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City of London statues could face removal over slavery links after BLM protests

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Bosses in the City have launched a three-month consultation to see if they should remove the statues. Monuments in the name of William Beckford and Sir John Cass are expected to be suggested for removal. William Beckford and Sir John Cass made their fortunes from the slave trade.

This is following the Black Lives Matter movement’s call for memorials to be removed that have links to slavery.

Co-chair of the City’s Tackling Racism Taskforce Andrien Meyers announced that street and building names could also be changed.

Mr Meyers added: “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.

“We want to hear as broad a range of opinions as possible from City residents, workers, learners, visitors, and other stakeholders before any decision is made on how we should deal with this issue.”

Slavery brought vast wealth to the UK throughout the 17th and 18th centuries as well as great suffering to those who sold in the horrific pracice.

There is a huge statue to William Beckford, twice Lord Mayor of London in the 1760s, and the largest slave owner of his time.

In June a petition was organised to remove this statue.

Sir John Cass’s Foundation Primary School has decided to change its name, even though he founded the building.

The chair of the governors of the school Matt Piper said: “Our governors are deeply troubled by these links and determined to take appropriate action.

“We will be working closely on this response with our Foundation.

“They have already recognised the need for change and for greater discussion of the history of the slave trade.

“Our working group will also be considering how our school can better educate its community on matters of human exploitation, both historic and in the present day.”

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Boris Johnson has said he is against the process of removing statues.

He wrote last month: “We cannot now try to edit or censor our past.

“We cannot pretend to have a different history.

“The statues in our cities and towns were put up by previous generations.

“They had different perspectives, different understandings of right and wrong.

“But those statues teach us about our past, with all its faults.

“To tear them down would be to lie about our history, and impoverish the education of generations to come.”

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