Objections have been raised against plans for a statue of two real-life female ‘Pirates Of The Caribbean’ overs fears it would glamorise the ‘violent criminals who contributed nothing to the local heritage’.
Plans have been unveiled for an art installation on Burgh Island which represents two of Britain’s forgotten pirates, Anne Bonny and Mary Read.
The pair were among the most notorious pirates as they wreaked havoc throughout the Caribbean during the golden age of piracy in the early 1700s.
Some historians have claimed the two became lesbian lovers while others suggest they formed a three-way relationship with Anne’s husband, the English pirate captain Jack Rackham – more commonly known as Calico Jack.
Subject to planning permission being granted by South Hams District Council, the sculpture will measure approximately 2.4m high and will sit on plinths that are 50x30cm and 25x30cm, respectively.
But some locals have registered their outrage over the proposals, questioning the lack of local link to the island and why a monument to ‘two criminals guilty of cruelty and thievery’ should be installed, and Bigbury parish council, when they met to discuss the scheme, voted to object to it.
Michele Knight-Waite in her objection said: “Burgh Island is an iconic beautiful natural space. I love walking and looking at it and imagining its history. I am also a big fan of the tale of these two legendary pirates. However, I feel that this statue will detract from the historic site. It brings nothing of value and indeed takes away the original historic view of the island. I strongly object as I feel it will impact the environment. It is totally inappropriate.
“On top of that, the statue itself does not depict the energy of the two female pirates in any way, who dressed as men and were powerful sailors. The statue seems to be a very patriarchal view of two skinny women with holes cut out, I really don’t get it. How is this in the spirit of the actual women? It will be a blot on the landscape.”
John Elliott said: “It would be entirely inappropriate to install this statue on the Burgh Island Rocks, especially as it is planned in a position visible from the Beach, Car Parks and local homes.
“To install this monument to two criminals guilty of cruelty and thievery at a time when folk who actually did good things for the nation are being questioned for links, and sadly activity relating to slavery is ludicrous.”
Jan Davies said: “I’m a supporter of increasing the number of statues/art works of women but if anyone should be celebrated in this area it’s the generations of hard-working fishing and farming families rather than a couple of violent criminals who contributed nothing to the local heritage.”
Gilbert Snook added: “I have to say I am astonished that such a proposal has got this far when statues of people who have done good in the country but at the time benefited from the system of slavering are being removed.
“I’m sorry but pirates were not like Robin Hood or the Pirates of the Caribbean films. They were brutal, cruel and destructive.”
But island owner Giles Fuchs said he thought the 8.2ft tall statue on the island’s rocky shoreline, was a ‘brilliant idea’, while Annika Connelly said: “I think this is an exciting and interesting potential addition to the landscape of Burgh island. It’s a beautiful piece of art, with historical influences, and where it’s planned to be situated will add to the romance and beauty of Burgh Island – a landmark I view all day every day from my home.”
Victoria Last added: “The proposed sculpture would be a stunning addition to the island. It would have minimal impact, if any, on the ecology of the area and be very in keeping with the ethos of the hotel.
As of Tuesday morning, three of the 16 comments had been in favour of the application, with the other 13 objecting.
The sculpture has been created by artist Amanda Cotton and is inspired by new original drama, ‘Hell Cats’, which is available from Audible, with the concept for the sculpture which will provide permanent homage to “two of history’s greatest swashbucklers”, with a statue that honours their boundary pushing, gender defying lives.”
The statue has been unveiled at Execution Docks, London, famous for its pirate history, and if planners grant permission, it will make its journey to its intended home on the shores of Burgh Island, of which the application says is a ‘fitting location on the basis of the island’s heritage and its historic links to pirates and smugglers’.
The works would be implemented in a short timeframe and the site is located on land within the ownership of Burgh Island Limited. The installation will be placed on exposed rock on a natural level platform that is accessible from the grounds of the Hotel.
Calling for the application to be approved, a statement with the application says: “Having reviewed the policy content of both the Local Plan and Neighbourhood Plan, we believe there are strong grounds on which this art installation can be supported on this site.
“The justification can be supported and recognised as compliant with the spirit of the Neighbourhood Plan which supports development on Burgh Island where that development can be said to help preserve and enhance the function of the island as a tourist attraction and add to the Island’s value as an important area of open green space.”
South Hams District Council planners will determine the fate of the application at a later date.