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'And there was Brian' is an audio monument to the peace campaigner Brian Haw.
It is sited in Parliament Square, where for ten years Brian protested 24/7 against the Iraq War and other military conflicts.
To listen, go to the Square, and stand across the road from the Houses of Parliament. You will need a smartphone with its GPS function turned on, and a set of headphones.
Once you have crossed the road into Parliament Square Garden, the above 'play' button will become active.
After pressing 'play', you can move around the Square as much as you like.
The audio runs for 36 minutes.
And we call ourselves a democracy.
In June 2001, actor Michael Culver met Brian Haw in London's Parliament Square. Angered by the suffering of Iraqi children after the first Gulf War, they began protesting for changes to UK and US foreign policies.
Brian - a carpenter from Redditch in the West Midlands - set up a permanent peace camp in the Square. On the side nearest Parliament, he created a display of his and his supporters' banners, placards and flags. The display, which for a time stretched to 40 metres, showed the horrors of war to anyone who passed. Despite attempts by the authorities to remove him from the Square, Brian stood firm for ten years.
Throughout the protest, Michael visited Brian two or three times a week. From his home in Wimbledon, he brought him whatever he needed: eight-foot tall signs attacking the Blair and Brown governments, books on the Middle East, money, laminated news articles, BLIAR t-shirts. Michael supported Brian in this way right up until Brian died in June 2011.
Most of what you've got here was taken by the police.
Over the years, police repeatedly dismantled Brian's display, and confiscated hundreds of his and his supporters’ possessions: tents, megaphones, banners, flags, photographs, chairs, flasks, teddy bears, lamps, clothes.
After Brian died, police transported the material to his family’s home in the West Midlands. In 2012, Brian's family donated nearly a thousand objects to the Museum of London. Since the Museum acquired the material, only a handful of objects have been on public display.
He was a quite extraordinary, ridiculously brave human being.
In 2017, Michael and his wife Amanda visited the Museum’s off-site store to see the Haw collection. 'And there was Brian' is a record of this visit, and is now pinned to Parliament Square.
On pressing ‘play’, you will hear Michael pay tribute to his friend. Together with an interview with Brian recorded in Parliament Square, he offers a compelling account of Brian’s protest and what it takes to put your body in the way of geopolitical fantasies.
Listening to ‘And There Was Brian’ requires a small amount of data, approximately 35 MB.
When in the Square, we recommend you stream the audio through your mobile network (e.g. 02, Vodafone, EE etc).
If you are running low on data, you can use the free wifi available in the Square.
In Parliament Square, the 'play' button will go red when it is active. If the play button has not gone red, check your phone's location services are switched on. For example, on iPhones open 'settings', select 'privacy', then turn on 'location services'. You may also need to refresh the page.
To make the monument accessible for people with visual impairments, this website is compatible with screen-reading software.
'And there was Brian' was created by Guy Atkins, alongside Michael Culver, Amanda Ward, Nina Garthwaite and James Bulley.
It was made possible thanks to the time and generosity of Vyki Sparkes, Catherine Nightingale, Alex Werner, Jen Kavanagh, Georgina Young, Cathy Ross, Aonghus O'Kelly, Patrick Fry (Visual Design), James Sui, Gregory White, Simon Roberts, Bernadette Buckley, Simon Spencer-Hyde, Richard Wilson, Richard Keith Wolff, Sarah Wood, Nicholas Wood, Steve Punter (for his image of brian used under ‘CC by 2.0’) and Richard Baker (for his image of Brian and Michael below).