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Hoxton museum’s slave trader statue under specific review

PUBLISHED: 08:43 15 June 2020 | UPDATED: 08:43 15 June 2020

The Geffrye Museum has been renamed as Museum of the Home. Picture: Geffrye archives

The Geffrye Museum has been renamed as Museum of the Home. Picture: Geffrye archives

Geffrye archives

A statue of a slave trader in Hackney is now specifically under review.

The figure of Sir Robert Geffrye sits in front of Hoxton’s Museum of the Home in Kingsland Road, formerly the Geffrye Museum, which was built using wealth from the slave trade.

Sir Robert was involved with the East India Company and the Royal African Company.

As part of a wider review by Hackney Council into the names and landmarks in public spaces around the borough, the museum has announced it is actively considering the statue’s future.

It says local people will have a say as part of the review.

READ MORE: Public spaces naming review launched in Hackney following Edward Colston statue toppling

READ MORE: Hoxton’s Geffrye Museum renamed Museum of the Home

“Homes should be welcoming places of shelter and security, love and comfort. This is what we want our museum to represent,” said Sonia Solicari, director of the museum.

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“We know that for many the statue of Robert Geffrye on the front of our building represents abuse, oppression and the history of thousands of enslaved people torn from their homes and families and forced to work in appalling conditions.

“We are partnering with Hackney Council to consult our communities about the future of the statue, how we tell the story of the origins of the Museum’s buildings and what the name Geffrye means to them – especially those who have found home in the streets and estate that bear his name.”

This comes as Black Lives Matter protesters threw a 125-year-old figure of slave trader Edward Colston into the Bristol Harbour.

It was the culmination of a long-running dispute which saw activists lobbying to have the statue taken down, and has sparked calls for similar action around the country.

Mayor of Hackney Philip Glanville said: “I know many have been demanding change for years, and I am determined to help now see that through.

“The anger and those urgent calls for action are understandable and right, but it is also important that we make these decisions together, democratically, so that this moment in history has a legacy of progressive change for our borough.

“The Museum of the Home has already made great strides with its more progressive programming and mission to be representative and tell the stories of home life reflecting all the community.”


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