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Tower Hamlets exploring statue of Joseph Merrick

Tower Hamlet’s mayor John Biggs has tasked his officials to explore taking forward Whitechapel residents’ proposal for a statue of Joseph Merrick.

Responding to a letter from residents of Durward Street, where the proposed statue will be situated, the mayor said:

"The public realm works on Durward Street have begun and whilst they currently do not involve any proposals for a statue I understand there is sufficient space for a statue and I can ask colleagues in the Liveable Streets and the Public Realm Team whether that idea might be taken forward. Further public consultation I envisage would be required to canvass a wide range of opinion on the idea and hopefully to establish if there is a potential consensus as to whether a statue to Joseph Merrick would be fitting and appropriate in this location"

John Biggs

Whitechapel residents call for statue and garden for Joseph Merrick.

Members of the West Durward Street Tenants and Residents Association voted to propose a statue of Joseph Merrick be placed in the centre of a new community garden on Durward Street.

 The new space, ‘Joseph’s Garden’ will be created in the space currently occupied by Whitechapel temporary underground station / Crossrail and a newly pedestrianised western section of Durward Street.
 
WDSTRA members suggested that the quote Joseph Merrick is famously associated with could be incorporated into an additional piece of public art within the garden or on the Fulbourne Street bridge

If I could reach from pole to pole or grasp the ocean with a span,
I would be measured by the soul, The mind’s the standard of the Man.

The statue will be located in sight of both the Royal London Hospital where Joseph Merrick lived his last years and the shop where he was first put on show when brought to London.