The bid for the removal of the “beastly” Duke of Cumberland’s name from a street in Kirriemuir will be decided by locals.
A petition signed by 1,000 people demanding Cumberland Close be renamed was put before councillors at a full council meeting on Thursday.
The street is named after Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, who reportedly stayed there during the 18th-century military campaign.
The duke – branded the ‘butcher’ of the 1745 rising – was sent to crush the Jacobite uprising as England’s leading general of the era.
However, it was voted by councillors 13 to ten that the decision be taken to the people of the town for consultation.
Duke ‘compared to Adolf Hitler‘
The bid sparked a heated debate among councillors, with council leader Beth Whiteside comparing Cumberland to Adolf Hitler.
“The man was a beast basically,” said Mrs Whiteside.
“If the street had been called Hitler Street do you think people would be content leaving that name on – (Cumberland’s) crimes were on a par.
“It is for the people of Kirriemuir to decide, not for us.
“A consultation will give us that feedback, that’s the least we can do.”
Local campaigner brought petition to councillors
The bid to change the street name has been led by Kirriemuir resident Scott MacFarlane who – dressed in a black suit and tie – pushed for councillors to support the change.
He said: “It’s up to you whether we continue to pay homage to this man to this day, which I think is outrageous.
“I wear a black tie today, not because today is a particularly sombre day, but I wear it in memory of all the poor souls who were raped, tortured, and slaughtered – man, woman and child at the hand of the butcher.
“I would urge you to do the right thing and vote to expunge any trace of this monster from our beautiful wee red town.”
One suggestion is to name the close after the Visocchi family whose famous ice-cream shop has served the town for nearly 80 years.
Learn from the past for the future
However, not all locals were in favour of the change.
Cumberland Close business owner Anne McLean said: “The objection I have is not based in history, it’s in the here and now, it’s in the practical.
“My business, which I’ve only just opened up in Kirriemuir in March of this year, we’ve had to put the brakes on our marketing and announcing our address because I knew this was underlying.”
But Mrs McLean suggested an information board detailing the background of the street name to help “inform the future” by looking at the history.
“They did not raze Auschwitz to the ground.
“They made Auschwitz a symbol of the atrocities that happened so that it will always inform how we should behave in the future.”
Kirrie Conservative councillor Ronnie Proctor said the plan would burden the council with unnecessary expenses.
He said: “We should not compare 18th-century living with 21st-century sentimentality
“I know these things went on and no one can ever defend it.
“But we should never ever compare the past with the present, we should should learn from the past to better the present.”
Calls to focus on Storm Babet
Other councillors called for the local authority to focus on issues such as rebuilding after the destruction caused by Storm Babet.
Conservative councillor Craig Fotheringham said: “I think we should be concentrating on re-building streets rather than re-naming them.”
However, councillors voted 13 to ten for a consultation to be put to the people of Kirriemuir.
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