Commemorating Picton in Wales and Trinidad: Colonial legacies and the production of memorial publics

Gareth Hoskins*, Leighton James

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article develops a dual analysis of commemoration in Wales and Trinidad that extends outwards from a monument in the Welsh town of Carmarthen to Lieutenant General Sir Thomas Picton, the most senior officer to die at the battle of Waterloo and an aggressive imperialist who has since been accused of committing crimes against humanity in the name of the British Empire. Using torture and public executions to control the enslaved population of Trinidad during his term as military Governor of Trinidad between 1797 and 1803, Picton accumulated great personal wealth through ownership of slaves and plantations. The article seeks to extend emerging scholarly analysis of commemorative activism and, specifically, the application of memorial publics to a contemporary Caribbean context. Archival research on the history of the Picton monument from regional archives in Carmarthen and national archive collections in Aberystwyth is connected to data from contemporary interviews with activists and public officials in Wales and Trinidad and Tobago as well as detail from public surveys, audits, and policy reviews concerning commemoration in the public realm. Despite wavering public support since its first iteration in 1828, Carmarthen's Picton monument has endured to become an important social arena for reckoning with British colonial violence as demands for its removal in Wales has helped initiate Picton-related decolonising efforts in Trinidad and Tobago producing memorial publics that are variously confined and extended.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)68-79
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Historical Geography
Early online date24 Dec 2023
Publication statusPublished - 01 Mar 2024


  • Commemorative activism
  • Decolonising
  • Memorial publics
  • Monument Thomas Picton
  • Trinidad
  • Wales


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