Naming of Brent’s public spaces after William Gladstone to be scrutinised
PUBLISHED: 13:17 11 September 2020
A park in Brent named after William Gladstone could be renamed due to the former prime minister’s association with the slave trade.
Brent Council’s cabinet approved a report on Monday (September 7) that noted the names of Gladstone Park, Gladstone Park Gardens and Gladstone Park Primary School would be reviewed.
It suggested a new name for the park could be chosen from a pool of ideas put forward by schoolchildren in Brent before the October half term holidays.
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Across the UK, several road names, buildings, and public spaces attached to figures associated with slavery have been under the spotlight following the momentum of the Black Lives Matter movement.
A statue of slave trader Edward Colston was toppled in Bristol earlier this year, while in London a statue of Robert Milligan, who also owned slaves, was removed from outside the Docklands Museum.
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Gladstone, who served as Prime Minister on four occasions, called for compensation for slave owners, such as his father, after slavery was outlawed.
However, others have pointed out that he would later refer to slavery as the “foulest crime” in British history.
In June, Gladstone’s family said it would not “stand in the way” of any democratic decision to remove a statue of the statesman outside the Gladstone Library in Hawarden, Flintshire.
Any proposed name change of Brent’s Gladstone Park could have an impact on the attached gardens, and the council report noted this would need to be addressed through a public consultation.
The report also pointed out any changes would be subject to conversations with the Friends of Gladstone Park group.
As Gladstone Park Primary School is an academy and not under the council’s control, changing its name would be a matter for its governing body.
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