North East Wales

HM Stanley statue unveiled in his home town of Denbigh

A bronze statue of controversial Victorian explorer HM Stanley has been unveiled in his Denbighshire home town.

Critics have opposed honouring the African explorer saying he was guilty of crimes against humanity.

But people celebrating the statue's unveiling outside Denbigh library called the claims unfair.

They included representatives from the Congo-Wales Friendship Circle, who said Stanley is still revered in their country.

The sculpture shows the moment Henry Morton Stanley uttered the phrase by which he is best remembered - "Dr Livingstone, I presume?" - when he found the explorer in east Africa in 1871.

"We are talking about somebody who achieved fame as the greatest of all African explorers in the greatest age of African exploration," said Tim Jeal, Stanley's biographer.

He officially unveiled the £31,000 statue, which was sculpted Nick Elphick from Llandudno.

Mr Jeal said: "He came from this small town and I was emotional to think that at last there is a statue of a very great man here."

More than 50 prominent figures signed a public letter opposing the statue.

They were collected by Bangor University lecturer Selwyn Williams and published in a letter in a national newspaper.

Mr Williams said: "The quality and range of signatories completely quashes any academic or historical case for the controversial statue."

The statue was commissioned by the HM Stanley Commemorative Group with funding from regeneration agency Cadwyn Clwyd as well as Denbigh Town Council and Denbighshire council.

Denbighshire council said it appreciated different views, but it had circulated a questionnaire during a consultation which it said received an "extremely positive response".

It added: "The results confirmed that the local residents wanted to see a commemoration to HM Stanley in both Denbigh and St Asaph."

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