Ex-councillor pleads not guilty to criminal damage over Dickens’ museum graffiti

A former Inexperienced councillor who scrawled ‘Dickens racist’ on wall of museum devoted to 19th century creator pleaded not responsible in court docket

Ian Driver, 63, was arrested for prison injury after graffiti was plastered on the surface of The Charles Dickens Home Museum in Broadstairs, Kent, on Saturday night time.

Driver – who was a Inexperienced Celebration councillor in Thanet till 2015 – pleaded not responsible to seven counts of prison injury price £2,000 throughout his look in Medway Magistrates’ Courtroom. 

Ian Driver pictured scrawling graffiti on the Charles Dickens museum in Broadstairs, Kent, on Saturday

Ian Driver pictured scrawling graffiti on the Charles Dickens museum in Broadstairs, Kent, on Saturday

Mr Driver (pictured) admitted daubing the graffiti in the seaside town of Broadstairs

Mr Driver (pictured) admitted daubing the graffiti within the seaside city of Broadstairs

Was Charles Dickens racist?

Charles Dickens is without doubt one of the most beloved authors of the Victorian period.

His works, together with A Christmas Carol and Oliver Twist, are seen as championing the plight of the working class in the course of the Industrial Revolution. 

The celebrated author’s works have garnered criticism since his dying in 1870 for antisemitic and genocidal views.

Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens 

In 1857, following an unsuccessful rebellion by Indians towards the British East India Firm, Dickens wrote he needed to ‘exterminate’ the race.

Dickens, writing as if he had been a addressing Indian residents, mentioned: ‘I… have the honour to tell you Hindoo gentry that it’s my intention, with all potential avoidance of pointless cruelty and with all merciful swiftness of execution, to exterminate the Race from the face of the earth.’

In his guide The Noble Savage wrote: ‘I name a savage as one thing extremely fascinating to be civilised off the face of the earth.’

His depiction of the character Fagin in Oliver Twist has additionally been described as antisemitic – each in the course of the time Dickens was alive and as we speak.

The primary 38 chapters of the guide seek advice from Fagin as ‘the Jew’ greater than 250 instances’ in comparison with calling him ‘Fagin’ or ‘the outdated man’ 42 instances. 

Dickens mentioned he made the character Jewish because it: ‘Sadly was true, of the time to which the story refers, that the category of prison virtually invariably was a Jew.’

It comes after Driver admitted that he focused the museum devoted to beloved 19th century creator. He additionally mentioned he was behind graffiti on varied different places throughout Broadstairs and Ramsgate in a weblog publish. 

He mentioned he picked his varied targets as a result of they ‘symbolize the deep-rooted institutional racism’ in native councils and charities.

Driver was arrested on Monday by police investigating the writing on The Charles Dickens Home Museum in addition to different incidents in Broadstairs and Ramsgate.

He was charged with the injury finished to the wall in native council-owned Charles Dickens Home Museum – costing £400 to repair.

He was additionally charged with £1,000-worth of injury to native dance and music pageant People Week’s workplace door and the places of work of council constructing Piermont Corridor.

He additionally allegedly triggered £400 injury every to highway indicators for Dickens Road and Leopold Road in addition to £150-worth of injury to a council-built field put as much as shield a plaque to Uncle Mack – a minstrel troupe chief.

He categorically denies all expenses – although he admitted that he was behind the graffiti in a weblog publish.

The carer wore a denim jacket and cream shorts as he took to the streets at midnight on Saturday to marketing campaign towards what he claims is ‘institutionalised racism’ within the seaside city. 

He advised Solar On-line: ‘I’ve by no means hidden the truth that I did it, I grassed myself up – which should be a primary!’

The weblog publish learn: ‘I chosen the targets as they symbolize the deep-rooted institutional racism of Broadstairs City and Thanet District councils and the Broadstairs Dickens Week and People Week charities who overtly assist, have a good time, and fund with public cash, offensive blacked up Morris dancers, Uncle Mack’s blacked up Minstrel present memorial, and genocidal racists corresponding to Charles Dickens and King Leopold of Belgium.’

He added: ‘My actions are nothing to do with the Black Lives Matter motion, of which I’m a supporter, and are purely a part of my very own particular person protest for which I alone am accountable.’  

Previous to his weblog publish, Driver was already underneath investigation by Kent Police for vandalising a field erected over a ‘racist’ memorial to Uncle Mack, who ran a minstrel group in blackface on the native seashore within the early 19th Century, after a Black Lives Matter protest on June 13.

He claims Broadstairs City Council’s vote to maintain the plaque on June 24 was ‘completely provocative and racist’ and compelled him to take ‘direct motion as a final resort’.

However the father-of-three mentioned he has ‘no regrets in anyway’ over his newest demonstration and was anticipating officers to knock on the door of his Broadstairs residence ‘any minute.’

Dickens House, a museum in Broadstairs, Kent, dedicated to the Victorian author, was daubed with graffiti by Mr Driver

Dickens Home, a museum in Broadstairs, Kent, devoted to the Victorian creator, was daubed with graffiti by Mr Driver

Mr Driver said he has long campaigned against folk week in the seaside town

Mr Driver mentioned he has lengthy campaigned towards folks week within the seaside city

He added: ‘I’ll go to court docket and struggle my case. If I had my means, the museum can be shut down.

‘The council just isn’t listening and has no intention of addressing these points. I consider that Broadstairs is Racism-on-Sea.

‘The Black Lives Matter marketing campaign is uncovering historical past we should not be celebrating. Among the issues these folks mentioned and did can be appalling even in their very own instances – it isn’t simply outdated views.’

The father-of-three was arrested earlier today

The daddy-of-three was arrested earlier as we speak

His grafitti got here amid rising calls from the Black Lives Matter motion to take away statues and monuments of racist figures. 

A statue of slave dealer Edward Colston was pulled down and dumped into Bristol Harbour earlier this 12 months, whereas statues to Oliver Cromwell, Lord Holland and Nancy Astor, the primary lady to sit in Parliament, have all been defaced in latest weeks.

The museum on the East Kent coast impressed the house of Betsey Trotwood, a personality within the novel David Copperfield, which was launched in full in 1950. 

By the tip of the 19th century the museum had come to be often known as Dickens Home, earlier than it was opened a museum to the author in 1973. 

Dickens Road, which is less than 10 minutes walk away from the Broadstairs museum was painted over with black ink

Dickens Street, which is lower than 10 minutes stroll away from the Broadstairs museum was painted over with black ink 

Throughout his life and extra so after his dying in 1870, Charles Dickens’ writing has been criticised as antisemitic and racist.

In a letter penned in 1857 reacting to an rebellion in India, the Oliver Twist and Nice Expectations creator mentioned he wished to ‘exterminate the Race from the face of the earth.’ 

Whereas penning a non-fiction guide titled The Noble Savage, he prompt Indians needs to be ‘civilised off the face of the earth’. 

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