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22nd June 2005General Gordon's statue
By Coll
After replying to a previous topic about Gordon, I decided to glance around the internet for a bit more information.

I realised how little I knew about him, when I found out that his statue was brought to England from Khartoum, located now on the Thames embankment.

Going by the account on the site I discovered, it states that the statue 'appears' to be quite neglected, although pupils from a certain school visit it each year and lay a wreath.

Has anyone visited his statue and could you please give details about it, as seeing it in photographs doesn't really show much of the detail ?


22nd June 2005Martin Everett
Dear Coll,

The statue which was in Khartoum is now located at the Gordorn Boys' School near Woking in Surrey. I passed it about 3 weeks ago.
22nd June 2005Martin Everett
Dear Coll,
I was answering your question from my head - which is still correct. But to give you the full answer:

The bronze of General Charles George Gordon by Sir Hamo Thornycroft you refer to is situtated at Victoria Embankment SW1. Interestingly it was originally erected in Trafalgar Square in 1887 and was moved to its present site in 1953. The Gneral is standing holding a bible and with the cane he habitually carried under one arm.

The statue at the school is of course a mounted (camel) statue - with the cane.

Don't always trust the Internet. Nothing beats local knowledge. Next question?

23rd June 2005Coll

Thankyou very much.

I wasn't aware that there were 2 statues of him, as it was the 1 which has him sitting atop a camel that I recognised.

The site I was looking at must have been describing the statue of General Gordon standing, but showed an image of the other statue which I assumed was the one being described.

I think I will pursue more information about General Gordon because of his friendship with Col. Durnford, as it does seem that he was an extremely interesting individual as well.

Thanks for replying.

23rd June 2005Coll
Further to the above.

Is it known if there were any particular reasons for both of General Gordon's statues to be removed from their original locations and be positioned elsewhere ?

23rd June 2005Bill Cainan

There is a large statue of General Gordon within Brompton Barracks at Chatham. He is mounted on a camel and holding a cane in his right hand. I visited it about five years ago, and I'm assuming (because of its weight !) that it is still there. No doubt one of the Sappers amongst the visitors to this site will be able to confirm .

23rd June 2005John Young

I'm no sapper, but I can confirm that the statue of Gordon is still standing at Brompton Barracks. It is the twin of the one which used to stand in Khartoum, complete with horse tail.

The one Khartoum was removed as it was considered to be an object of colonial oppression by the Sudanese government, after they had blown the General of his plinth there with explosives.

John Y.
24th June 2005Julian whybra
Can I recommend John Pollock's 'Gordon: The Man behind the Legend', Oxford, 1993, ISBN 07459 26983, paperback £8-99.
I'm a bit of a Gordon fan and this is a very readable and authoritative but not overlong biography.
24th June 2005Stephen Coan
Thanks for all the fascinating detail on locations of Gordon statues. But afraid must differ with Julian Whybra on John Pollock's biography of Gordon. I found it a serious disappointment - crossing the border from history to hagiography. Rather try Charles Chenevix-Trench's Charley Gordon (reprinted as The Road to Khartoum), balanced and well-written.
24th June 2005Peter Ewart
Many towns had a memorial to Gordon in the form of an orphanage. The Gordon Boys Homes was a movement supported by his sister and accommodated thousands of boys across the country, most of whom had lost one or two parents.

In the records of the one Gordon Home I've studied (Dover) it seems that most were prepared for a military career and packed off to the armed forces as soon as possible, or were sent for emigration, often to Canada.

His sister certainly saw this as Gordon's enduring memorial in this country. Not surprisingly, given his background, the over-riding aims were to encourage religious rectitude and imperial ardour among the lads.

And, of course, virtually every town in Britain has a Gordon Road or Street, dating back to the 1880s or early 90s.

24th June 2005Sheldon Hall
There is a Khartoum Road in Sheffield about 10-15 mins' walk from my university office - something I pointed out to my students when I showed the 1966 film a few years back.
25th June 2005Coll

Thankyou for your very detailed replies.

