Memorial 2007: Campaign for Hyde Park statue dedicated to the victims of the slave trade

Tap above to watch video report by Carolyn Sim

For more than a decade a group has been campaigning for a statue in Hyde Park dedicated to the victims of the slave trade.

The statue has been approved by Westminster Council and The Royal Parks but it still does not have the funding to be built.

The memorial was supposed to be installed in 2007 marking 200 years since the abolition of slavery in Britain. But there is still no government funding and planning permission has expired.

When the statue of 17th Century slave trader Edward Colston was pulled down in Bristol it triggered the debate about memorialising people associated with slavery. 

Tony Warner, who runs Black History Walks in London says statues like Nelson’s Column represent only one side of history.

Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square

The lack of any memorial to enslaved Africans prompted Tony to commission his own. Many people won’t have heard of Phillis Wheatley. She was just eight years old when she was forced into slavery in America.

A book of Phillis Wheatley's poems

Poor health meant she couldn’t be a servant so instead she wrote poetry and her book was published in 1773. 

In Bloomsbury is the former home of race relations pioneer Dame Jocelyn Barrow. She was one of the founders of the Commission for Racial Equality who persuaded shops in Oxford Street to allow black people to work there.

Dame Jocelyn Barrow

She died in April this year and Tony believes she is someone who deserves a statue. 

Fresh attempts will be made to get the Memorial 2007 statue built as we are reminded of the need for greater appreciation of enslaved Africans’ role in British society.