Council accused of allowing people to ‘disrespect’ plaque to Captain James Cook

PUBLISHED: 16:04 20 February 2018 | UPDATED: 17:41 20 February 2018

Graffiti covers the wall surrounding the memorial in Mile End Road. Picture: Peter Golds

Graffiti covers the wall surrounding the memorial in Mile End Road. Picture: Peter Golds


The council has been slammed after a wall with a plaque dedicated to one of the ‘greatest ever Brits’ was left covered with graffiti and rubbish dumped nearby..

Captain James Cook died at the age of 50 in 1779. Picture: National Maritime MuseumCaptain James Cook died at the age of 50 in 1779. Picture: National Maritime Museum

Councillor Peter Golds said the town hall is allowing people to disrespect the memorial in honour of explorer Captain James Cook in Mile End Road.

The Conservative politician for Island Gardens ward told the Advertiser the wall surrounding the plaque is graffiti-covered, with so much rubbish piled up against it at times that the plaque is almost entirely concealed.

He said: “How and why can Tower Hamlets allow the neglect of a memorial to one of this nation’s greatest figures?

“If this vandalism had been in Kensington or Fulham, people would be appalled.

Cllr Peter Golds is a Conservative councillor in Tower Hamlets. Picture: ArchantCllr Peter Golds is a Conservative councillor in Tower Hamlets. Picture: Archant

“It wouldn’t take much for the council to clean it, and I think if they did, people would take more notice of it.”

Born in Middlesborough in 1728, Captain Cook, whose achievements includes mapping the Pacific, New Zealand and Australia, spent most of his adult life in east London.

He lived in Wapping before moving to Mile End.

The plaque was unveiled in 1970 to commemorate 200 years since he reached the east coast of Australia and he was voted twelfth in a BBC poll of the greatest ever Brits.

Cllr Golds added: “Throughout the world there are memorials to James Cook.

“Elsewhere in Europe, such a memorial would be the site of a museum – coach parties would be pulling over to visit.”

A spokesman for Tower Hamlets Council said: “As soon as they were alerted to the reports of discarded rubbish and graffiti in the vicinity of the plaque, our clean team responded to carry out a site visit.

“The street and pavement was found to be clear of rubbish. It is located on a route that is usually cleared three times a day.

“There is some graffiti on the wall underneath and beside the memorial plaque which is disappointing to see. However, while the wall faces onto the public highway, it is privately owned. As such, the council cannot carry out potentially abrasive procedures such as graffiti removal without the consent of the owner.

“We are committed to keeping Tower Hamlets clean and tidy for the benefit of all those who live and work here and we will be contacting the person responsible for the wall to try to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.”

Latest East London News Stories


Letters, contributions and comments sent in to the Advertiser this week.

Yesterday, 14:00

We talk to hundreds of local business owners every day; we hear their concerns, understand their challenges and share in their successes.

In August Ofsted inspected Tower Hamlets Children’s Services to check for progress since the disastrous April 2017 report that condemned Children’s Services as ’inadequate’.

Fri, 19:00

Seven youth projects in Tower Hamlets have been given a cash boost today from the London Mayor.

Fri, 18:18

Tower Hamlets Council has unanimously agreed to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition of antisemitism.

Fri, 15:53

Mayor of Tower Hamlets, John Biggs, was joined by charity bosses, police officers and community groups at a violent crime summit today.

Fri, 13:48

A coach driver has been jailed for 15 months for causing the death of a cyclist in Whitechapel.

Fri, 11:59

Neighbours have lost their battle to stop a developer demolishing part of a Grade II-listed hospital.


Are you a landlord looking for a fixed rental income, paid whether the property is empty or not? Steve Westley, general manager at estate agents Elliot Leigh, explains their Guaranteed Rent Scheme and how it takes the stress out of letting your property.

Newsletter Sign Up

East London Advertiser twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read news

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Docklands and East London Advertiser
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now