Historic Blackboy clock dubbed 'offensive racist relic' set to be torn down by council

A public opinion survey concluded it caused “pain and offence” and 77 percent of people said it should be removed

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A council is set to tear down the 250-year-old Cotswolds Blackboy clock after it was dubbed an "offensive racist relic".

The clock, which features a statue of a black child in a skirt, sits on the side of a Grade II listed building named Blackboy House in Stroud, Gloucestershire.

Stroud District Council said they would review the names of buildings, statues and streets following the toppling of the Edward Colston statue during a Black Lives Matter protest in Bristol.

The clock removal comes despite Sionhan Baillie, local MP for Stroud, the Valleys and the Vale, stating her opposition saying the move “will not end the scourge of racism”.

The Blackboy clock on the Blackboy House in Stroud, Gloucestershire.
The Blackboy clock on the Blackboy House in Stroud, Gloucestershire.
Protesters throwing the statue of Edward Colston into Bristol harbour during a Black Lives Matter protest rally
Protesters throwing the statue of Edward Colston into Bristol harbour during a Black Lives Matter protest rally

She added: “I am also concerned that a certain minority of people with loud voices have an unquenchable desire to be constantly finding things to be outraged at.”

It is expected the excision will cost the council up to £35,000 and may also need approval from the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

The council made the decision after conducting a public opinion survey that concluded it caused “pain and offence”.

Of the 1,600 respondents, 77 percent said it should be taken down.

A spokesperson for the council added: 'Recommendations under consideration could start a process leading to the removal of the Blackboy clock and statue from its current location in Stroud, following concerns raised by residents in the wake of the Black Lives Matters protests of 2020.

"The day after the Edward Colston statue was toppled into Bristol Harbour on June 7, 2020, all four Stroud District Council political group leaders issued a joint statement reaffirming the council’s commitment to promoting equality and tackling discrimination, then actions were outlined including consulting on any street and building names, statues and architectural features that may be considered offensive."

Doina Cornell, leader of Stroud District Council, said: “This review was undertaken in response to the rightful challenge posed to us all by the Black Lives Matter movement and by local residents, to tackle systemic racism, and is part of a wider piece of work that the council has undertaken.

"I'm grateful to the panel for all the work they've put into this and how they have ensured that their recommendations reflect our community's views as to what next steps are needed.”

The group said: “The fact that we need a public discussion to decide whether Stroud should depict an enslaved black person in a public place in our town is a powerful reminder of the racism which is built into the fabric of our community and the work we still need to do to make our town the welcoming and tolerant place we claim that it is.

"As a predominantly white community, we have a responsibility to recognise and understand the dehumanisation and abuse of Black and Brown people which this statue represents.

"I believe that most Stroud residents agree that those values have no place in our community.

"The statue should be removed and used as an educational tool."