| 13.6°C Belfast

Calls for removal of NI-born Sir Hans Sloane's statue in London 'silly', says councillor


The statue of Sir Hans Sloane

The statue of Sir Hans Sloane

The statue of Sir Hans Sloane

A statue to one of Northern Ireland's most famous sons in central London has been placed on a list of monuments that should be removed over his perceived links to slavery.

Black Lives Matter activists want Co Down-born Sir Hans Sloane's statue removed, while a campaign has been launched to replace it with a tribute to former Chelsea footballers Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Eidur Gudjohnsen.

Campaigners also want to rename streets named after him in Knightsbridge such as Sloan Square because he derived part of his wealth from his slave owner father-in-law who owned plantations in Jamaica.

The collections of Sir Hans Sloane helped found the first museum in the world - the British Museum - and he was personal physician to three different English monarchs.

A copy of his London statue stands centre stage in his home town of Killyleagh but DUP councillor Billy Walker said it is "ridiculous" to be campaigning to take down Sloane's statues in London and said the pioneering physician was "no slave trader".

"It is getting silly now. It is time the Government showed some back bone over these statues," said Mr Walker.

"Sir Hans Sloane is quite rightly revered here in his home town of Killyleagh where we are proud to have a copy of the statue. This man did so much for the world - he gave us the concept of free museums; he found a cure for smallpox; he pioneered science and medicine to do away with magic for treating illness; he promoted the use of quinine against malaria; he discovered milk chocolate; he was the first man to lead both Royal Colleges; he treated the poor for free. The list is endless. He was no slave trader."

But it is Sloane's marriage to Elizabeth Rose, the daughter of a wealthy slave planter in Jamaica, bringing him a one-third share of the net profits from her father's vast plantations, which has put him on the list of Black Lives matters campaigners.

Belfast Telegraph