Have you ever heard of Sir Simon Milton? He was a Tory politician, the deputy mayor of London for three years in the noughties, Boris Johnson’s chief of staff, and led Westminster Council from 2000 to 2008. And there are more statues of him in London than of Winston Churchill.
Milton died of leukaemia in 2011 aged just 49. His partner, former mayor of Westminster Robert Davis, has something of an influence over statues and plaques and decided to have not one, not two, but seven memorials to his late partner put up over London. As romantic as this probably is, people are really wondering why.
Nathaniel Tapley shared his confusion, aggressively tweeting: ‘Dear statue-f*ckers. There’s a huge statue of this guy in the middle of central London. What were his achievements? He was deputy mayor for three years in the early 2000s. Might there be better ways to learn history?’
Sir Simon’s only rival in terms of monumental numerousness is Queen Victoria, who has ten statues in the capital. But she reigned over the UK (and most of the rest of the world) for 63 years. Big Si’s got four more monuments than Winston Churchill, and is the capital’s most memorialised man of the twenty-first century.
You can find the first statue of the former deputy mayor by Paddington Basin, where he sits cast in bronze, beckoning you to come and join him. Second is a bust on the corner of Piccadilly and Eagle Place, which is thought to be the only London sculpture showing a twenty-first-century building – City Hall.
Then there’s the rather large sculpture in a luxury apartment block between Tower Bridge and City Hall. Milton has been forever memorialised sitting on a park bench on a fat slab of polished granite proudly bearing his name. Other commemorations include a bust in the Westminster City Hall foyer, a fountain named after the fellow outside the Connaught Hotel, a memorial garden, and even a square.
This moving yet bizarre gesture has left us wondering, where will Sir Simon pop up next? A market? A tube station? A pod on the London Eye? We’re quite into the idea of a Sir Simon Milton Memorial Aberdeen Angus Steakhouse.