Goldsmiths University opens public consultation on statues linked to slavery and colonialism – South London News
A university asks residents if they think it should tear down four statues on a campus building that have links to colonialism.
Goldsmiths, University of London, based in New Cross, today launched a public consultation on the future of statues of
- Mr. Francis Drake,
- Cromwellian Admiral Robert Blake,
- Lord Horatio Nelson,
- and an anonymous representative naval figure on the front of Deptford Town Hall.
All four characters have either connections to Britain’s role in slavery or to the colonial system that supported slavery.
Options include keeping the statues with additional explanations, modifying some or all of the statues, or removing some or all of the statues.
The consultation takes place as part of a nationwide conversation about historic statues which Historic England says “have become symbols of injustice” and protests against statues depicting figures linked to colonialism and slavery.
The consultation responds to one of the demands of GARA (Goldsmiths Anti-Racist Action), a student protest group led by Black + Person of Color launched in 2019.
Opened in 1905 as a municipal building, Deptford Town Hall was acquired by Goldsmiths in 1998 and has since been used as space for education, administrative offices and public events including exhibitions and concerts.
As a Grade II listed building, any significant alteration to its facade, which faces the busy New Cross Road, would require planning approval from Lewisham Council, which would notify Historic England.
Professor Frances Corner, Director of Goldsmiths, said: “Deptford Town Hall is a local landmark, so it’s only fair that we ask locals what they think of the statues that embody the intricate heritage of the city. maritime heritage of the region.
“We want the people of the region to openly and honestly engage with the troubling aspects of the history these statues represent and tell us how they want these issues resolved.
“These statues were carved in 1905 to reflect the wishes of the local community at the time and it is essential that, a little over a century later, any decision regarding their future now reflects the wishes of our local community. “
The consultation focuses on the views of communities closest to Goldsmiths, but is also open to the general public, including those interested in the building or maritime heritage of Deptford.
The consultation is open from September 1 to October 17. People submit their views on the statues online at explore.gold/statues or by completing and returning a prepaid mail-in survey sent to approximately 8,500 homes in the New Cross area.