Plymouth will rename city square named after Britain's 'first slave trader' Sir ... trends now
A city square in Plymouth named after Britain's 'first slave trader' Sir John Hawkins is set to be renamed after a three-year legal battle.
Council chiefs in Plymouth, Devon have proposed a name change that would see the city centre square changed from the naval commander and former Plymouth Mayor, to Justice Square.
The square, between Higher Lane and Palace Street, was constructed and named in the 1980s when the next door Plymouth Magistrates Court was built.
It is where Sir John sailed from in 1562 with three ships, before kidnapping around 400 Africans in Guinea and taking them to the West Indies to be sold.
In an attempt to find a name suitably fitting with the city's Elizabethan heritage for the area, the Policy and Resources Committee and the Public Services Committee suggested using Sir John Hawkins' name.
A city square in Plymouth named after Britain's 'first slave trader' Sir John Hawkins is set to be renamed after a three-year legal battle
Hawkins is described in the Encyclopaedia Britannica as 'the first English slave trader'
Hawkins is described in the Encyclopaedia Britannica as 'the first English slave trader'.
But in June 2020, the council decided to rename the square following anti-racism protests during which a statue of slave trader Edward Colston was torn down in Bristol.
They subsequently removed the signs at the square and pledged to tell a much 'fuller story' about Plymouth's seafaring history and the role that the likes of Sir John Hawkins played in the slave trade.
Legal wrangles followed with a proposal to name the square after black football pioneer Jack Leslie, who played for Plymouth Argyle.
Leslie was nearly the first black player to be called up to the England squad. His manager at Plymouth Argyle told him he had been selected in the 1920s, but the invitation was then withdrawn.
That was withdrawn after a road near Home Park, the stadium where Leslie made his name, was named in his honour.
Now, the potential new name proposed by council chiefs would be Justice Square.
Not everyone was happy with the council's decision to remove the signs, nor plans to rename the square after a footballer.
Sir John Hawkins Square in the Barbican district of Plymouth commemorates the slave traders first sailing out to Africa with three ships, which he used to take 400 Africans into slavery
A sign detailing Hawkins involvement in the slave trade
Local businessman Danny Bamping, who appeared on Dragon's Den, took the council to court over its plans, saying it had not followed its own proper processes regarding the renaming of a street.
Sir John Hawkins was an English naval administrator and commander and the chief architect of the Elizabethan navy.
Born in 1532 in Plymouth, he was a merchant in