Plantation Wharf Owners Consult On Name Change After Anger Over Slavery Links

·2-min read
Plantation Wharf in south west London (Photo: Reuters Photographer via Reuters)
Plantation Wharf in south west London (Photo: Reuters Photographer via Reuters)

The owners of a development called “Plantation Wharf” have launched a consultation over a potential name change.

It comes amid a row over the south west London office development that is named after the transatlantic slave trade.

Battersea MP Marsha de Cordova has described signposts around the site in her constituency as “sickening”.

The Labour MP said the site “makes a mockery” of the history of the brutal transatlantic slave trade.

She added: “Last year I called on Wandsworth Council to review the appropriateness and relevance of current monuments, statues, streets and building names to ensure they are compatible our anti-racism values. It needs to be changed.”

The site is a private development, mainly offices, where the buildings were named by the developer 26 years ago in 1995.

However, photos of signposts shared on social media have sparked fresh questions over the site on the River Thames.

People hit out at the buildings named Cotton Row, Trade Tower and Molasses Row as “tone deaf” for their links to slavery.

Dr Vanessa Brady, honorary director of Plantation Wharf Management Limited, told HuffPost UK they had set up a committee to research the history of the site and why the developers chose to reference the names they did.

She said some Battersea families had generations connected to the wharf and it was important not to “forget or ignore” it.

Brady said she did not agree with de Cordova’s “sweeping statement” on the site’s history.

“As a person proud of my own black history I want facts not opinion. Research shows that the wharf generated jobs that freed many from slavery,” she added.

She said they want to present the history uncovered by professional researchers and historians before taking a vote on the development’s name.

“As a board we will then act on the majority vote from a position of consultation and inclusion which is our democracy,” she added.

They are considering a range of measures including whether or not to put plaques next to each sign.

Brady added: “We want to embrace all of society on all levels and create a location of proud history at the wharf. It is not intended to cause any insult – on the contrary and we need to do it by taking in everyones views in todays society.”

A spokesman for Wandsworth Council said: “This is a private development in which the buildings were named by the developer 26 years ago in 1995.

“We understand that its current management team has been approached on this issue and has expressed a willingness to look again at the names of these buildings.”

This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.

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