Liverpool St George's Hall Pediment
Since its disappearance in the 1950s, many people have been calling for it to be returned to its rightful place overlooking St John's Road.
According to heritage manager Graham Boxer's response it "was not included in the restoration works, mainly due to the fact that it can't be located, however it is believed that due to the conditions in the basement of St George's Hall (where it once may have been stored) it no longer exists." The sculpted characters stood above the south enterance until August 1950, when large chunks of stone, some weighing around 50lb, fell more than 100ft to the ground below. Fortunately nobody was hurt and steeplejacks were called in from other work across the city to make the area safe.
However, shortly after the frieze damaged, the council's finance committee chairman, Alderman A Ernest Shennan, claimed it was unlikely to be replaced for other motives - aesthetic rather than fiscal. He concluded that the hall's designer, Harvey Lonsdale Elmes, had never intended the space to be filled. He personally inspected the finishings of the stonework and declared that, like the similar space on the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, they were never meant to be hidden.
In the 1980s, a suggestion to recreate it in stone-faced, reinforced plastic was dismissed due to the "city's present economic climate" in times of recession.
But perhaps the most controversial reason for preventing a replacement came when political correctness foiled plans by a group of sculptors to recreate the frieze. Anti-racist groups claimed the black figure kneeling before Britannia symbolised the slave trade and felt Liverpool's black community would be offended by its recreation. John Haymes Hogg, one of the members of Merseyside Sculptors Guild states that the frieze actually represented the abolition of slavery, "The figure is on his knees is giving thanks to Britannia for his liberty because of the decision by Britain to abolish the horror of the slave trade." Sadly, many other people believe it is yet another example of institutional vandalism and was broken up.