Gladstone Park will NOT be renamed after Diane Abbott
Adam Shaw Local Democracy Reporter
- Credit: Archant
Reports that a North West London park will be renamed after Hackney MP Diane Abbott are false, the local council has confirmed.
Brent Council said there are “no plans” to change the name of Gladstone Park in Dollis Hill.
The park is currently named after Liberal politician William Gladstone, who served as prime minister for four terms in the 19th century.
In 2020, the council’s cabinet approved a report that said the name of the park, as well as Gladstone Park Primary School, should be reviewed.
This was due to Gladstone’s links with the slave trade – when slavery was outlawed, he called for former slave owners, such as his father, to be compensated. Yet his supporters have pointed out that he would later refer to slavery as the “foulest crime” in British history.
Reports emerged this week that suggested the park was set to be renamed, with a shortlist of potential alternatives drawn up. These included naming it after the former shadow home secretary and Hackney North and Stoke Newington MP Diane Abbott, who went to school in nearby Harrow.
Other reported names included Rainbow Park, BAME Park and Diversity Fields. But Brent Council has shut down this idea, for the time being, which means the park’s name will remain as it is.
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Following the emergence of the Black Lives matter movement, several road names, buildings and public spaces attached to figures associated with slavery have been reviewed.
A statue of slave trader Edward Colston was famously toppled in Bristol, while in London a statue of Robert Milligan, who also owned slaves, was removed from outside the Docklands Museum.
In June 2020, 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.
Brent Council has previously noted that any name change of Gladstone Park would be subject to a public consultation and conversations with the park’s friends group.
Since it is an academy and therefore not under the council’s control, it explained that any name changes to Gladstone Park Primary School would be decided by a governing body.