A UNIVERSITY of Winchester academic is calling for the removal of a statue in London.

Professor Robert Beckford has hit the headlines for his calls to remove a statue of William Beckford from its prominent position in the City of London.

Professor Beckford has been in talks with the Worshipful Company of Ironmongers about the removal of the statue of the 18th-century plantation owner from the Guildhall.

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However, the Ironmongers have decided the figure of the former Lord Mayor will stay put but be “re-contextualised” with a plaque explaining William Beckford’s connection to the slave trade.

Professor Beckford has been arguing against this. In a piece for The Guardian, he wrote: “As a Jamaican-British man and a descendant of those whom Beckford exploited and murdered, I believe that leaving the statue in a prestigious place, even with a note of explanation, is morally reprehensible.”

He argued that a man who exploited slave labour and was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of enslaved people did not deserve such veneration and that Willam Beckford’s statue should be removed to a museum where it could be displayed alongside the full list of his crimes.

Robert says the failure to remove such statues highlights the UK’s “institutionalised ignorance” of the true horrors of slavery.

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His campaign has generated interest across the world, with him giving interviews to US current affairs programme PBS Newshour and the South African news channel eNCA.

In November Professor Beckford, who is the Director of the Institute for Climate and Social Justice at the University of Winchester, will speak at the Heirs of Slavery conference and take part in the Slavery and the City of London conference exploring the role of London in the transatlantic slave trade.

Before that, he will be a keynote speaker at the All-Parliamentary Group for Afrikan Reparations on October 21 in London.