Photograph of a lion in Trafalgar Square London

Discover the public statues of London on a walking-tour with Dr Michael Paraskos

At a glance

  • Live face-to-face course
  • 2 hours a week
  • Thursdays 13:30 - 15:30
  • 5 weeks: July to August
  • Tutors: Michael Paraskos and Richard Barnes
  • Fees from £60 to £105
  • Imperial College attendance certificate (T&Cs apply)
  • Book from 18 June 2021
Booking link

With the furore over the toppling of the Edward Colston statue in Bristol and demands that statues to other controversial figures in British history be removed public sculpture has never been more topical.

In London we have a huge collection of public sculptures, ranging from memorials to individual historical figures, to commemorations of significant events, to representations of abstract ideas. These works of art are all around us, but their very familiarity can make them seem almost invisible. And even if we do notice them, how often do we know what the statue or monument commemorates?

On this 5 week course we are going to explore some of the public statuary and sculptures of London. We will visit five key locations in the centre of London, each rich in statues, sculptures and monuments, and examine at first hand the appearance of the sculptures, their setting and what they represent. We will learn about some of the figures commemorated in these monuments, why they are commemorated and why some of them are now so controversial.

No previous knowledge of art history or history is necessary - all welcome.

This 5-week course comprises 2-hour in-person session each week (10 contact hours) from 1.30pm to 3:30pm. It is taught on location in the streets of London at the sites of the sculptures and public monuments we will be studying.


Class Format

This is not a classroom or online course - we will be walking the streets of London to visit the sculptures, so please wear sensible shoes, dress appropriately for the weather and do bring an umbrella. Please meet at the specific venue given in the course outline which will be sent to you after you enrol.

Please be aware of covid-19 safe-distancing requirements and adhere to them. We ask if possible that participants on this course take a home swab test (lateral flow test) before joining each session of the class. These can be ordered free of charge prior to the start of the course from or obtained free of charge from many pharmacists.

In the event of the government or Public Health England requiring further lockdown measures the class will transfer online and any remaining sessions will be taught entirely online.

Course Information

Course Programme


  • Week 1: Thursday 29 July 2021 The Controversy of Commemoration: Trafalgar Square
  • Week 2: Thursday 5 August 2021 Commemorating War: Hyde Park Corner
  • Week 3: Thursday 12 August 2021 Public Sculpture: The Art of Empire? (City of London)
  • Week 4: Thursday 19 August 2021 Reinventing the Past: South Kensington
  • Week 5: Thursday 26 August 2021 Public Sculpture into Public Art: Broadgate (near Liverpool Street Station)

This is not a classroom or online course - we will be walking the streets of London to visit the public sculptures, so please wear sensible shoes, dress appropriately for the weather and do bring an umbrella!

This course is organised by the Evening Class and Adult Education section of the Centre for Languages, Culture and Communication (CLCC) at Imperial College London. Terms and Conditions Apply - available here. Please ensure you read the Terms and Conditions before enrolling. Enrolment on the course is indicative that you accept the published Terms and Conditions.

The course is an adult education course and does not carry academic credits. It is intended as an enjoyable and fun event and not as an academic course. There is no assessment or examinations and any additional work each week is optional. At the end of the course participants will receive a certificate of attendance (subject to the Terms and Conditions).

Additional Reading

There is no requirement to undertake specific reading for this course, but if you would like to look in greater depth at the subject the following books are recommended:

  • Peter Matthews, London's Statues and Monuments (London: Shire Books, 2018)
  • Andrew Kershman, London's Monuments (London: Metro Books, 2013)
  • Arthur Byron, London Statues: a guide to london's outdoor statues and sculpture (London: Constable, 1981)
  • Philip Ward-Jackson, Public Sculpture of the City of London (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2003)
  • Philip Ward-Jackson, Public Sculpture of Historic Westminster (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2011)
  • Terry Cavanagh, Public Sculpture of South London (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2007)

No academic credits are available for this course.

About Your Tutors

Photograph of Michael ParaskosDr Michael Paraskos is a very experienced adult education tutor, having taught for over twenty-five years. He holds a Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy, is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and also teaches art history to students at the City and Guilds of London Art School. 
He is a writer of both fiction and non-fiction and has published very widely on art of this period, as well as reviewing exhibitions and novels for BBC Radio 4’s Front Row and The Spectator magazine. His first novel In Search of Sixpence was published in 2016 and his second, called Rabbitman, was published in 2017.


