'Protests to continue' despite Hoxton museum stating it could move slave trader statue

 Protesters are demanding the removal of the statue of Robert Geffrye.

Diane Abbott joined protesters demanding the removal of the statue of Robert Geffrye who lived from 1613-1703. - Credit: Polly Hancock

Hackney protestors campaigning to remove a slave-trader statue from a Hoxton museum have welcomed potential plans to move it, but say they will "keep up pressure" until the statue falls. 

The Museum of the Home, formerly he Geffrye Museum, stated recently that it could move the controversial statue of 17th century merchant Sir Robert Geffrye, who profited from the transatlantic slave trade, from its prominent position on a plinth above an entrance to the museum. 

Its recent statement read: "We believe there is potential to retain the statue on site but in an alternative and less prominent space, where we can better tell the full story of the history of the buildings and Robert Geffrye's life, including his involvement in transatlantic slavery."

Geffrye Must Fall protesters rallied at the front of the museum's gates on the day it reopened (June 12). 

Geffrye Must Fall protesters rallied at the front of the museum's gates on the day it reopened (June 12). - Credit: Polly Hancock

Local anti-racist group Hackney Stand Up To Racism (HSUTR) has continued to call for the statue's removal for the past 18 months, staging multiple rallies supported by Hackney MP Diane Abbott, Hackney's mayor Philip Glanville, local councillors and hundreds of protestors.

The Museum of the Home, formerly the Geffrye Museum. Picture: The Museum of the Home

The Museum of the Home, formerly the Geffrye Museum. Picture: The Museum of the Home - Credit: Geffrye archives

Sasha Simic of HSUTR said that despite welcoming the museum's statement the group believes it could still face governmental pressure to keep the statue in place. 

"That’s why the protests will continue until the statue has been re-sited," Mr Simic said. 


In addition, education unions in Hackney and elsewhere in the capitol have joined calls for a boycott of the museum.

Cllr Susan Fajana-Thomas.

Hackney Cllr Susan Fajana-Thomas spoke about her mixed heritage and supported protesters calls for the statues removal. - Credit: Polly Hancock

Hackney councillor Soraya Adejere described the statue as “a symbol of cruelty, oppression and subjugation”.

Meanwhile the museum's statement added: "The Museum of the Home strives to be a welcoming place for all. We feel that the statue of Robert Geffrye on the front of the Museum's buildings does not promote the sense of belonging that is so important for our visitors, and fundamental to the Museum's values.

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"We have been listening to many views and considering all options concerning the display of the Geffrye statue."

The museum would have to apply for listed building consent to remove the statue, which sits above the former almshouses he helped to fund.

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