Cumberland Lodge


Statues, Memorials and Controversy

Cumberland Lodge 2020 -4x3
Bristol, 7 June 2020 (Keir Gravil via Reuters)

Every year, the International History Department holds an event at Cumberland Lodge, a country house and conference centre in Great Windsor Park.  Students and faculty meet to socialise and to explore a theme of historical and contemporary interest.

In 2020/21 we were unable to go to Cumberland Lodge to hold the event in person.  But we replicated as far as possible its content and spirit in a shortened online event.

The theme for 2020 was Statues, Memorials and Controversy, tapping into the themes of recent protests as well as long-lived historical controversies about the politics and culture of memorialisation. Who do we choose to commemorate with statues and memorials?  What does this say about us as a society?  Should we remove or alter memorials as social attitudes change and historical events are reinterpreted?  Or does such intervention hide inconvenient and unsavoury aspects of our past from public display? This year’s event explored these and other questions.

Several faculty members offered brief mini-talks detailed below which addressed these issues in a variety of contexts from the eighteenth century to the present. There were opportunities to ask questions, and to meet faculty and other students via zoom’s breakout rooms function.

The event was held on Saturday 31 October at 11am until 1pm.  It was open to all students in the International History Department.

Register to attend


Dr Tom Ellis on Lenin statues in the former USSR

Dr Tim Hochstrasser on William Beckford and the soft power of the slave trade

Dr Joanna Lewis on the 2020 Henry Morton Stanley statue controversy

Professor Piers Ludlow on the legacy of Leopold II of Belgium

Dr Victoria Phillips on architecture and propaganda in Cold War Berlin

Dr Oscar Webber on memorials of the Morant Bay rebellion in Jamaica    

The event was chaired by Dr Paul Stock.

Previous themes

Student reviews

"Overall it was a very well organised and perfect event."

Yener (2018-19)
PhD International History

"I had a great time meeting some lovely people from the department over the weekend and I was grateful for the opportunity to get some fresh air! The lodge itself had a great deal of charm, and the lectures were conducive to some very interesting conversations. The food was pretty good too!"

Harry (2018-19)
MSc Theory and History of International Relations  

"The Cumberland Lodge weekend has been one of the highlights of my time at LSE so far. The Lodge itself was like a palace, and, with its rich past and royal connections, was the perfect place to learn about the histories of freedom and subjugation. I really enjoyed the diversity of topics that were covered, from gulags in Siberia and human rights in Iran, to Communism in Poland and the four freedoms of post-World War II America. These all opened my eyes to completely different parts of history that I’d never considered before, and it was great to be introduced to some of the current research that members of staff are doing. The best part of the weekend, however, was getting to know other historians, whether that was through exploring the beautiful grounds and park together or just chilling in the bar of an evening. There was a real community atmosphere the entire weekend, and I’ve gained so many friends because of it. The weekend was such a brilliant experience – I learned a lot, met some great people, and loved it so much that I would thoroughly recommend everyone to take advantage of it."

Scott Gibson (2015-2016)
MSc Empires, Colonialism and Globalisation