The Buxton Memorial

Lord Norton

Picture: Jacqueline Banerjee

I have a number of prints of the Palace of Westminster from the period shortly after it was built.  They show that housing occupied the land between the Palace and Lambeth Bridge.  Since then, the buildings have been demolished and replaced by Victoria Tower Gardens.  As regular readers will know from an earlier post, it is one of my favourite spots.  I not only like to walk through the Gardens on the way to the Palace, but also to spend a few minutes sitting there, looking across at Lambeth Palace.  

The Gardens house what is a relatively recent acquisition: the Buxton Memorial.  It comprises a magnificent drinking fountain designed in 1865 in order to mark the emancipation of slaves in the British empire in 1834.  It was commissioned by Charles Buxton MP to mark the work of his father and others, such as Hull MP William Wilberforce, who campaigned for the abolition of slavery.   It used to stand in the north-west corner of Parliament Square, but in 1957 was moved to the Gardens.  It was restored in 2007 to coincide with the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade.  The restoration has been extremely successful and it now stands in its full glory.

4 comments for “The Buxton Memorial

  1. 06/11/2009 at 10:48 pm

    I had not made the connection between your Lordship’s service at the University in Hull and Wilberforce’s representation of the same area. I attended a university (for a year) in Ohio which produced Sherman and Grant of whom you may have heard. My father’s father’s mother’s (whom I knew well and spoke to about her ancestors) father’s father and most of their relatives were slaveholders and he especialy was active in both bringing to severe justice those slaveholders guilty of severe abuses under the Code Noir and organizing a violent political movement in the 1850s which had much to do with the formation of the Confederacy. Just so you know beside Le Grand Derangement, the American Revolution and the historic troubles in earlier centuries (my Anglo ancestors were Catholic, Anglican and Protestant) this is yet another reason why I am a bit fascinated by the relative length, courtesy and apparent honesty of what I dare to call our mutual correspondence here. The monument is quite lovely by the way and so is sincere idealism which few doubt in Wilberforce at least.

    • lordnorton
      06/11/2009 at 11:42 pm

      Frank W. Summers III: Hull has the Wilberforce Museum, which is housed in what was Wilberforce’s home. Next door is the University of Hull’s Centre for the Study of Slavery and Emancipation. For many years, Lord Wilberforce (the distinguished law lord, who was a descendant of Wilberforce) was the University’s Chancellor.

      • franksummers3ba
        07/11/2009 at 12:16 am

        Severin Leblanc has no memorial but his Comites de Vigilance des Attakapas did hire a professional historian who recorded some of his carreer and which has been translated into English. Perhaps the Library at Lords has a copy. I admire him but both his life and the book were crafted in the thick of action and in a zeitgiest your lordship might find alien — The book is titled eponymously for the organization. In English it is “Vigilante Committees of the Attakapas”.

  2. 29/07/2010 at 8:42 pm

    Dear Lord Norton,

    I’m so pleased you found my image of the Buxton Memorial useful for “Lords of the Blog” (a friend has just pointed it out to me). Thank you for crediting me. If it is at all possible now, could you please also credit/link to our website? The URL for the image is, but would be fine.

    We are a very large scholarly resource now archived by the Library of Congress. Although the webmaster is a Prof. at Brown University, I am in Surrey (living very near Buxton’s old estate! That is at

    Best wishes.
    Jacqueline Banerjee
    Associate Editor,

    I hope you find our webste useful again!

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