Descendants of an abolitionist honoured with a fountain in Victoria Tower Gardens have written to the government opposing plans for a Holocaust memorial to stand beside Parliament.
Some 19 descendants of the MP Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton, who led anti-slavery legislation in 1833, laid out their concerns to the government about the Shoah memorial and museum.
Descendants of Buxton also put their names to a letter to the Telegraph last month, deploring the “design, scale and location of the memorial”, saying it would “destroy the peace of the park and the special symbolism of its existing statuary.”
Dr John Fannon, treasurer of the Thomas Fowell Buxton Society, also opposes the Holocaust memorial and learning centre.
He told Jewish News on Monday: “My personal reasons is that Victoria Tower Gardens is a nice green space in London, and it’s rather unique. It also houses the Buxton anti-slavery monument, which is quite a large structure.
“The proposals would actually hide that monument. This is is not antisemitic in any way. If the proposal was for a memorial of that size, like the Buxton memorial, it would be fine.”
In response to concerns, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government confirmed the Holocaust memorial would be no higher than the top of Buxton fountain.
“I understand your concerns about the impact on the Gardens’ other statuary, particularly the Buxton Memorial which honours your ancestor’s historic achievement,” the ministry told descendants last week.
“However, the design of the Holocaust Memorial has been developed in response to the brief that the Buxton Memorial will be kept in its current position with the views of it preserved, and with the addition of new landscaping and seating to improve the setting, viewing experience and accessibility.”
The monument honouring Buxton moved to Victoria Tower Gardens in 1957 after it was installed on the edge of Parliament Square in 1865.