BUILDING work has started on a monument to recognise the achievements of a former Weymouth MP and social crusader.

The Thomas Fowell Buxton Monument will take pride of place on Bincleaves Green.

Deputy Mayor Cllr Kevin Brookes and John Mitchell Builders visited the site with the society chairman, James Buxton, who drew a large X to mark the centre of the Buxton Monument. Watched by James Buxton and treasurer John Fannon, Cllr Brookes hammered in a central wooden peg. Building work started on the site three days later.

Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton was an MP for the town almost 200 years ago and a social reformer who worked for the abolition of the slave trade as well as changes in prisons and the law.

He used to live in Belfield House just off Buxton Road, which is named after him.

The Buxton Monument in Weymouth completes a string of memorials to Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton, abolitionist and MP for Weymouth from 1818-1837. There is a plaque honouring him in Norwich Cathedral, Norfolk. In London there is a statue of him in Westminster Abbey and in Victoria Tower Gardens there is an ornate fountain in his memory.

In Freetown Cathedral, Sierra Leone, there is a marble bust of him and an account of his achievements. There are also memorials in Ontario in Canada and in Kingston in Jamaica.

The Buxton Monument will stand just over four metres high and is built with Portland Stone.

The themes depicted on the monument are scenes from Thomas Fowell Buxton’s career. His name and dates will be visible as will be his profile. An information table adjacent to the monument will set out the significance of the Buxton Monument’s design and detailed carving portraying the main aspects of Thomas Fowell Buxton’s famous parliamentary career.

Bincleaves Green and the site of the monument are not far from Belfield House, once owned by Thomas Fowell Buxton.

Treasurer John Fannon said: “Thomas Fowell Buxton was one of the heroes of the anti slavery movement in the nineteenth century and is one of Weymouth’s most illustrious MPs. He is commemorated in Westminster Abbey, in Norwich Cathedral, in Spitalfields (London), and in Canada and Sierra Leone. He was however almost forgotten in Weymouth. The Thomas Fowell Buxton Society hopes that this monument will serve to relate his achievements to the people of Weymouth and to the many tourists of all nationalities who visit Weymouth each year.”