First 20 Liverpool streets being considered for slavery plaques

The council has revealed the first 20 streets that could have plaques explaining their links to the infamous slave trade.

To mark Slavery Remembrance Day today, the local authority has listed the well-known streets which are being considered.

This comes after the council passed a motion in January to commit to placing plaques and other public notices to explain the city's past and its links to slavery.

These links can be found on our city's statues, buildings, monuments and street names.

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The streets being considered are in some way linked with slavery, such as being named after slavers or places connected with the trade.

They have also been chosen because they are in areas that regularly feature in walking tours of the city, meaning visitors exploring the streets will learn about the past.

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The move comes after Mayor Joe Anderson asked National Museums Liverpool and a number of community organisations to advise on how the city’s history is explained and contextualised for both visitors and residents.

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The next step is to identify if a suitable location can be found to place a plaque in each street.

Mayor Anderson said: “I am grateful to the street names advisory panel for their work over the last few months. We have to be led by our communities on how to do this and do it in a way that is sensitive to both our past and our present.

"I do not believe that changing street names is the answer – it would be wrong to try and airbrush out our past.

“It’s important that we have a sensible and informed discussion about these issues. We need to judge the past with a historical perspective, taking into account today’s higher ethical standards and, most importantly, how everyone, from every community in the city feels about it. As we understand our past we can also focus on our future for the black and BAME communities in our city.”

The streets are:

· Falkner Square

· Falkner Street

· Blackburne Place

· Bold Street

· Seel Street

· Slater Street

· Colquitt Street

· Parr Street

· Tarleton Street

· Clayton Square

· Brooks Alley

· Campbell Square

· Hardman Street

· Cases Street

· Cleveland Square

· Goree

· Houghton Street

· Knight Street

· Oldham Street

· Renshaw Street

· Sir Thomas Street

A special panel was set up which has recommended the creation of ‘Eric Lynch Slavery Memorial Plaques’,named in honour of Eric Lynch, an honorary Ghanaian chief who is a descendant of African slaves and spent his life drawing attention to the city’s slavery history.

He ran a slavery tour for decades and successfully campaigned for the city’s International Slavery Museum, which opened in 2007.

Michelle Charters, Chair of the Advisory Panel, said: "From my very first visit on one of Eric Lynch's Slave History Tours, I committed then to ensure that this part of our City's history would never be forgotten.

“I am delighted that Mayor Joe Anderson, the City Council, National Museums Liverpool, Laurence Westgaph and Eric Lynch and his family alongside the community organisations have been able to come together and realise that dream.

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“This is a perfect example of collaboration and partnerships between sectors, who are all committed to tell the truth and start to uncover the hidden slavery history of Liverpool."

Andrew Lynch, son of Eric Lynch, said: “Eric Lynch and his family are deeply moved and proud that local organisations and the City Council have chosen to honour his work in such a tangible way.

“These plaques are a tribute to Eric’s long years of work as a black community activist and educator, teaching the people of Liverpool to acknowledge and understand their historic inheritance in an honest and open way, and uncovering the true contribution made by black people throughout the growth and life of our great city.”

Dr Richard Benjamin, Head of the International Slavery Museum, said: “This is a step in the right direction and paves the way towards contextualising transatlantic slavery within the Liverpool built environment.

“The International Slavery Museum is an active, anti-racist, social justice museum and as such we need to play our part in such discussions and initiatives.

“We are witnessing debates about problematic monuments, decolonising museum spaces and education systems and social movements such as Black Lives Matter are rightly gaining global attention. Museums need to be at the forefront of these conversations.

“We will continue to work closely with the Council, local communities, historians and other cultural partners to make sure that Liverpool leads the way in acknowledging its past – so that as a city we can progress."

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