25th June 2005Martin Everett
Dear Coll,

If you are looking for an image of the Gordon statue which was erected in Khartoum then click on

- I am not sure why John Young confused matters in his reply - but I was attemping to answer your initial question:

The school used to be called the Gordon's Boy School but is now co-ed and called the Gordon's School.

I see from my notes that Gordon was asked by the Cape Government in South Africa in 1882 to help with the troubles with Basutos. He went to help, achieved some good, but later quarrelled with the Cape authorities. So his life could have been very different.

25th June 2005Coll

Am I right in saying that in all there are 3 statues of General Gordon ?

1. The statue which had been in Khartoum is now located at the Gordon's School.

2. An identical statue to the one above is at Brompton Barracks.

3. The statue of General Gordon standing is at the Victoria Embankment.

I have added an image of General Gordon's statue at the Gordon's School to my favourites, although at the moment I can't recall the site where I found it, but it really is an excellent example. I am impressed by what a commanding structure that it is.


PS. Without wanting to re-activate a previous topic, could I ask if a statue of Col. Durnford had ever been considered at any time ?
25th June 2005John Young

Sorry didn't realised I'd confused anything at all. I was merely answering Coll's query as to any reason why the mounted statue of Gordon was removed from Khartoum, and what was done to it. The only confusion that I note is that after a day's 'real work' I'd missed out a couple of words!


Having seen both the Brompton Barracks and Gordon's School ones are indeed identical.

There is a link to Hamo Thornycroft's statue:-

To see Edward Onslow Ford statue in its original position on the Nile go to:-

Confused? Not I!

John Y.

25th June 2005Martin Everett

It looks like this story could run and run. Nothing to do with AZW, but there is a bronze bust of Gen Gordon given by the Royal Engineers in 1892 in Westminster Abbey. As far as I can tell there are no memorials to Col Durnford in London. But then there are none to Chelmsford. However, there is a statute to Sir Bartle Frere near that to Gen Gordon in the Victoria Embankment Gardens by Sir Thomas Brock (1887).
25th June 2005Coll
I imagine that General Gordon deserves to have several memorials to him, but on a personal note, if there were as many impressive statues of Col. Durnford as there are of General Gordon, I would be a very happy man.
26th June 2005Julian Whybra
Yes, Chenevix-Trench is also good - a matter of personal preference. Gordon provides such good subject matter, it's difficult for a book on him to fail. Hagiography though? Don't we live in the age of secular saints?
26th June 2005Coll

I have a feeling that your admiration of General Gordon equals my own admiration of Col. Durnford.

In a previous topic you mentioned an article to be published later this year about their friendship and/or when they worked together.

I know you don't want to reveal too much information that is contained in the article before it is published, but please could you enlighten me a little bit more about their relationship ?

I'll understand if you wish to wait until the publication of the article.


