UK News: Objections to Alan Turing statue being erected at Cambridge University

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Alan Turing sculpture © Provided by The Telegraph Alan Turing sculpture

Alan Turing’s statue is set to be erected in Cambridge despite Historic England warning it would “harm” the character of the area.

The mathematician’s alma mater of King’s College applied to erect a 12ft steel tribute to Turing designed by Sir Anthony Gormley.

Historic England warned that the “eye-catching” new monument would “be at odds” with the traditional character of the college grounds, but Cambridge City Council has voted to approve the plans.

The vote goes against the concerns also raised by the body’s own conservation officer, who agreed with Historic England that the vast rust-coloured artwork would compromise the “aesthetic significance” of King’s College, according to council documents.

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Sir Antony Gormley - Triangle News/Antony Gormley © Provided by The Telegraph Sir Antony Gormley - Triangle News/Antony Gormley

In favour of the statue, it was argued that there has been recent interest in Turing’s wartime code-breaking work and persecution for his homosexuality – which has led to a string of feature films such as the Imitation Games – and that he is a significant King’s alumnus.

King’s Provost, Michael Proctor, said: “It was in the college’s tolerant, open-minded and intellectual environment that Turing was able to live a fulfilled life both as a homosexual man and an abstract thinker, and we are enormously proud to acknowledge the significance of his unparalleled contribution to science and modern computing in this way.”

The sculpture will be erected out of the view of the public on King’s Parade, and visitors will have to pay to enter the college and see the artwork, which is described in council documents as an “abstract metal figure”.

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Alan Turing © Provided by The Telegraph Alan Turing

Following the council’s decision to approve the artwork, Historic England said: “We recognise the importance of the Turing Memorial Sculpture to King’s College and the benefits of displaying the work of prominent contemporary sculptor Sir Antony Gormley.

“Historic England provided detailed advice to Cambridge City Council, setting out the impact of the proposal on this highly sensitive site and noting the public benefits of the proposal.”

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