London financial district asks if it should remove statues linked to slavery in response to the Black Lives Matter movement

Sep 2, 2020 | News

The governing body in charge of London’s financial district is openly asking for opinions to help make decisions in bringing down statues and other landmarks with historic links to slavery and racism, as part of its response to the Black Lives Matter movement.


The City of London Corporation which runs the area that is home to some of the world’s biggest banks, has launched a three-month consultation, according to Reuters. 


“The memorials could be re-sited, reinterpreted or retained depending on the responses collected,” Andrien Meyers, co-chair of the City’s Tackling Racism Taskforce, said. Street and building names could also be changed.


“We know that historical symbols continue to have an impact today and we want to understand how people feel about this aspect of our cultural history,” Meyers said.


This comes as several statues including memorials with links to slavery and racism have been targeted globally by angry protesters over police brutality and racial discrimination. Some of the statues were toppled by protesters while civic authorities were forced to take down others. 


Over the months, the Black Lives Matter protests have forced UK authorities and companies to apologise for the country’s past links to slavery, which brought vast wealth in the 17th and 18th centuries.


The Lloyd’s of London insurance market and Bank of England are among City organisations that have apologised. 


In June, a statue of Robert Milligan, an 18th-century slave trader, was removed from outside a museum in the Docklands area of the capital.


A huge monument to William Beckford, twice Lord Mayor of London in the 1760s and the largest slave owner of his time, was also targeted for removal by a petition.


The government rejected the petition to remove the statue which stands in the Guildhall, the ornate seat of the City of London Corporation, on the grounds it was a matter for the local authority.



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