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STATUE TO HONOUR NELSON'S MISTRESS.

Byline: Neil Elkes

BIRMINGHAM has the chance to right a historic wrong to one of England's greatest heroes when a new statue is designed for the Bullring, it is claimed.

With pounds 100,000 being given for a new piece of public art in St Martin's Square, a campaign is growing to build a statue of Lady Emma Hamilton to stand facing in the direction of the statue of her famous lover Horatio Nelson.

Lord Nelson and Hamilton were arguably the Posh and Becks of their day with their every move and Lady Hamilton's fashion, commented on in the society press during the height of their fame.

On his deathbed at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, Nelson asked that the people of Great Britain look after his mistress.

But unable to inherit from him, she ended up in the debtor's prison at Newgate before fleeing to France where she died in 1815.

Coun Peter Douglas Osborn, history buff and chairman of the council's planning committee, said: "It is to this country's shame that we did not look after Lady Hamilton.

"Lord Nelson, one of our greatest heroes, bequeathed her to the nation on his deathbed.

''But she ended up in a debtor's prison. ''Now we have the chance to put that right.

''She could be placed looking up at her lover."

He said that Birmingham has strong ties to Nelson, through the couple's popular visit to the city in 1802, and as the first British city to put up a statue in his honour, in 1809.

The Tory councillor aims to persuade his colleagues and members of Birmingham's Conservation and Heritage Panel that a Lady Hamilton statue would be a fitting tribute.

City leader Mike Whitby has already given his informal support to the proposal.

The pounds 100,000 has been handed to the council by the Bullring as spin off cash from the development of three new restaurants in St Martin's Square. It is to pay for a piece of public art to replace the acclaimed Spiral Cafe which is being removed for the development. The Nelson statue was given pride of place on the balcony overlooking St Martin's Church after the Bullring was rebuilt in 2003.

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Lord Nelson. Below, the happy couple.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Jan 4, 2011
Words:377
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