First slavery garden features prickly plants to reflect William Gladstone’s ‘uncomfortable’ past


“The artist was very clear about this, and that’s why the plaque that will be there is not at all saying ‘this is an activist approach’ or whatever,” she told The Telegraph.

“It’s an extremely complex history that’s still being lived right now, British colonialism, there are many ongoing negatives of that and people are living with this history. We want to actually talk about this more.”

She stressed that Britain’s former colonies had received no compensation or apology and many black people still live with “slave surnames”.

Gladstone Park was considered for a name change when Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, formed the Commission for Diversity in the Public Realm in 2020 to review statues, street names and landmarks after Edward Colston’s statue in Bristol was torn down.

Gladstone pushed for slave owners like his father to be compensated following abolition, but went on to call slavery the “foulest crime” in history.

Brent Council enlisted schoolchildren to suggest new names with pupils as young as five supposedly recommending “Diane Abbott Park”, after the Labour MP, or “Diversity Fields”.

No plans to change name of park

However, in an apparent about-turn amid “indoctrination” claims from local Conservative councillors, a council spokesman confirmedon Friday that “there are currently no plans to change the name of Gladstone Park”.

Other species in the new slavery garden include Sedums and blue grass to represent the shoreline, the Gaura and the Centaurea or cornflower and the African Adinkra, such as the Geum “Totally Tangerine”.

African plant species such as the Salvia Africana in the centre, Crocosmia and Gazania (or African Daisy) are also included, as well as the Verbena.


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