Breaking: Statue of Guy’s Hospital founder will be removed ‘as soon as possible’ over slavery outcry

Josh Salisbury (11 June, 2020)

Statues to two men at Guy's and St Thomas' hospitals will be torn down over slavery links

37207A statue to Thomas Guy which is being taken down over his slavery links

The statue to Guy’s Hospital founder, Thomas Guy, will be removed over his profiteering from the slave trade.

A statue to Guy stands in the Guy’s campus of King’s College London, next to the hospital he founded with a fortune he made largely from shares in a slave-trading company.

Another statue to Sir Robert Clayton, which stands outside St Thomas’ Hospital, will also be removed.

Clayton was a member of the Royal African Company, which shipped more African slaves to the Americas than any other insitition during the Atlantic slave trade.

In a joint statement at around 8pm, King’s College London and Guy’s and St Thomas’ Trust said it had a duty to address the legacy of colonialism and slavery.

“We absolutely recognise the public hurt and anger that is generated by the symbolism of public statues of historical figures associated with the slave trade in some way,” it said.

“We have therefore decided to remove statues of Robert Clayton and Thomas Guy from public view, and we look forward to engaging with and receiving guidance from the Mayor of London’s Commission on each.”

On Tuesday, London Mayor Sadiq Khan announced a commission to review London landmarks over their links to slavery, pushing for those with clear links to be renamed or removed.

However, the hospital said it would not be dropping the name of ‘Guy’s Hospital’, despite removing their founder’s statue.

A petition, signed by thousands, had called for the hospital to be renamed.

“We see the pervasive and harmful effects of structural racism every day through our work,” added the statement.

“Black people have worse health outcomes, and this inequality is one of many ways racism permeates our society.

“We are fully committed to tackling racism, discrimination and inequality, and we stand in solidarity with our patients, students, colleagues and communities.”

The removal is expected to take several weeks due to the sizes of the statues, the Trust added.

It comes after Black Lives Matters protesters dramatically tore down a statue to slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol, and dumped it into the docks.

Contribute
Dave Spalding says:

I find this a case of double standards. The foundation want rid of the statue of the man that founded and funded the building with his fortune made through the slave trade, but they don’t mind using the building for everybody’s benifit. These people should go all the way and tare down the whole building! The foundation want to have there cake and eat it! Oh and don’t forget the statue in Bristol thrown off a Dock…. Mr E Carlston…. His money paid for Education and sponsorships…. But he ran gold mines and diamond mines… Debeers… So all you people who ripped that statue down should also throw their diamond rings and gold necklaces in the Dock with it. Double standards again. Our history has not always been pretty Britain’s discoveries around the world have brought pain and suffering.. No doubt about that.. History has also given us the peace and freedom that we have today.. History is exactly what iit is history. My great grandad was shot and injured in the second world war, it doesn’t mean that I have a raging vendetta against the Germans.. does it? Germany is a great place to visit and I shop at Aldi. Seems to be a lot of Knee jerk reactions from Councils and Foundations all around the country at the moment,to try and please people. Our country is what it is! Educate people about these statues there money eventually went to good use.

Geoff Powell says:

‘Save our statues’. These statues of historical founders and benefactors to British society should remain. What happened in America should not be used by ‘vigilante’ groups who are unhappy with British history or feel ‘slighted’ by the presence of historical monuments such as Colston, Rhodes or heaven forbid, Lord Baden-Powell because of their connection to the slave trade or harboured views now deemed inappropriate. Historical monuments are a feature of our past and should not be judged by one part of todays society. If it is, when do we start tearing down the pyramids?

Rash Kurdos says:

Guy’s hospital saved thousands and thousands of lives since it’s establishment by Thomas Guys .it’s very unfair to remove his statue because of a crime perpetrated thousands of miles away by an individual who has no connection what so ever to this great person..
It’s absolutely disappointing..

Stuart Cottrell says:

This is an utter disgrace. Ridiculous to pander to a small number of anarchist’s. Both the hospital trust and more importantly sadeek khan should hang their head in shame

paula says:

I think if they want the statues down …have a bloody vote ,i want them to stay there and remind us of our history,so hopefully never repeats its self. Keep taking away our history then the tourist wont have nothing to sit on and photo shoot with their coffee,also England did the right thing about getting rid of slavery ,instead of a civil war they went into billions of pounds worth of debt in the late 1800s early 1900s ,we only finished paying this debt in 2015 so not that long ago..

Pip says:

I think the whole scenario is absolutely outrageous, how would tearing down statues change history, it’s our past and always will be.
It’s about changing the attitudes of people today and sticking to the current issue – that being that people in authority need to behave in a humane way when it comes to restraining suspects, it is those people who need to be reprimanded severely for their crimes. Pulling down statutes thousands of miles away won’t fix ‘that’ problem.

Thomas Guy did a tremendous amount for people in this country, for the sick, poor and elderly regardless of colour. He built St Thomas’s for that reason and built Almhouses in his home town and other buildings and left money after his death for the upkeep to help the poor.
He was very generous with his money to help those less fortunate than himself, he even turned down the prospect of becoming Mayor of London, as he didn’t want to make the ‘Fat cats fatter’, he wasn’t that kind of man.

How very disrespectful to his memory is this ‘unresearched’ act and that the ‘followers’ of those tearing down any kind of historical acknowledgment of recognition as well as demanding the change to the name as well, I wholeheartedly object!
The world has gone mad! We need to draw a line under the past and from then on in should any reference or action regarding slavery be condoned…..we can’t change the past but we can the future.

Robin Prior says:

This is an absolutely disgraceful and disrespectful thing to do.
Thomas Guy’s hospitals saved my life and the lives of hundreds of thousands of others, no matter of colour, race and creed.

Should we not have a voice?
Our lives matter too!

Mark says:

Ridiculous, this. Is a listed Grade ll statue and the law is being broken by taking it down.

Christine says:

Seeing how passionate these minority groups are about removing statues e.g. the one of Thomas Guy outside Guy’s Hospital. Does this mean that they will be refusing treatment at Guy’s Guy’s Hospital or any other hospital that was linked to slavery hundreds of years ago????

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