Photograph of Richard BarnesRichard Barnes is a sculptor, stone carver and letter cutter who trained at the City and Guilds of London Art School. He has worked on the architectural sculpture at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, and is the recipient of the Brian Till Prize for Art History Writing and the annual award of the Honorable Knights of the Round Table for his carving. His most recent writing includes 'Footfalls on the boundary of another world' published in the anthology, Othello's Island 1 in 2019.

Course Fees and Rate Categories

HoursWeeksStandard RateInternal RateAssociate Rate
10  5  £105 £60 £80
All fee rates quoted are for the whole course.
Term dates 1

Fee Categories and Discounts

Standard Rate

  • Applicable to all except those who fall under the Internal Rate or Associate Rate category, respectively.

Internal Rate

  • Applies to current Imperial College students and staff (incl. Imperial NHS Trust, Imperial Innovations, ancillary & service staff employed on long-term contracts at Imperial College by third-party contractors).
  • Current Centre for Languages, Culture and Communication (CLCC) staff, current CLCC PhD students, Science Communication (Sci Comm) postgraduate students, and students enrolled on an Imperial College 'Language for Science' degree programme should email evening before completing the online enrolment form.

Associate Rate

  • Students (non-Imperial College)
  • Alumni of Imperial College and predecessor colleges and institutes
  • City & Guilds College Association members
  • Members of the Friends of Imperial College
  • Francis Crick Institute staff, researchers and students
  • NHS staff (other than Imperial NHS Trust staff)
  • Members of the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP)
  • Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Council staff
  • Harrods staff
  • Historic Royal Palaces staff
  • Natural History Museum staff
  • Science Museum staff
  • South London Botanical Institute Members
  • Victoria and Albert Museum staff
  • Royal Geographical Society staff
  • Royal College of Art and Royal College of Music tutors and other staff
  • Santander Bank staff (Imperial College Walkway branch only)
  • Austrian Cultural Forum staff
  • Staff of Exhibition Road Cultural Group (Discover South Kensington) organisations
  • Lycee Charles de Gaulle staff
  • Tutors and other staff of other universities and higher education institutions
  • Tutors and other staff of institution members of the Association of Colleges
  • Residents of postcodes SW3, SW5, SW7, SW10 and W8
  • Members of the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP)
  • Members of the South London Botanical Institute (SLBI)

Late enrolment

It is possible to enrol on many CLCC Evening Class and Lunchtime Learning programmes after the course has started. For non-language courses this is subject entirely to agreement by the tutor. For language courses it is subject to agreement by the language Coordinator conducting level assessment. If you want to join a course late do bear in mind there might be work you will need to catch up on, particularly in language courses.

Applicable terms & conditions

Please read these before enrolling on any course.

Term Dates

HoursWeeksAutumn termSpring termSummer termSummer School
 10  5 n/a n/a n/a w/c 26 Jul - w/c 23 Aug 2020 (5 weeks)

Certificate of Attendance

Our adult education evening and daytime classes do not offer academic credits, but we do offer an attendance certificate to those learners who attend at least 80% of the taught sessions. Eligible learners receive their certificate by email after the end of the course.

Enrolment Process

Web enrolment starts 18 June

Enrolment and payment run through the Imperial College eStore. Please click on the blue booking link on the relevant course page noting below instructions:

  • Our rate categories are explained on the course page and your applicable rate category must be selected on the eStore
  • First-time eStore users please create an account by entering an email address and password. These credentials should also be used for future bookings. Imperial College users please note the eStore is not a single-signon College system
  • The booking process involves entering payment details after your course choice and applicant details are collected via an in-built questionnnaire
  • The following email notifications are sent:
What is sentWhen is it sentWhat does it contain
1. Payment confirmation Is sent instantaneously following submission of your online application
  • This is a receipt for your payment and includes payment date, order number and course title
  • Confirmation of your place on your chosen course will follow later
2. Enrolment confirmation Is sent within 10 working daysPlease treat your payment confirmation as confirmation that your applicant details and payment have been received
  • Re-confirms your course choice
  • Shows your course's term dates
  • Confirms the day and time of your course
3. Programme information Is usually sent on Friday late afternoon the week before term starts
  • Contains joining instructions for your course, incl. tutor contact details
If you need further help with the above information please ring 020 7594 8756

Any Questions?

Questions regarding the content and teaching of the above course should be sent to the course tutor, Dr Michael Paraskos, at

If you have enjoyed this course, why not look at other arts and humanities evening class courses at Imperial College. This includes courses on the history of western art from ancient Greece to the nineteenth century, Understanding Modern and Design, the history of film and cinema and Greek and Roman mythology in art. We also run practical courses in art and photography and creative writing classes, and a growing programme of science based evening classes.