Wandsworth agrees funding for statue of London’s first black mayor, John Archer

By Sian Bayley, Local Democracy Reporter

Wandsworth council has unanimously approved funding for a new statue of John Archer, past Mayor of Battersea, and London’s first black Mayor.

The council hopes to establish a charitable entity to help with fundraising and oversight of the project, and will agree to pledge £10,000 as seed funding.

The statue will be placed in Battersea in a “high-profile location” with “substantial footfall”.

Initial ideas include adjacent to the Battersea Arts Centre or in Battersea Park.

The council hopes to use an artist “of national significance and ideally someone of an Afro-Caribbean or African heritage,” and will create education programmes about the life and works of John Archer through the borough’s libraries and schools.

It is hoped the statue will be erected in 2022.

Speaking at Thursday’s finance, resources and climate sustainability overview and scrutiny committee, Labour councillor Simon Hogg said John Archer was “a hero in Battersea’s radical history and I think it will be fantastic to remember him with a statue”.

He added: “Let’s honour his legacy with more than just a statue, a century on we still need action so we can all enjoy good healthcare, quality of education, equal access to justice, so the statue will be an excellent statement but Battersea remains a divided community.”

He stressed: “Symbolism is important, but local people will continue to judge the council on its actions.”

Pictured above: John Archer, London’s first black mayor



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