The General Wolfe statue in Greenwich Park was taped off at the weekend as park bosses tried to keep visitors two metres apart during the coronavirus emergency.
While some pathways in the park, as well as the flower gardens, have been closed off since the beginning of the lockdown five weeks ago, this weekend was the first time one of the best-known viewpoints in London was sealed off to stop visitors from getting too close together.
However, on Sunday evening people could still be seen gathering around the statue to take in the view of the Old Royal Naval College, Canary Wharf and the rest of London.
The statue, a gift from Canada and erected in 1930, commemorates Wolfe’s victory against the French at Quebec which secured Canada for the British. Wolfe, whose parents lived in Macartney House on the edge of the park, died in the battle and is buried at St Alfege’s church.
A Royal Parks spokesperson told 853 the tape would be taken down on Monday and the situation would be monitored.
“The Wolfe statue was taped off at the weekend to ensure social distancing within this area. The tape is being removed from this area this morning. The situation will be reviewed on an ongoing basis,” she said.
“The Flower Garden has been closed since the lockdown began and will remain closed until further notice. This is because the paths are narrow and it is difficult to maintain social distancing. In addition the entrance to the Flower garden is gated, so the measures will also protect different people touching the gates to open and close them.”
With Greenwich town centre remaining a popular destination for people exercising – and being home to many people without gardens – the area has seen many closures since the lockdown started.
The Old Royal Naval College grounds have been closed, while Greenwich Council has also sealed off parts of the Thames Path. The Greenwich Foot Tunnel is now also subject to weekend closures, while areas around it have also been taped off.
However, large numbers of people could still be seen on the path west of Cutty Sark Gardens on Sunday evening, illustrating the difficulty in maintaining the measures in warm spring weather.
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