26th June 2005Mike McCabe
Those still keen on the Gordon Memorial Statue at Chatham might like to see it photographed in situ at Brompton Barracks Chatham, on:
This is a copy of the Khartoum original, both being cast at the same time.
This, and the RE contribution to the setting up of the Gordon'e Boys School (now Gordon's School), Woking, was the main memorial to Gordon. However, the Royal Engineer Headquarters(REHQ) Officers Mess had also commisioned a portrait of Gordon in his robes as a Chinese Mandarin - painted from life in 1867 when Gordon was a Captain RE, aged 34. Sadly, this very impressive picture was badly damaged in a fire in the 1970s, with only the face surviving intact. There are other portraits of Gordon in RE possession.
In commemoration of the 1877-79 campaigns, RE Officers serving in them presented the REHQ Mess with a Zulu War silver centrepiece featuring 3 models of Zulu warriors (one being deliberately modelled to resemble the induna Ohamu), and motifs of Zulu shields, stabbing and throwing spears. The triangular vase features scenes in relief of the actions at Ulundi, Rorke's Drift, and the massive efforts involved in bridging the Tugela at the Lower Drift. It bears the name of the 25 RE Officers who served, and records the death of Col Durnford and Lt FH MacDowel RE. Completed in 1882, the piece is almost 30" high once mounted on its plinth.
26th June 2005Mike McCabe
I should have corrected the above to read "..the triangular base.."
The base has concave sides, and truncated ends, on which each of the three zulu figures sits. Shields and spears are both in the hands of the Zulus, and decorate the central column of palm fronds, which takes the form of an inverted cone. It can justifiably be said to be including design features indicating a measure of respect for the Zulu warriors themselves. Apart from the statuette of Cleopatra - design to commemorate the 1882 Nile Campaign (and probably the only sizeable silver statue in the world at 24" high to show the Queen in a see through dress-if closely examined), the Zulku War pice isarguably the most attractive in the large RE collection of major pieces of silver.
27th June 2005Paul Cubbin
After spending many moons away from this site (due to my computer catching several nasty stuff things indirectly via it) I have decided to return with a characteristically pointless and frivolous entry.
I have just read Wilbur Smith's 'Triumph of the Sun' and it is based on the siege of Khartoum and subsequent campaign in the Sudan. Whilst very obviously a dramatic novel, the book features an interesting take on the 'Gordon Legend' with a perhaps less than flattering portrayal of the man in question. If you look past good old Wilbur's sometimes bizarre writing style, gory 'Boy's Own' high romps and quasi-researched 'history' it is an interesting narrative that highlights another of the British Empire's colonial blunders - although perhaps having more in common with the loss of Prince Louis (at least to the British public) than Isandlwana.
27th June 2005Edward Bear
Not read the Wilbur Smith, but even cursory study of what remains of Charles Gordon's Khartoum diaries indicate some of Gordon's flaws - as he would have realised in writing them. There are then "the usual speculations" of the Lytton Strachey variety and it would be no surprise if that cheap hit were to be made again in a new novel.
Wilbur Smith has never been much of a one for 'facts', and the poverty of research in those of his earliest novels that were set contemporaneously with the Zulu and Boer Wars is indeed instructive.
27th June 2005Paul Cubbin
I think that it would not be unfair to say that Wilbur has portrayed him as an extremely strong willed and single minded man, perhaps to the detriment of political subtlety and an ability to adapt to changing circumstances. I have never studied 'Chinese' Gordon but the impression left by the book is ultimately that of a man born too late in a world that was slightly too far removed for his attitudes and values to be completely successful in the roles he adopted or were given.
30th June 2005James Garland
I used to be a pupil at the Gordon Boys School in the 1960s. I havn't been back there for many years. It used to have a school museum that had the largest collection of Gordon relics in the world. There were also numerous busts of General Gordon displayed in the library and other school buildings. A number of the paintings of the Sudan Wars are now in the National army Museum. As it was a military school the pupils paraded carrying Lee Enfield Rifles but for the smallest pupils they were issued with Martini Carbines which had been used in the Sudan. In January on the anniversary of Gordon's death ( the 21st I think) a small group of pupils have a ceremony at Gordon's statue on the embankment and lay wreaths. Charlton Heston visited the school during the making of Khartoum to learn more about Gordon and also visited the museum which contains letters weapons, dervish Jibbahs etc. You may also be surprised to know that the bugler who sounded the charge of the lancers at the battle of Omdurman was an ex pupil of the school which was called the Gordon Boys Home at that time. Numerous medals relating to the campaigns also used to be on display in the library. I would be interested to know if they still display all these artifacts.
1st July 2005Coll

Thanks for your detailed reply.

Do you know if Charlton Heston's visit was covered by newspapers at the time, or even an account at the school itself about his visit and interest in General Gordon ?

I'm just asking out of curiosity.


4th July 2005AMB
I must confess to being a Gordon fan.
Cracking statue also in Melbourne - copy of the embankment one.
"Thank God for an Empire - all can share the light!!


6th July 2005Julian Whybra
I'll reply to you direct.
6th July 2005Coll

I received your e-mail.