Online public meeting on Lambeth links to slavery

Tulse Hill and its hotel are named for Henry Tulse who made money from enslaved Africans

Lambeth council will run the second phase of its review of statues, monuments, and names of streets and places in the borough that have proven links to the trans-Atlantic trade in enslaved people with an online public meeting.

On Tuesday 8 March from 6pm, it will focus on these local sites, sharing where are they and what the links are.

It will look at how the recent ward boundaries review could affect this work and at current laws on naming and re-naming sites.

The council pioneered a process of naming places and buildings in the 1980s and 1990s to reflect the diversity of its inhabitants.

This will be revisited to see what can now be done along similar lines.

The council said the conversation would follow a “retain and explain” approach to sites with links to the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

Cllr Sonia Winfred, council cabinet member for equality and culture, said: “The meeting will be an opportunity for us to collect views, comments and opinions on rated locations, and get ideas on re-naming where it is possible to do so – or identify new sites and buildings which can be named in a way which reflects the Lambeth of today.

“Following an initial period of thorough research, we know that there are a small number of sites in the borough with links to the trans-Atlantic slave trade, and we want to talk to local people about how and what is possible to address that.

“As a borough we know the importance of public symbolism and representation.

“In April last year I was at the official unveiling of the new Cherry Groce memorial in Windrush Square, Brixton, which highlights a tragic injustice and serves to remind us of important lessons around equality, justice and truth.

“We are telling the story of our borough’s culture and diversity, we’re not waiting for permission.

“But these older reminders of past horrors remain, and we want to come together as a community to share this knowledge, talk about how this impacts us now, and look at what options we have.”

The review started after the murder of George Floyd and the growth of the global Black Lives Matter movement in 2020 when many local authorities, including Lambeth, began talking to residents and community groups about places with connections to slavery.

“Extensive research carried out by the council’s Lambeth Archives team identified the small number of places in the borough which are named after slavers and/or their families,” the council said.

The results are available online.

In the first phase of the council’s engagement exercise Cllr Winifred hosted the Deputy Mayor of London, Debbie Weeks-Bernard, and more than 1,000 local groups, residents and national organisations in an online event.

How to join the 8 March meeting