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Lindy McDowell

Pushing Hans Sloane off his pedestal does nothing to right the wrongs of history

Lindy McDowell



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Controversial figure: Sir Hans Sloane

Controversial figure: Sir Hans Sloane

Cancer battle: Sarah Harding

Cancer battle: Sarah Harding

PA

Controversial figure: Sir Hans Sloane

With his chunky features and King Billy-style wig, Sir Hans Sloane, born in Killyleagh in 1660, founder of the British Museum, creator of drinking chocolate, naturalist and avid collector of curiosities, has finally met a very 21st-century fate. He's been cancelled.

Sir Hans, or rather a bust of the boy, has been removed from the museum pedestal upon which he previously perched and has been relocated to a display area, where he and his works will now be described in "the exploitative context of the British Empire."

Sloane - founder also of the Natural History Museum and of the British Library - has been demoted because of his links to the slave trade.