Southampton is full of history if you know where to look. Although not on my regular route I sometimes would take a shortcut through Queen’s Park and this is where you will find the General Gordon Memorial.
I have to admit I did not make the connection to Gordon of Khartoum until somebody told me about it. Oddly enough I had instinctively photographed the base of the plinth “just in case”.
Also known as “Chinese Gordon” for his service in the Far East and “Gordon of Khartoum”, after where he was killed in 1885, Gordon lived in Southampton and served in the Crimean War, and the second Opium War, and reorganised China’s ‘Ever Victorious Army’, leading it to a series of brilliant victories during the Taiping Rebellion. He later was Governor-General of the Sudan and evacuated some 2,600 civilians and soldiers from Khartoum before the Mahdi’s revolt. He was supposedly killed in the Governor-General’s palace in 1885, just two days before his 52nd birthday.
It is believed that his head was presented to the Mahdi and his body was thrown down a well.
Gordon’s Tomb may be found in St Paul’s Cathedral, London, although he is not buried there as no part of his body was recovered. There is also a Gordon family tomb in Southampton’s Old Cemetery on the Common on which Gordon is commemorated.
A strange place to find somebody who was involved in so many events that changed nations. How many people make the connection? not too many. I know I was not one of them either.
© DRW 2013-2018. Retrospectively created 05/07/2016