The City of London & The Slave Trade Part 6

Having spent five blog posts and many thousands of words listing those City of London aldermen (senior councillors) we could identify as directors of and investors in the slave trading Royal Africa Company, we feel we have sufficiently backed up the point made in part 2 of this series that in his tweet of 19 June 2020, the current City of London councillor Tijs Broeke cynically downplayed his predecessors role as key actors in the black holocaust. In that tweet Broeke disingenuously claimed Africa Company shareholders included just 15 lord mayors, 25 sheriffs and 38 aldermen. As can be seen from our recent posts the numbers are considerably higher than this and many senior councillors (aldermen) were directors of the Royal Africa Company, not just shareholders as Broeke – an apologist for the City of London council – spins it. What we have posted is very far from exhaustive and in due course we believe it will be possible to update it with more names. That said, we have done enough to demonstrate that Broeke’s tweet was a typically misleading piece of City of London propaganda.

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The City of London & The Slave Trade Part 4

A continuation of sketches of senior City of London councillors (aldermen) who were directors of the slave trading Royal Africa Company in the seventeenth-century, alongside remarks on various contemporary organisations responsible for memorials and other references to them that require actions such as removal of object, renaming or a more rigorous historical framing. The contemporary organisations addressed in this post include the National Portrait Gallery, Art UK, Hermitage Museum, Guildhall Art Gallery, City of London Corporation, Bank of England and Bank of England Museum.

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The City Of London & The Slave Trade Part 3

Sketches of senior City of London councillors (aldermen) who were directors of the slave trading Royal Africa Company in the seventeenth-century, alongside remarks on various contemporary organisations responsible for memorials and other references to them that require actions such as removal of object, renaming or a more rigorous historical framing. The contemporary organisations addressed include the National Portrait Gallery, Art UK, Milton Keynes Arts Centre, Royal Collection Trust, Metropolitan Museum of Art, National Gallery of Art, Guildhall Art Gallery, City of London Corporation, John Moore Foundation, Museum of the Home, Ironmongers’ Company and Sir Robert Geffery’s Trust.

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The City of London & The Slave Trade Part 2

When we began our look at the huge overlap between the slave trading Royal Africa Company and the City of London council we quoted Historic England on this entanglement. We chose this particular source because it emphasised that the Guildhall (the City of London council offices) was a centre of the slave trade. That said we could see that the numbers used were drawn from the book The Royal African Company by K. G. Davies (Longmans Green, 1957), since on pages 68/69 Davies states: “Fifteen of the Lord Mayors of London, between the Restoration and the Revolution, and twenty-five of the Sheriffs were shareholders in the company, as were thirty-eight of the men elected or appointed aldermen between 1672 and 1690.” Historic England use the same figures and time frame in what we quoted from them. It’s important to understand that these numbers do not cover the overlaps between the City of London council and the Royal Africa Society during the entire history of this slave trading operation, just its earlier phase.

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Self-Styled City Diversity ‘Champ’ Edward Lord Champions Slave Traders

We’ve written in the past about how City of London councillor and self-styled ‘diversity champion’ Edward Lord has a less than stellar record when it comes to the matters of inclusion and intersectionality. Therefore we weren’t surprised when we came across a two year-old tweet in which Lord boasted about attending the annual celebrations of slave trader John Cass. But John Cass isn’t the only transatlantic slave trade figure Lord seems to venerate. In a speech at the City of London council’s Guildhall HQ on 10 October 2019, Lord cited William Beckford Senior as a historically inspirational figure. Beckford was the richest man in the world in his time because of the huge number of slaves he owned. Lord apparently thinks this is a mere detail that can be glossed over.

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The City of London & The Slave Trade Part 1

When discussing English slave trading the Royal Africa Company and the East India Company are key reference points and both have deep roots in the City of London. Many of the individuals implicated in the black holocaust through their involvement in these two slave trading entities also played key roles in local government in the City of London including as lord mayors, sheriffs and members of livery companies. Some of these slave traders are still memorialised in the City of London. Memorials tend to erase the complexities of history through simple celebration, which is why their removal from public spaces generally enhances historical understanding. That said, the undemocratic and still in many ways feudal local government machinery of the City of London is also in its contemporary form a product of the slave trade and it is more important that this is dismantled than that statues are removed and streets get renamed. It would, however, be ideal if both the governance of the City was democratically reformed and its problematic memorials removed.

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Andrew Parmley’s Uncontested Re-Election & Other Affronts To Democracy In The City of London

The fact that City of London is the last rotten borough in England has been demonstrated once again, this time by former lord mayor ‘Sir’ Andrew Parmley being the only candidate in the current aldermanic election for Vintry ward, which he will continue to represent. Given the miniscule electorate in this undemocratic business vote ward it is almost impossible for non-establishment figures to get nominated, let alone elected. Parmley, of course, is very much an establishment figure and in common with more than two thirds of lord mayor’s over the past 114 years belongs to the Guildhall Lodge of freemasons (founded in 1905). With its members massively over-represented in top jobs at the City of London council, this men only masonic lodge – number 3116 – is nonetheless allowed to meet for free on City of London premises despite the matter being a glass ceiling issue: only two women have ever held the post of lord mayor, which has long been monopolised by ‘fraternity’ 3116.

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Edward Lord, The City of London and Freemasonry

In his letter on freemasonry, City of London Councillor Edward Lord fails to address or explain why more than fifty percent of the City of London’s Lord Mayors since the founding of the Guildhall Lodge 3116 have been members of it. Information on this subject can be found in various places. The Paviors Lodge 5646 puts it like this on it’s website: “The Guildhall Lodge Number 3116 was established in 1905 for the Aldermen and Common Councillors of the City of London. To date, no less that 78 Masters of this distinguished lodge have also been Lord Mayors of the City of London.” This might well be taken as indicating behind the scenes influence at the Guildhall.

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Social Housing Not Social Cleansing! Stop The Gerrymander Mansions Luxury Development In Golden Lane!

The residential electorate in the City only numbers a few thousand, so unfortunately it’s easy for entrenched interests to game the system by uprooting relatively small parts of the population to change the social composition of Wards. Thus the status quo’s response to growing dissatisfaction and self-organisation is to shift as much social housing as possible outside the tiny borough and increase the overall percentage of compliant rich living within its boundaries. One manifestation of this was the decision to shut down the police section house on Golden Lane, which was built to put a roof over the heads of around 110 people. At the time of its closure Bernard Morgan House was housing not just cops but nurses as well; whether it had become surplus to police requirements is a moot point, but it was certainly still needed for NHS staff and school teachers.

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