emotions in Cardiff and the 'Western Mail' newspaper, a staunch supporter of the Bute family, printed a mock epitaph written by his political rivals. A petition was also drawn up, signed by 1200 people, calling for the removal of the statue.
Gathering the Jewels ref: GTJ73140

6 comments:

  1. How very interesting. And how sad not much different than what goes on today in the political arena.

    I love statues and this is a very nice one.

    Hope your New Year is going well!

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  2. That was indeed very interesting Dave - something akin to a prophet never being accepted in his own land. Although I like the statue and its meaning very much I must also admit the beauty of the building behind took my breath away upon enlarging the photo.

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  3. But the petition wasn't accepted, I see. Or perhaps it was and the statue was re-erected.

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  4. The statue really captures his strong personality. I agree with Janice, the building behind it is quite beautiful! I notice there is a store called TK Maxx. We have one here called TJ Maxx. I wonder if they are related. Happy New Year!

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  5. Thank you Dave, for the get-well wish. I am feeling better now and that old smile is back on my face.

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Thanks for your comments. Whenever possible I will always reply. Dave