Joseph Sturge

Peace memorial rededicated

On 24 March a ceremony was held in Birmingham to mark the refurbishment and rededication of a statue of Joseph Sturge (1793-1859). Sturge was a radical Quaker who devoted his energies to three major causes: the total abolition of slavery, the extension of the vote to all men, and the furtherance of peace. He was a founder member of both a local Anti-Slavery Society and what is now Anti-Slavery International; he founded the Complete Suffrage Union; and he was not only President of the Peace Society but also was a member of a delegation to intercede with the Tsar of Russia in an effort to avert the Crimean War. Although the timing of the ceremony was chosen to mark the bi-centenary of legislation to abolish the slave trade, the statue’s supporting figure of Peace with dove and olive branch, as well as the speeches, made clear his labour “to bring the promise of peace to a war-torn world”, as the inscription puts it.