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Books furnish a room, but statues furnish a city. What would London be without Eros, Nelson or (for my money) Boadicea galloping to confront the Roman invaders, at the northern end of Westminster bridge? If Euro-sceptics need a second patroness apart from Lady Thatcher, here she is.

I always find pleasure in statues, when I walk around a city. Richard Oastler, for example, stands doggedly in central Bradford, covered in pigeon muck, hoping against hope that pupils pursuing the national curriculum will remember his part in getting child labour abolished in the textile mills. Oastler (1789-1861) was a Tory radical,…

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