Change it Proposal Idea: Change the name of Roscoe and Gladstone Halls of Residence.
William Gladstone was a former UK Prime Minister, his politics were funded by his father Sir John Gladstone’s wealth which was built on the back the Slave Trade. William Gladstone is known to have fought for reparations for slave traders like his father during the abolition of the trade, as well as not being in favour of the abolition. We believe that someone with this controversial background should not have a university hall named after them especially in a city where we try hard not to forget the atrocities that took place on our docks. As a former residents of the halls we were horrified to find out we had been living in a building named after such a figure for a whole year without even realising.
William Roscoe was a leading abolitionist. There is evidence the two did not see eye to eye. Having their names side by side on a building to commemorate them also seems strange.
As Greenbank Halls is currently undergoing renovations it seems like the right time to suggest a name change and reject a racially marred legacy. We propose a couple of options:
A) Replace Gladstone with a Liverpool namesake more worthy to stand next to Roscoe e.g. university alumni such as Carol Ann Duffy or Jon Snow
B) Remove figures names from the hall name altogether to avoid any future controversy instead replacing it with a generic name like other halls such as crown place or vine court e.g. Parkside Halls
C) Do not replace Gladstone and leave the name as Roscoe Halls
Liverpool considered to remove slavers names from local roads, but one of the biggest tourist pulls of the city is.... Penny Lane... Well thats not happening! The slave trade is not a highlight in Britains history, but it is a large part of Liverpool's history and shouldn't be forgotten. Plenty more should be educated, I agree, but removing a name from a building. Rubbish. Youve looked up Gladstone and have a feeling towards it. The next person, (right or wrong) wont care, the next might read a handful of books to learn more on the situation. How many people have passed through those halls? Ignorance is bliss.... History shouldn't be brushed under the carpet, or airbrushed, people should be educated by it.
I appreciate that what Alisha is fighting for is to make people feel included as part of an institution that is unmarred by the negative political connotations associated with William Gladstones life. I do not think that renaming the building is a good way to facilitate this inclusion however, history is unalterable and whitewashing it is in my opinion akin to iconoclasm, where does it stop, certainly not at William Gladstone. She is right that Liverpool and the wider UK's history should not be forgotten, and that is why we need to keep the name! Sure, use this as an opportunity to educate us on why Gladstone ultimately lost in his argument, just don't erase the argument. William Gladstone was a product of his time and I don't think we should be holding him to the standards of 2017. If history is written by the victors then William Gladstone certainly found himself on the wrong side of it, maybe it would say something a lot more profound about our society today, if today's victors can look forward to the future knowing how society got to this point and comfortable in giving William Gladstone his small place in that history. Its a university after all! We're supposed to learn stuff...
This is an utterly appalling petition that seeks to tarnish one of this countries finest leaders. If you think that Gladstone is known for what his father did in the 18th century then I advise you read a history book - he was one of the greatest liberal reformers this country has ever seen. To say you were 'horrified' to have found out you live in a hall named after the man is faux outrage at its worst and this whitewashing of history is deplorable. Michael Rosen wrote in the Guardian today that "people such as Gladstone can’t be reduced to one act or one viewpoint". Ignorantly conflating Gladstone with something as abhorrent as the slave trade does nothing but diminish the past and re-write the truth. It unravels all the good the man did.
Gladstone was a PM who oversaw an incredibly oppressive empire and economic system that left people in cities like Liverpool living in squalor, not to mention the numerous acts of oppression committed by the Empire overseas. Hardly one our "finest leaders". To suggest that this is somehow a "whitewashing" of history is ridiculous. It is simply a call for someone of greater qualities to be celebrated over Gladstone. Gladstone is a well known figure whose name is everywhere in Liverpool, no one but his lackeys would weep for the loss of his name on this building. I suggest that we change the name of this building to someone who didn't believe in allowing poverty to grip the city, such as Eric Heffer: an MP who championed Liverpool his whole life, stood up for the poor, and was given the freedom of the city.
Eric Heffer, the communist Stalin admirer? No thanks.
I personally don't believe that there's anything wrong with believing in equality Tom, though if you want to take a stand against that then that's fine by me.
Yeah, let's change the name of Penny Lane while we're at it. Penny had an interest in slaves too, as did basically everyone else involved in any kind of commerce in the city of Liverpool at the time.
Whilst I believe well intentioned, I find the historical underpinnings of this petition to be very weak at best. If this gets passed, with the bar set so low, I fear for the precedent this will set.